Are you newly single? Have you just come out of a relationship or marriage? Failed relationships can be painful and challenging to overcome. While the most common solution is to rebound into another relationship, these relationships rarely survive beyond a few months. And even if they do, they mostly work more like a compromise. The best way out is to take advantage of your new relationship status by learning from the past and recreating your life. A breakup or divorce can be a positive experience if you choose to learn from it.
Learn from a failed relationship and prepare to receive your future partner:
- What’s the lesson? Every failed relationship provides at least one significant lesson. What was it? Relationships typically fail either due to errors in choosing a partner or errors in behavior. Reflect and see where “you” made a mistake and decide to do something better next time. If you have multiple failed relationships, check to see if there is a pattern you can identify common to all of them. If you can understand your contributions to the failed relationship, you’d be in a better position to attract the right person and make it work!
- Let it go. Unless there are children involved, consider ceasing all contact till you get over the hurt. Resist the tendency to “accidently” run into them at your favorite hangout, send a late-night text message, or stalk them on Facebook. Take anything that reminds you of them, box it up, and put it in the garage. It is possible to be friends with your ‘ex-partner / spouse’ but it takes two very matured people to make that happen plus some healing time to reach a point where a healthy friendship can be maintained with no heart aches.
- Forgive him/her for your own sake. It’s an easy word to say, but challenging to do. Remember! There’s no closure without forgiveness. Forgiveness is about freeing ourselves from the energy-draining quest for retribution.
- Be there for yourself. It can be tempting to compromise on your hygiene, sit in front of the TV in your pajamas, and avoid the gym. However, it’s important to continue taking care of yourself. Get a shower, spend time with friends that really care about you, and maintain your normal routine.
- Get your life in order. Find a job you like if you don’t already have one. Ensure your finances are in order. Get in shape. Feel good about your life and yourself before dating again. You want to have a great life to share with someone else, rather than find someone to fill in all the gaps and solve all the challenges in your life. Fix your life first! You’ll be a much more attractive partner, when you do that.
- Transform your space. Create a new environment at home. Move the furniture around. Renovate your home. Give yourself a fresh start.
- Find a new hobby. There has got to be something you have always wanted to do. Now is the perfect time to do it! Take a photography class or buy a guitar. Join a dance class. Add something new and fun to your life.
- Enjoy the freedom. Just enjoy the time, space and freedom of being single. Avoid starting a new relationship immediately. Spend more time with your friends and family.
- Decide what you are looking for. Make a list of what you would like in a potential partner. Think about your past relationship experiences and put together a description of what you would like in a new partner. Also reflect on what that kind of a person will be looking in their ideal partner. Work on yourself to develop those traits. Begin looking, but avoid straying too far from your list of requirements. Avoid falling into old patterns.
- Take one step at a time. When you find a potential match, enjoy it. There’s no rush. Take it slow. Neither be desperate for a commitment, nor commit too soon. Let it flow.
Moving on after a failed relationship can be especially challenging. Rely on friends and family to see you through. A breakup or divorce is an ideal time for self-examination and making positive changes in your life. There’s no reason to be in a hurry to find a new partner. Move on from the past before jumping into a new relationship.
“Sometimes we must undergo hardships, breakups, and narcissistic wounds, which shatter the flattering image that we had of ourselves, in order to discover two truths: that we are not who we thought we were; and that the loss of a cherished pleasure is not necessarily the loss of true happiness and well-being.” – Jean-Yves Leloup