Time between relationships is invaluable for settling back into your true self and becoming clear about what you need from your next. People who ricochet from one partner to the next without using the time in a healthy way can find themselves repeating old patterns. Its also true that people who have learned how to be authentic and at peace with themselves are more attractive. So there are several reasons for taking a break between relationships and then preparing oneself for the next.
The end of a relationship can leave one feeling emotionally exhausted and maybe full of self-doubt. So in preparation for the next its important to restore oneself by concentrating on being the best version of oneself that you can be.
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1. Devote time to ensuring you eat well, exercise well and sleep well.
This triad of essentials is easy to sabotage by eating unhealthily too often, slacking on the regular exercise and burning the candle at both ends, but all the research shows that for good mental health (which shows in your face and your personality) being balanced in all three is vital.
2. Check all your close relationships and make sure they are healthy.
If you have girlfriends who are critical or parents who are deeply involved in your life, consider whether this is an opportunity to set fresh boundaries, and maybe cut loose from some really toxic people.
3. Stretch your boundaries and patterns and try new things.
Ways of building confidence include being brave enough to start new hobbies, meet new people and step into new worlds. One definition of courage is to take risks where the outcome could be failure, its good for one’s sense of wellbeing to risk everything from time to time, and feel empowered by just trying it.
4. Clarify your values.
Be clear about how you stand on various issues, from climate change to religious freedom, from abortion rights to animal rights. Think about what’s really important to you, whether its honesty or vulnerability, or fidelity or freedom. None need to be cast in stone and you can be flexible if you want to change your position later, but we usually find that certain personal and political values are important to us.
5. Clarify your needs.
When we go into relationship with someone else we are looking for someone to meet your needs, but if you have no idea what your needs are how can you expect someone else to know them, let alone meet them. You may need consistency and stability or you may need variety and change. You may want to be sheltered and cared for or treated as an equal. You may want to do all the housework but have no financial responsibility, or be the main earner and be career focussed.
6. Look at other relationships and see what works.
If you have friends in relationships, talk to them about how they make theirs work. Of course all relationships are different just as individuals are, but you can learn that couples who stay connected with each other all day and know where each other is and what they are doing, feel closer when they get together at the end of the day. Or you might learn that giving each other space, whether that means going out with mates apart or having private areas in the house, or even having holidays apart helps them feel respected, or you might decide that that would not work for you. By asking your friends ‘How do you make your relationship work’ you may some to understand some of the quirks that couples have that feel normal for them. it will also help you clarify what you are looking for in your next partner.
7. Don’t rush into your next relationship.
Its better to be alone than in an unhappy relationship, and it can take time before you feel that ‘click’ of attraction. Even then, a few dates might let you know that this person is actually not whats good for you. If that happens, you need to be able to cut loose and be single again for a while.
8. Learn to be comfortable with yourself.
Its easy to start thinking that if only you could be more like this or less like that, then people would like you more and the perfect partner will come along. Clearly that’s untrue. We all have faults and flaws, and being honest with what you like and don’t like is a healthy way to develop a stronger sense of who you are. Being OK with that is the first step to having a clear self-image, and that is highly attractive. It doesn’t mean you have to be rigid and inflexible but it does mean that the real you will shine out.
9. Don’t compare and don’t regret.
Everyone goes through events in their life which defines them as adults. As adults we are looking for a partner who has experienced something similar to us, but this matching goes on at a sub-conscious level and we don’t need to worry about it. Its more dangerous to look at the present and who is in your life right now and make comparisons with person who were in your life earlier. Don’t regret missed opportunities or spend time thinking people and relationships who are not in your life any more. Concentrate on the now, and the future you would like. Often the future we dream about is the future we get.
10. Don’t rush.
Even if you think you have met someone who is perfect, take your time. Don’t tell them everything about you immediately, and go slowly with setting deal-breakers and expectations. Be clear if you feel clearly about what you are looking for, but allow room for the unexpected to arise. Hold on to your essence and don’t be quick to trade it in for a partner that time may show to be flawed or unsuitable.
Once you are in a new relationship you can look at what comes up between you, how these link back to your childhood woundings and how the relationship has power to heal you both. In the meantime, allow your intuition to take over, get in touch with your authentic self, and build your confidence and sense of self worth.