There’s an East Asian saying that goes: “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” This might be helpful advice for toddlers, aspiring novelists, and Disney villains, but if you’ve just ended a relationship, you might want to think twice about jumping right back into the dating world after a few successive burns. I’m not saying that you should forego dating altogether, just that you might want to take some time in-between relationships to work on you.
Contrary to what your anxiety might be telling you, it can actually be in your best interest to reflect on your experiences for months – or maybe even years – after a relationship has ended. So, before you begin meeting with prospective dates, consider the following questions:
Would I Want To Date Me?
And I mean really ask yourself this question. Reflect on what the past month of your day-to-day life has been like. If you want a partner who is kind, have you been treating yourself with kindness? If you want a partner who is emotionally available, have you been creating time for your own personal reflection? If you want a partner who is self-aware and communicative, have you been honest with yourself about your level of accountability in past relationship dynamics?
If the answer is yes and you’re able to create a foot-long list of your many attractive qualities, then great. If the answer is no because there are some legitimate areas for growth in the way you approach your relationships— especially the one you have with yourself—I encourage you to figure out what changes need to take place in your life before you reenter the dating world.
What Baggage Am I Bringing To My Relationships?
Sort of in the same way we can’t see our own noses, it can be difficult to see the issues that we have right in front of us. Are there certain images, conversations, or situations that replay themselves in your head? Maybe ones that have been replaying themselves over and over for years? For better or for worse, what life lessons about other people do you think you have taken away from those memories? What impact did they have on the way you related to your most recent partner?
Sorting through these memories can be an overwhelming experience, and you don’t have to do it alone. A therapist can help you identify, challenge, and release these unhelpful thought patterns so that you can participate in your next relationship with less emotional baggage.
How Strong Is My Support Network?
It’s important to have a larger social circle than just the person you are dating. That’s how healthy romantic relationships are sustained. A few really good friends, for example, can help you gain perspective on relationship issues and keep you from overburdening your significant other with all of your issues.