Inevitably in relationships, problems sometimes happen and breakups are sometimes inevitable. So it might surprise you to discover that almost three quarters of us just can't help thinking about an ex.

What do you do if that ex is thinking about you too? Should you give the relationship a second chance?

Your nearest and dearest may well disagree, thinking that giving it another shot is a big mistake. However in the end, you are the only one who can make the final decision about whether you think rekindling the flame of old love is worth it.

Before you make any decisions, remember why your relationship came to an end in the first place and determine whether there are unfinished issues between you that mean you just can't move on.

Sometimes, when you haven't had closure, it is this that draws you back to each other, and not a true desire to be together.

Remind yourself about the reasons for your split – are you sure that you won't be revisiting a scenario which is likely to be disastrous for both of you?

Once you have considered everything carefully and have decided that you really do want to give that old relationship another go, keep these things in mind – you will both have to be mentally prepared for all of the challenges that come with dating your ex.

The road that lies ahead will never be smooth, however if you have decided that the risk is worth taking, we have come up with some helpful dating rules that will give your relationship a better chance of being successful a second time around.

1. Start with a clean slate

When you were together the first time, there were obviously problems which led to your split.

Maybe you cheated, perhaps your partner had issues about possessiveness, maybe the pair of you were too immature to commit to your relationship fully.

No matter why your partnership failed last time, success is only possible now if you wipe the slate clean.

To do this, you must commit to never dredging up past misdemeanours, never sniping about your past mistakes, and never reminding each other about where it all went wrong.

You should look towards the future positively without looking back.

2. Avoid asking too many questions

While in many situations honesty and openness between couples is the best idea, if you are dating an ex, you should probably try to keep the gory details about what you got up to during your break to yourselves.

You both need to accept that you had relationships with other people while you were apart, and that you will have dated and loved someone else in each other's absence.

If you are truthful, you will be able to admit that hearing detailed accounts of all of your partner's exploits with those other people will hurt you terribly, and this holds true the other way around too.

You should both avoid asking too many intrusive questions, keep the book of the past firmly closed and spare your partner and yourself the pain.

Too much knowledge isn't always a good thing.

3. Start afresh

When you embark on a brand new relationship, you start out by learning everything about your partner, laying down foundations for the partnership and building on them.

When you rekindle a relationship with an ex-partner, all of that groundwork has been done already.

Both of you know a lot about each other already, and that means that assumptions are bound to be made. However, these preconceptions can be the downfall of your relationship.

Therefore, pretend that you have never met before. Begin again, letting go of any set opinions about each other.

By allowing the past to remain where it belongs and by staying firmly anchored in the here and now, you will be able to see each other as if for the first time.

4. Be wise and cautious

You should never re-enter an old relationship blindly.

Care and caution are key, especially if your partner could not be trusted last time.

While it may in some cases be true that a leopard never changes its spots, change is always possible, and if you show that you mistrust your partner from the start, your burgeoning relationship is likely to come to an untimely end.

However wariness is still essential. Assume makes an ass of you and me, so assume nothing about your relationship.

5. Don't allow your past to be your future

Use your analytical skills. Think hard about the reasons your relationship failed last time and be honest with yourself.

It is only by being aware of the errors that you made that you can avoid those mistakes a second time.

Which behaviors will you have to change?

Was possessiveness or jealousy your problem? Then give your partner enough space to breathe.

Were you closed off and unable to show how you felt? Then take care to celebrate all of those special times such as anniversaries and birthdays through the giving of meaningful gifts which reveal your hidden emotions.

Remember that romantic gifts that have been chosen with care speak volumes about your love.

6. Don't fall headlong into love

A relationship with an ex is incredibly familiar, and the feeling of safety you get from being back in their arms again can lead you to falling back in love too hastily.

Before you make the mistake of falling headlong in love, stop for a moment, take a breath, and think hard about the situation.

Do you really want this relationship on a long-term basis, or is it the familiarity that you truly crave?

7. Take it easy

Whether you are in a brand new relationship or revisiting an old flame, you should always ensure that your physical relationship develops naturally and slowly.

Diving straight back in where you last left off is very tempting, however too much intimacy too soon will almost certainly be a mistake.

You should treat all aspects of your relationship as if you were together for the first time, treading carefully.

Do you really want a long-lasting romance, or is it just temporary comfort that you are seeking?

8. Get friends and family on board

Your loved ones are unlikely to share your enthusiasm about you dating your ex, and that's a fact.

Think about it – when things went wrong, you turned to them and sobbed on their shoulder, so it's no wonder that they are sceptical about you renewing that relationship now.

However this negativity you can experience from your nearest and dearest has the potential to destroy your blossoming love before it can flower.

Talk to your family and friends to persuade them that they need to give you and your partner the chance to be successful in your rekindled love, and ask them to allow your partner to try again to impress them.

9. Take a new path together

It can be hard to avoid falling back into old habits, and when you start dating an ex, it is often tempting to begin following those same paths which led to failure the first time around.

Never trying something new together will only lead to disaster, so take a leap together into the unknown.

Be brave and take risks. Set a challenge for yourselves to do something as a couple that you never tried in the past.

An exciting future lies in front of you and you need to grab it firmly with both hands.

While dating an ex isn't always successful, following these helpful tips may help you to discover that you really are soulmates after all.

Give yourselves the best possible chance of happiness and success by putting the past behind you and focusing solely on the future.