To Second Chances or Not to Second Chances?

To Second Chances or Not to Second Chances_


It’s been a long while since I did a ‘To or Not to’ post. So as a refresher or if it’s the first time you’ve come across this post, let me tell you what this post is about. It was first inspired by the famous Shakespeare line from Hamlet. It’s a question posed to readers and writers of their feelings and thoughts about a specific topic. So far I’ve done a ‘To or Not to’ about romance subplots and including prologues in a story. The reasons for writing under a pen name and the love triangle trope.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day three days ago, today’s post is about another romance trope. The second chance romance. This particular trope deals with the reunion of a former couple. And the reignition of old feelings. For whatever reason, because of a busy body friend or family dislike. Miscommunication or betrayal. The couple’s love fell apart. Then years later, they reunite or an event brings them back to within each other’s orbits. And the sparks are still there. They’re given a second chance to make it right and get their happy ever after. All the while dealing with the former and unresolved obstacles that broke them up in the first place.

Now don’t get me wrong, getting a second chance in anything is an opportunity few people will pass by on. But when it comes to my reading preference, there’s a 50-50 chance I’ll read a second chance romance. The percentage I’ll read the trope is higher if it’s part of a series. Lower if it’s a stand alone.


Because the couple already had their chance. What’s the point in starting a new love with an old love? Aren’t they doomed from repeating their mistakes? Maybe it’s because I’m biased to reading and writing happy ever afters of new loves with new couples. And the second chance romance feels like a happy for now that went wrong the first time. Only to get a sequel to go through the same drama all over again.

So ‘to second chances or not to second chances’? Why do you like reading this romantic trope? Why do you like writing this trope?

What are the best second chance romance books you’ve read? What made it great? What was the worst? Why?


  1. I feel like this could work if a very long time has passed since the couple broke up. For example, maybe they dated briefly in high school, but when they meet again they’re working adults. In that case, enough time has passed that these two characters have had a chance to grow and mature. Otherwise, like you were saying, the couple is probably just going to repeat all the mistakes they made before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Which brings up the time between the break up and reunion. Most second chance romances I’ve read had up to at most a ten year difference. But one book I read that I didn’t like so much, there was a two year difference and a failed wedding for the male MC, since the breakup.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly. Even the break up was unrealistic because their problem could’ve been resolved by simply clearing the air and the female MC telling the hero her fears. Instead she purposefully pushed him away to ‘save’ him and give him the life he deserved. Have a bit of aversion for the whole noble sacrifice shtick. I also didn’t feel the chemistry in the couple so wasn’t invested in their story.

        Another story I read that I felt did the trope well was romantic suspense. The couple dated in high school and both continued to live in a small town. Everyone knew they’d end up getting married so it was a shock that they broke up. The heroine ended the relationship because he cheated. Unbeknownst to him, he never learned why the girl he loved broke his heart. Until he learns they were set up by another boy and girl who wanted to be their BF/GF. The heroine was manipulated into seeing her BF in bed with someone else. They never learn the truth until more than ten years later, the boy that orchestrated their breakup and long time stalker, started murdering women. Specifically, women who look like her.

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      • It was. Another interesting take was when a lawyer was a witness to a murder and had to be protected by a FBI agent. They were attracted to each other but things ended before it got started because her boss wouldn’t prosecute a mafia boss the FBI hero was in undercover to get. He was hurt badly in the assignment and when he heard the news, given by the lawyer (her boss made her the messenger) that when confronted by news media about it said some things on the air that nearly cost him his job. Instead he got relocated to nowheresville.

        This story is more enemies to lovers but has a hint of second chance romance. Because the MCs meet again and the sparks are still there.

        Now, I’m starting to think I don’t mind the trope so much if the genre of the story is a romantic suspense.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It all depends on the author. If I like their books I’ll trust them to know how to write it. I read a good one recently About Us by Elizabeth Seckman. I say go for it! Maturity makes all the difference.


    • True, agree with you there. Now that couple themselves are ‘older and wiser’ more than likely they’ll deal with the same old problem, since we all know history repeats itself, that drove them apart differently. And hopefully with more maturity.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Honestly, I agree with your explanation quite a bit. I’ve never really liked this trope for similar reasons. I feel like the relationship is doomed to fail again, or it’ll take a LOT of work, possibly more than it’s worth. It just seems that the couple has already has their chance, and already passed on it. Then again, a second chance romance can make for an interesting story and conflict. Thanks for sharing your own views on it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, exactly. So far, I haven’t read a lot of second chances that’s made me change my mind about the trope. I might not mind it so much when it’s a romantic suspense. Jury’s still out when it comes to the other romance subgenres.

      Liked by 1 person

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