Warriors, I love emails from you! And particularly when I was just talking with a good friend about this very same thing!
Here’s an email I received this week – it contains a very poignant question:
“Hi Erin! Love, love, love your blog! You have made me really think about what’s happened and where I want to go from here. Quick question: How do I know when I’m ready to start dating and try again? I know it’s different for everyone but is there any one particular sign or milestone? Thanks for everything!! MH, Boise, Idaho”
Well, it is different for everyone, and a major factor is if you’re the one who left or if you’re the one that got left so to speak. Also if the relationship went on long past it’s usefulness, you might be ready sooner than someone who got blindsided.
Usually the one who wants out left the relationship long before the one who didn’t so that person has had longer to adjust and come to terms emotionally with the BreakUp. That’s not set in stone but it’s good food for thought if you’re thinking of getting in another relationship.
We all need time to heal and, hopefully, dig deep enough to take responsibility for our part in the BreakUp. We all know those people who go from relationship to relationship without hardly taking a deep breath in between: the perpetual victims who can’t be bothered to stand still long enough to look in the mirror and own their own behaviors. Hopefully, that’s not you!!
I like the house building analogy – builders put the foundation in first for a reason! When storms come, and they always do, the house built on a solid foundation weathers the storm. My closest friends have stood by me through a lot of storms. Surely any future romantic relationship I may have in the future deserves to be built on a similar foundation.
I would consider these factors before getting involved in a serious relationship after a BreakUp:
- Is your former relationship really over? Is your relationship with your Ex pleasant and drama free? Please don’t get involved with someone and hurt an innocent person if not!
- Are you still grieving the loss of your former relationship? It’s really not fair to another person to drag that grief into a new relationship.
- Are you emotionally stable? Do your good days outweigh your tough days? And, are you having tough days only once a month or so?
- Do you have kids? If so, they come first. Does the person you are considering have kids? If so, they come first.
- Do you know why your last relationship dissolved? Do you REALLY know, and have you investigated your part in it? Do you accept your responsibility for it?
- Have you developed any strategies for dealing with your issues in the future? (Or do you think that the next relationship will be smooth sailing because … I don’t know … miracles happen???)
- Are you ready to let someone else in? Are you ready to be brutally honest about yourself? Or, do you still blame your Ex completely for what happened?
- Are you absolutely clear about what you want and what you’re looking for? Are you willing to be the Stepmom or Stepdad? The great news is that you get to decide!
- Is the person you are contemplating starting a relationship with capable of fulfilling your needs? Study this one long and hard!
There’s no certain period of time for the process of decompressing and getting ready for another relationship so only you know yourself well enough to decide. However, I challenge you to look deep enough, long enough to understand how you behave in relationships so you can grow through the experience. If you meet someone who interests you (or you already know someone who interests you), take it slow. Be friends first. Seriously! Stop laughing! What’s wrong with being friends?? Dating in 2017 can be tough, and particularly if you’re over 40!
The best thing you can do for yourself is know yourself well enough to know with clarity when YOU are ready. You’ll know. I promise! When you no longer have to ask yourself if you’re ready, then you’re probably ready. I do believe that one of the bravest things anyone can do is be open to life and love after experiencing the deep pain of a BreakUp.
That’s a Warrior! Someone who gets their heart stomped on and still believes in love & compassion. Someone who likes standing inside the fire* as Garth Brooks sings about. Someone who refuses to be made bitter because it didn’t work out. Someone who builds bridges instead of walls. By all means, have boundaries and take time to trust but don’t let your BreakUp cause you to be bitter and miserable.
You’re better than that! You’re a Warrior!!
* We call them strong
Those who can face this world alone
Who seem to get by on their own
Those who will never take the fall
We call them weak
Who are unable to resist
The slightest chance love might exist
And for that forsake it all
They’re so hell-bent on giving, walking a wire
Convinced it’s not living if you stand outside the fire
Standing outside the fire
Standing outside the fire
Life is not tried, it is merely survived
If you’re standing outside the fire
There’s this love that is burning
Deep in my soul
Constantly yearning to get out of control
Wanting to fly higher and higher
I can’t abide
Standing outside the fire