Out with the old, in with the new: Letting go of past relationships and making way for new ones
Are you still hung up on your ex? Do you feel like you’ll never meet someone you truly connect with? Moving on from an old relationship can feel like an uphill struggle, especially if there are still feelings for the ex. Losing someone that you gave your heart to is one of life’s major challenges and while the old sayings ‘you deserve better’ and ‘there are plenty more fish in the sea’ are designed to give you hope, the chances are they’ll make little difference to how you feel. Moving on takes time and it won’t be easy, but by staying positive and focusing on the good things you have to offer in a new relationship, you’ll be able to make that move from “ex” to “next”.
If you are harbouring negative feelings for your ex or the break up, or you have struggled in a relationship that wasn’t healthy for a variety of reasons, you need to address these emotions before you start dating again. Difficult relationships can have a long-lasting effect on self-confidence and your romantic outlook so, if needs be, seek professional help or browse forums online to share your experience and gain support from others. The quicker you deal with any doubts, fears or insecurities, the better you will feel about yourself and about dating again. Use this time to talk to friends about your feelings, you might find that they have been through something similar, or will be able to offer words of encouragement or even just a shoulder to cry on.
Avoid your ex
After a break up it can be tempting to check up on your ex on Facebook or Twitter, but beware, as what can at first seem like harmless interest can sometimes turn into a borderline obsession.. The only way around this, apart from de-friending, is to practice a bit of self-restraint. Every time you feel the urge to go on their page, remind yourself that this is about you moving on, not just them, and try to distract yourself with another activity. The same applies to places your ex might hang out; even if you are looking fabulous and you want them to know that, one chance encounter could be enough to trigger all those old feelings, good and bad. The more connections you have with your ex, whether it’s friends in common or the same hang-outs, the more likely you are to think about them, hear about them or see them, which will only have a negative effect on your ability to move on.
Be gentle on yourself. Don’t be angry or frustrated every time you find it hard to cope without your ex. Having self-confidence is crucial to dating and a good fix for that feel good factor is to focus on health and wellbeing. This can range from a healthy eating plan to a daily jog in the park or even just a new haircut. Physical exercise will stimulate endorphins (neurotransmitters that promote a feeling of happiness) and will help you to get in better shape which will motivate you when it comes to fun and flirting, while an image makeover will encourage you to socialise.
This may sound obvious but going out and meeting people means you are more likely to make some new friends, or even a potential date. It will also help you to hone your conversation skills and give you more confidence to chat to people you don’t know or have only just met. Don’t put pressure on yourself to find ‘the one’ and instead enjoy the social aspect of looking for a date; you might not fancy the person you are talking to but you never know, they might have a fabulous friend! Use online dating to supplement your search and keep an eye and an ear out for social events where you are likely to meet new people.
And finally …
Remember you are your own person, whether or not you are in a relationship. Don’t submit to the pressures your friends or family might place on you to find a partner, and look for love in your own time. Use the extra time your single life affords you to learn new skills and keep busy. Take up a new hobby, sign up to a course, discover new nightlife and travel more. But also take time to relax. When you’re happy alone, you’ll be much more attractive to other people and you won’t be insecure or needy in any new relationships. By taking some time to consider your own character traits and what you really want from a new relationship, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance of finding one that lasts.