There is an adage that says when you fall off a horse, you get right back on it, without missing a beat but in this business of dating, especially after a break up, it would really be a good idea, if you can walk away from the horse for a while, to assess the situation.
Much like an army general on campaign, when he suffers loss on the battle front, he calls back his troops, regroups and re-strategizes to ensure defeat does not happen again. That is the situation with the dating scene. You can’t keep doing the same thing all, over and over again and expect different results. No, it just would not work out that way.
It could be very tempting to try to get into a new relationship straight after you left one; just for the sake of the intimacy you crave or comfort that the just ended relationship gave you. You might be deluded into thinking that starting a new relationship would heal the hurt of the one that just ended.
You couldn’t be more wrong. I had to go through that some years back, when I had many toasters. Lol! I had a relationship with a guy for almost a year, and I thought in my naive mind that he was the one I was going to get married to. But the relationship ended abruptly, after I gained admission into the university and he just disappeared from my radar. Suddenly, he was unavailable for our regular chats during the day, he stopped picking my calls, and didn’t bother to return them. After a while, I got the message; the relationship was over. As I write, we are yet to have any formal dissolution of relationship talk. And we have ran into each other numerous times after that and behaved as mere acquaintances would. Of course, you would not expect me to ask him, why he dumped me so unceremoniously.
Anyways, I soon hooked up with a new guy in my school, not the older students, looking for fresh meat o. This was another regular fresher like I was back then. It was fun while it lasted; I got a mate to hang out with at school and nothing else. The truth was, there couldn’t be anything else; I was not giving it my all. I was busy comparing him with my last guy. Also, the fact that I wanted to make good grades in my studies would not have allowed me give it my best. These two areas of my life were not exactly compatible, so we soon went our different paths amicably. Instead of jumping into a relationship as soon as I left one, I should have just enjoyed my own company. Enjoyed the friends I had back then, and focused on my studies which were quite important to me. But I choose the least resistant route and ended back where I should have stayed; the Singles Island.
Below are some of the things I should have done but ignored in favour of temporary enjoyment. I hope you give them due consideration, if you are in the throes of a break up after a long or short relationship:
Make yourself a priority
Most people coming from a bad relationship, always find out after the relationship ended that they never looked out for their own interests, hence they likely stayed too long, trying to look for solutions to the perceived issues in that relationship. Well, before you get into another relationship, the most important thing is to understand that you are important, your opinions matter, and for you to know what your standards and values are. The time you take off dating will give you an opportunity to find out those things about yourself.
It is not merely ironic that one of the most important factors to succeeding in a relationship is knowing how to spend time with yourself, and value yourself as a human being. You can only be treated better, if you treat yourself well enough. Before being with someone new, you have to learn to find new hobbies, interests and friendships that you won’t give up when a new love interest comes along. While you are dating or seeing someone exclusively, be sure to care for yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Pay attention to your needs in all these areas, separate and apart from someone else. No one else can fill your empty places and no one should try. The ideal should be that you are a stronger unit together, but you should still be a strong unit alone.
Build your support system
This is a smart move for you. Your support system should include your friends and family and they will always transcend romantic relationships. They are there in the good and bad times. Your dating hiatus period should be an opportunity to shore them up, where they are lacking.
You need to realize that dating or starting a new relationship is a balancing act with finding time for your friends and family, your hobbies and interests, and your new love interest. It’s easy to be sucked into the romance, affection, attention and infatuation of a new relationship. It’s fun and it feels good. But for a relationship to succeed in the long run, it needs to be a positive part of your life, not your whole life.
A good relationship enlarges your life and gives it more joy and more meaning. A bad relationship narrows it and makes it miserable.
Heal, especially if your break up was nasty
It is definitely a good idea to take a break from dating or any romantic relationship at that. You might also want to think about not putting a calendar date/deadline on when you will start dating. Once you are able to go on a date, without thinking about your ex or comparing your new guy with the old one, you know that you have gotten some healing and can conveniently date.
Imagine, it was a long marriage; surely, you will not be the mood to start dating. In fact, the thought of dating another man would make you want to throw up and that is absolutely fine. You did not get that way in a day or a year; it was a gradual build up until now, so it would take time to get over it. The deal is to be gentle on yourself, and don’t expect miracles to happen overnight, even though they do.
Learn to be picky
There is a Yoruba adage that says; “the one who eats last, does not eat rubbish.” In a way, it is true because someone else would have stumbled on the not-so-good part of the meal part and eaten it. So, see your time off dating as a cleansing period, only you are not the only one doing the cleansing, someone else is also helping you sieve through the lot and by the time, you are ready to come back into the game. A fine specimen of a man, who is both mentally and physically fit, will be waiting for you. This is similar to dieting; you pay particular attention to the meals you take, when you are on a diet, because you want meals that are not only nourishing, but also appealing and enjoyable.
So, before you think of jumping into another relationship, ask yourself, if you are truly ready or looking for self validation via another person.
Whatever be the case, remember to show yourself unconditional love.