“Getting back out there”…
…and diving into the world of dating, can be slightly confusing or even intimidating; especially if we had some bad experiences in the past.
One of our readers, who chooses to stay anonymous, asked us how to do it and we have prepared for her – and anyone else who is about to “get back in the market” – 5 Golden Rules for “Getting Back Out There” like a Pro (to skip directly to the Golden Rules please scroll down till the end of the page; however I would strongly encourage you to read the Introduction first – you won’t regret it. And if you do, I’ll buy you a beer or something ;)).
Before we start, lets’ recall the challenge first
My love life was a mess.
I was going from one crappy relationship to another. Finally, I’ve had enough and I have decided to take a break from all those wrong boyfriends. I figured that there may be something wrong with me since I involve myself in all those messy relationships.
Now, I have worked on my issues and I am ready to get out there.
How do I do that?
There are no crappy relationships – only lessons
The very first thing we’ve noticed while reading your challenge was “from one crappy relationship to another”. On one hand, we can fully understand you feel this way… yet, we would like you to look at your love life from a different perspective. Instead of seeing it as a “chain of crap”, treat it as a long and useful session of many lessons that you needed to take, in order to learn how to find and maintain a happy relationship.
“Wrong boyfriends”, same as failures, are giving you the opportunity to learn and grow. Some of us need only one lesson or two, others – need the go through the same experience ten or twenty times. It sounds pretty unfair, but at the end of the day, everyone has its own path and areas to master in this lifetime. It may be, that your main life learning is in the love department.
Your “Wrong Boyfriends” have one thing in common – You
We loved the fact that you’ve decided to take some time off from dating and to work on yourself first. Many times people complain about their past relationships, forgetting that they have willingly (and many times enthusiastically) decided to enter every single one of them in the first place.
We tend to focus on what was wrong with their partners, instead of taking a closer look at what was wrong with us. It can end up either in falling into “a victim mode trap” or building way too high expectations for the future.
Victim Mode Trap
It is quite easy to fall into a “victim mode trap”: “I always meet the wrong girls” or “men I’ve been with were liars/cheaters/aggressive/unavailable/workaholics/addicts” or “I gave too much and got nothing in return”.
This approach seems natural at first, but it’s not very helpful for a longer run. Instead of “blaming them”, the more constructive approach is to ask yourself: “Why did I allow myself to get involved with a man that was clearly emotionally unavailable?” or “What red flags did I miss while dating the girl who turned out to be a cheater?” or “I’ve seen from the beginning that he is aggressive, why did I decide to continue this relationship?”.
Answers to these type of inquiries hold the key to your unhealthy patterns and “a crappy love life”, so we hope you’ve managed to ask yourself those questions already and reflect on it.
Taking Back The Control over Your Love Life
Accepting the responsibility for your past love life “failures” can be difficult at first, but the benefits are amazing.
Firstly, you learn how to avoid unhealthy relations by recognizing red flags earlier.
Secondly, you take back the control over your own life. You are not a person that things were happening to. You are a person that things were happening through. Instead of being a mere actor in your own love saga, who “always ends up in the same situation”, you are becoming your own screenwriter and director. Suddenly you notice what could have been done differently or avoided and you can make your decisions and choices in a way that they finally give you the outcome you desire.
Thirdly, you start to realize your own bullshit and from a passive attitude “I expect YOU to be this and that” you switch to an active one: “I expect FROM MYSELF to improve this and that”. Self-improvement never harmed anyone, so there’s no way you can go wrong with it and if you need an extra motivation, maybe the picture below will speak to you better.
Last but not least, “I am Grateful” Bullshit
Last but not least, it helps you to avoid the “I am grateful” Bullshit.
Don’t get me wrong, gratefulness for the past experiences – no matter how painful or unpleasant – is extremely important. As I wrote in the beginning, shifting your attention from “carp” to “lesson” and being grateful for it, is necessary (especially for letting go and forgiveness) but being “only” grateful is not enough.
It’s worth to mention it, as lately we are being bombarded with all kind of zen practices, and gratefulness seems to be number one “universal cure” for… well, pretty much everything. As a result, some people are walking around and mindlessly repeating “I am grateful” – for anyone and everything, yet they are unable to transform this attitude into an actual benefit.
Gratefulness needs to go hand in hand with learning. If you are “just” grateful for the difficult experience you will most probably invite the same type of lesson.
Again. And again. And again.
Instead of being “just” grateful for the past relationship, you should actively and mindfully learn from it. When you realize your lesson, remember to implement it; this is the only way you can evolve and grow into a better human and a better partner in your future relationship. This will also allow you to be grateful not only for the experience but also for the lesson and for the change in you that came with it.
Listen to our Podcast!
… and Read about the 5 Golden Rules:
Golden Rule 1:
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!
We wish you all the luck in “getting back out there” and would love to hear your story; you are most welcomed to drop us an email or message and share your experience – if you agree we would love to publish it on our website!
All the Best!
Anna & Marta