WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “MENTALLY READY”?
Everyone has its own inner voice that tells us when are we truly ready to do something; dating included. There is no universal rule how much time should pass between relationships – for some people it can be days or weeks, others will need months or even years.
There is, however, one thing that may help you to determine if you are ready to hop on a dating train again: You should feel that your decision about “getting out there” again is rooted in an authentic willingness to meet, discover and enjoy another person.
Unfortunately, for many of us, the decision to date again origins from feelings of loneliness, fear or desperation. Some people think that “they are ready”, once they start to miss sex, attention or simply the rush of being “in the game”. Others are simply lonely and want some company, or are afraid that they waited for too long and a chance for a relationship will pass them by.
Hence the “rule of a thumb” is simple – if you feel lonely, afraid or bored, you are most probably NOT ready for a relationship. Otherwise, you will build it on a very shaky ground, soaked with insecurities and/or neediness.
If you are not convinced about this approach, imagine you are on a date with someone who tells you that they want to be in a relationship because they feel bored and lonely. Plus it would be great to finally get laid. Sexy, right?
“IT WAS MY HEART’S CALLING”… NOT
Let’s assume that you have waited enough; the time is now. You are ready to get out there, to love and to share. You know why your relationships were “failing” in the past – you worked on your unhealthy patterns and behaviours, you know all the red flags you should pay attention to and the type of people you should avoid dating.
You got this.
And then you meet THAT GUY (or GIRL) and your heart literally skips the beat! The problem is… they are everything you promised yourself to avoid.
You see the red flags. You notice unrequited behaviours – either theirs or yours. And yet, your strong pull towards the person you should avoid will most likely overshadow all your previous mental preparations. You may find yourself wondering if your “new rules” or “vision about love life” aren’t a bit too strict. Or justify in front of yourself, that you want to hang out with that person for a sole purpose of gaining a new “friend”. Then, you catch yourself thinking that maybe this time, “things will unfold differently”.
And if situation goes too far, you will most probably use the oldest excuse of all: “It was stronger than me; it was my heart’s calling”
The deal is: most likely, it is not your “heart’s calling”; it’s your old mating preferences and bad habits roaring inside of you to claim what’s theirs: The control of your mind.
It is said that you need minimum 21 days to reprogram your brain and create a new behavioural pattern, yet in a case of lifelong habits it may take way longer than just 3 weeks. If all your life you were choosing to enter relationships with “wrong boyfriends” there must be a special program running in your head that enables that.
And although wonderful stories where “love conquers all” do happen, the reality is usually different; just keep in mind that your “heart” may be your subconscious program, running the same story over again.
BE PREPARED FOR “THE WAITER WITH THE SILVER PLATE”
Being attracted to the wrong type of a person or relationship, even after we worked with our inner issues shouldn’t be seen, however, as a failure. If it happens, try to look at it as you just had a Close Encounter of the First kind with the “Waiter with the Silver plate”.
The “Waiter with the Silver plate” is this fantastic metaphor that brilliantly captures the entire human experience – especially in the areas of learning and self-improvement. Once you’ve become aware of your shortcomings and decided to improve, first you will intellectualise it (“I know I want to change it”), then you’ll feel it (“I feel it in my heart I want to change it”), and afterwards, you’ll practice it (self-improvement tools). Yet we all instinctively know that “dry training” is not enough; you need to be tested.
Hence, there is a high probability that once you’ve decided to change yourself and you even did your homework, the Waiter of Life will appear and serve you with the very thing you want to avoid – just to make sure that this time you’ve learned your lesson.
In the end, it is always your decision if you go for the Silver plate or not; if you don’t – congratulations, you’ve passed your lesson! But if you do… well, you most surely need to repeat the class again.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with repeating the class; the most important is not to give up and to try again.
WRITE DOWN YOUR LESSONS LEARNED AND RED FLAGS
If this time you are really determined not to end up in “a crappy relationship”, as a part of your mental preparation, I would suggest you write down your main Lessons Learned and Reg Flags – and keep them handy.
For example, your Lessons Learned may be: “I will avoid men who seem arrogant” or “Before I will make any confessions, I will try to get to know a girl better and look beyond her physical appearance” or “I will not drink alcohol on the first date as this blurs my judgement about the person” (btw, the last one is a good advice for most of us).
YOU MAY HAVE YOUR OWN SPECIFIC “RED FLAGS” BUT THE MOST TYPICAL ARE:
Your partner suddenly stops all communication and reappears after some days like nothing ever happened
Your partner is quick to become angry, yell or throw things
You notice drastic, sudden changes in his/her behaviour and/or mood
You caught your partner lying or he/she acts overly secretive
His/her ex-partner is one of the main topics discussed on your dates (and it doesn’t matter if those are positive or negative things – it simply means their ex is still on their mind)
“There is this complicated story with my ex/friend/colleague” type of confession
There are signs of extreme, possessive behaviour
There are clear signs of alcohol/drugs addiction
Your partner treats service workers (eg. waiters) poorly
They’ve cheated on their last partner… with you
It is relatively easy to be swept off your feet by a someone who is “your type” – even if that type is toxic. After all, right or wrong, it is YOUR TYPE nevertheless and you need to be mindful of it.
It’s exactly like with the junk food – you may love it, but you know it slowly makes you sick. Remember that it is always your decision who you invite into your life. And if you want to “break the chain” of “crappy relationships” – prepare yourself mentally for it.
Read about the 5 Golden Rules:
Golden Rule 1: (you are here)
Make sure you’re mentally ready
Golden Rule 2:
Make sure you ex-orcise your space
Golden Rule 3:
Make sure to re-invent your “dating self”
Golden Rule 4:
Make sure you are truly open
Golden Rule 5:
Make sure to relax, let go and have fun!