After the post-breakup slump, you may not be sure if you’re ready to dive right into a new relationship. You may be dating around and mingling with other singles, but it can be hard to tell if you’re looking to get into your next serious relationship or just trying to fill the void your last relationship left.
Everyone has different ways of coping with the end of a relationship. And everyone spends different amounts of time dealing with the end and healing on their own. But when it comes to entering a new relationship, how can you know if you’re truly ready to accept someone new into your life?
Are you ready for a new relationship?
Only you will be able to tell if it’s time for you to start building a new relationship. But if you’re looking for signs, it won’t be in big bold letters telling you that you’re ready. It’s these signs you should be checking for.
#1 You’re no longer angry. One of the ways we cope with grief is by lashing out and expressing our anger at either the person who caused the grief or at the situation itself. It’s not unheard of to be angry at your ex, but it’s not healthy to dwell on the anger either. One sure way you can tell that you’re emotionally equipped for a new relationship is when you no longer feel the gripping anger that often comes with a relationship that ended badly.
#2 You’re not comparing new people with your ex. Playing the comparison game is a sign that you may not be completely over your ex. Whenever you’re out on a date with someone, do you notice the little things your date does that reminds you of your ex? Do you turn your ex into a yardstick with which you see how other potential partners measure up? Are you out with this person solely because they remind you of your ex?
There may be times when you can’t help but make a bit of a comparison, and that’s fine. What you should look out for, however, is when you’re always trying to pit this new person against your ex. If you still do this, or if you can’t seem to help it, then you may need some more time to let go of the past. [Read: 15 signs you’re in a rebound relationship without you knowing it]
#3 You’ve found the time to enjoy your singlehood. Not a lot of people give themselves enough time to enjoy being single, because they let their loneliness push them into entering a new relationship immediately. But genuinely trying to enjoy being unattached can be very helpful in making you a more well-adjusted person.
This is the time when you can do pretty much whatever you want to do, without answering to a significant other. You can do things alone and be secure. This allows you to foster independence, while also showing you that being single isn’t such a bad thing. Taking the time to enjoy this phase lets you focus more on the things you want, without looking to a partner for guidance. [Read: Why it’s great to be single in your 20’s]
#4 You’re not just trying to fend off loneliness. Lots of rebound relationships start off with at least one lonely person who’s desperate to find someone to keep their loneliness at bay. This may sometimes help with the healing process, but it often makes you depend on another person too much. Loneliness may not be a good feeling, but you shouldn’t just rush into the arms of some willing new potential partner just to get rid of it.
Being lonely after a breakup is normal. You may feel like the floor has just been swept under you, as you become painfully aware of how alone you are. But being alone also has its good points, since you can get to know yourself better. And speaking of being alone… [Read: The 3 stages to embrace and overcome loneliness]
#5 You’re yourself again. People inevitably change whenever they enter into a new relationship. Little habits, thoughts and opinions are shared between two people, and it fuses with their personality. You may even let your role as someone’s significant other mold you into who you are now. For instance, you may be the “one of the guys girlfriend” or the “nurturing, motherly girlfriend” or “Mr. romantic funny guy.”
But once the relationship ends, you need to be able to revert back to your old, single self. Your persona should no longer be dependent on the relationship you were in. You should also no longer be defined by the end of your relationship. Until you reach that point where your past relationship is shelved as just one of your life experiences, you still need to work on freeing yourself from the influence of that relationship.
#6 You’re emotionally available. When you find someone you might like, you should be able to fully invest your emotions in that person. You must feel free to love because you want to, and not because you want to fill the void that your ex left.
In addition, you should also be entering into a new relationship because you want to, and not because you feel that it’s the key to getting over your ex. If you do enter a new relationship before you’re ready, you may end up just rehashing your old issues and projecting them onto your new significant other. Not only does this hinder your healing process, but you may also end up hurting someone.
#7 You’re learning to trust again. Trust issues, at least when it comes to relationships, usually occur when an ex has lied to you. It can be outright infidelity or it can be a lie about something important to you, such as finances or secrets from your ex’s past. Now, we know for a fact that when our trust in someone is broken, it can be very hard to rebuild. But another thing about trust is that issues about it can carry over to future relationships.
Guarding your heart against being hurt is normal. But guarding it so much that you’re pushing people away to the point of emotional unavailability means that you’re not yet ready to give your heart to someone new. There are a lot of ways you can address your trust issues, so it would be best to go over those first before starting a new relationship.
#8 There are no more What Ifs. The “What If” phase often occurs during the bargaining phase of grief. You think of all the things you could have done differently. You think of things you could still do to maybe salvage what’s left of your shattered relationship. You’re basically imagining scenarios that will probably never happen.
That desire to turn back the clock and make things right is a sign that you’re stuck in the past. You’re still using up energy to dredge up all the things that happened when you could be out there, looking to the future. Once you accept that things happened the way they happened, then you’ll be able to learn from the experience, get over it and move forward. [Read: 8 daily reminders to keep you moving forward]
#9 You find that you can be genuinely happy for your ex. Despite what happened between you, whether it was great, okay or downright awful, you can still find it within yourself to be happy for your ex. You’re not viciously stalking them and hoping they fail at everything. Instead, you’ve learned to be passively indifferent to what your ex is up to.
And once you find that they’re happy with a new significant other, you don’t feel jealous or bitter. You don’t hope it all comes crumbling down. What you do feel is a sense of calm as you hope your ex can be happy for you, too. [Read: 10 signs your past relationship is holding you back]
Jumping into a new relationship when you still have issues from your previous one only spells disaster. It’s better to be safe by checking for these signs than to be sorry when your new relationship inevitably fails.
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