Are You Ready For A New Relationship
It’s never easy getting over heartbreak.
We all have our own unique coping mechanisms, too. Some hibernate at home, or throw themselves into work. Others begin dating right away for a distraction or to numb the pain. Whether you’ve gone through a divorce (or other significant breakup), or lost a spouse or partner to death, you have experienced (and may still be experiencing) tremendous loss. Experts say it is important to acknowledge and accept the wide range of emotions you may be feeling — from grief, confusion and regret, to frustration, anger and relief. At some point — maybe soon, maybe not for a long time — you may consider finding someone again.
Depending on the circumstances of how your relationship or marriage ended, you may feel that no one else can fill that position in your life ever again. Or maybe you’re exhausted, drained, and a bit defeated from a relationship dynamic that was far from healthy for your sense of worth and wellbeing. In that case, the love you seek (for a healing period), is your own. On the other hand, perhaps you’ve learned lessons, worked on yourself — your goals, your health, and finding ways to be happy on your own. If so, moving on may seem like an easy next step that will likely come naturally.
Whenever you’re ready to entertain the possibility of rediscovering companionship, it’s not unusual to wonder where to begin. Experts say first, you need to get clear about the kind of intimacy you’re looking for. Are you truly seeking a romantic life partner, or a friend with benefits? Perhaps you simply want someone to share experiences with, not in a serious relationship? Or maybe you want to have fun dating a lot of people for a while, and not really want a serious relationship? What about sexual intimacy? How quickly do you want to move to a physical relationship, if at all? Here are expert tips to better help you manifest, not only the best version of yourself — but also the right relationship for now:
Digging Deep: 3 Questions You Must Ask Before Diving Into The Dating Pool
You may find using a three-part practice to check in on how you’re feeling about the prospect of someone new helpful.
First, ask yourself, using heart-felt intelligence, if it’s the right time to be with someone. If so, then check in openly and honestly, and push fears aside. Does your heart tell you are ready for a new relationship?
Second, is your gut sense that you’re strong enough, prepared enough, and delighted enough to enter into this? Bringing a new person into your life really should bring you delight; it shouldn’t be about fear of being alone.
Third, are you confident in your mental health? Ideally, experts say, to tune into your confidence level about being in another relationship — while also acknowledging if you are triggered by past trauma, such as abandonment, betrayal, or any violence. If you begin to panic that your next partner will be the same as previous ones, or if you obsess over the next call, text, or date, you may not be ready yet. Just remember, you can, and will, heal. But it takes time and likely help, such as talk therapy, and/or group therapy.
Okay, You're Ready – But For What, Exactly?
Maybe you want to get married again one day and you know this with absolute certainty. But, then again, maybe you were married for a long time and want to date many people and just have fun for a while. Perhaps you aren’t sure, and that’s fine, too. If your desire is to one day be married again, however, remember that the healthiest marriages happen when two nearly complete people come together to create something brand new. When each partner has spent time figuring out who they are and where they’re headed, then they can bring someone into their lives in a healthy, loving, and sustainable way. Self-exploration can help you answer these questions so you can take the next step on solid ground.
Undecided on What You Want? Try These Tools
We use a variety of tools to help Canyon Ranch guests do the sometimes not-so-easy work of figuring out who they are, and what they really want (and need) in a companion — as well as what they can honestly give to another person.
We often start by asking them to get their thoughts down on paper in a journal, which can help clarify needs and expectations for a companion or romantic relationship. Need inspiration? Start by writing a paragraph about enjoying a delicious dinner with the new person in your life. Jot down questions you’d ask him or her — those that you feel are important and that would allow you to find out more about who this person is. What would your ‘partner’ reply? Pay attention to the answers. This exercise is intended to open up your imagination and help you begin to see what it is that you’re looking for in another person.
If you don’t like to write, you can gather together words, pictures, colors, and images that symbolize what you want in a new relationship to create a vision board. Find three inspirational quotes that say something about yourself that you can share with a partner and add them to a journal or your vision board as well.
You may also want to take a personality or emotional intelligence test (you can find a number of these online) to help you garner more insight into how you tick. Greater self-knowledge helps you to be a better partner, experts say, as it helps you consciously capitalize on your strengths. And when you are able to openly acknowledge your vulnerabilities, you are rarely undermined by them.
Finally, some may want to take the extra step of getting a relationship coach — someone who can guide you through the layers of finding and cultivating a healthy relationship.
Along the way, don’t be surprised if worries arise, perhaps showing up as self-critique: I’m too old. I’m too fat. I have too many health problems. I don’t have enough money or a big enough job. In fact, we often find that self-esteem issues are some of the biggest barriers to finding a companion. Though tuning these thoughts out can take some work and time, remind yourself that you deserve love — just as you are — and that the right person will realize all you have to give.
As for a fear of being hurt? Opening your heart and becoming attached to someone brings that possibility. Love requires courage. But developing your own independence and healthy self-esteem can help you if the relationship doesn’t work out. Always remember, though, that taking the leap can ultimately be a risk that’s well-worth the reward.