Ouch. You suffered a painful breakup and have been mourning the loss of what you thought would be and the heartfelt crush of an ego bruise. Like many others who experience this, it sucks. There’s really no avoiding the pain, especially if this was really someone special who you’d put big expectations into. It’s called being human. And it’s also being human to recover, tap into your resilience and rise up from the ashes of your personal disappointment and loss. Friends, family, personal work and time can help you get there.
In order to know you’re ready to find love again, it’s important to do a lot of self reflection on what happened in the relationship. There are complicated layers to the dynamics between two people in an intimate connection. It’s a system where both parts contribute to the dance. The goal is to get to emotional safety and security together, ideally feeling on a similar path in relationship goals. There are many ways this can go well – and not so much.
If you feel you’ve moved past the grief stage of a relationship loss and there’s an inkling of interest in looking around you to see what might be next, it’s a good time to assess your readiness for your next relationship. Here are some things to ask yourself:
Have I taken enough time to be clear on what happened and have a more balanced view of responsibility?
If you move too rapidly to the next relationship, the chances that you’ve given ample time to reflect on the prior relationship are not high. It’s important to consider the role you each played. What did your partner do that was damaging or not creating enough security? What did you do? Were their blips in the relationship that were never addressed to allow resentment to build? How did you both communicate about your feelings? If you look closely enough, ideally you see how you both in some way contributed. There are obviously exceptions to this, in outrageous scenarios where people have been totally blindsided, the other had a double life, etc. Generally, a relationship being a system of sorts, both are contributing in some way even if it requires a closer look to see it.
To be ready for your next relationship, make sure enough time has passed.
Do I feel secure in who I am individually and not motivated by the fear of being alone?
Sometimes a breakup can leave you feeling unsure, asking yourself what you did for this to happen. It’s always wise to be self reflective but if you are paralyzed by negative thoughts about your unlovability or fears of never finding love again to be forever alone, you may want to take a pause before looking for someone else. Do the work of self-esteem and self-compassion building. Remind yourself of your strengths and what you bring to a relationship.
To be ready for your next relationship, know your value.
Am I aware of the role of my family of origin or past in my relationship vulnerabilities?
We are all impacted in some way, positively or negatively, by our histories with other relationships. Particularly our earliest important connections in our family of origin. What triggers you and why? If you understand this you’ll be better prepared to self-soothe if it comes up again. You’ll also have more clarity around the differences between your partner’s behavior and your stuff.
To be ready for your next relationship, be clear on your soft spots in relationships.
Do I deserve a healthy, loving relationship?
Core beliefs about you and what you can expect from others are formed very early on, usually in the family of origin. Messages can get reaffirmed in situations later; through adolescents and into adulthood via intimate relationships and even friendships. What do you believe about what you deserve when it comes to relationships? Do you expect to be treated well and are lovable? Have you have been conditioned to expect little in a relationship or simply don’t deserve it? This often is reflected in partner choices and problematic relationship patterns.
To be ready for your next relationship, do some personal work if needed.
Am I clear on what lessons I’m taking forward into the next relationship?
No matter what the relationship situation, there are lessons to learn. You would be very wise to be take stock of these lessons and apply them the next time. This is an aspect of growth. What can you do differently next time? What red flags do you need to be mindful of? What kind of person do you want? What kind of person do you not want?
To be ready for your next relationship, assess your learnings and have them in mind moving forward.