Maybe you've taken a break from dating for a while because you've been hurt. Maybe you're a recovering bum magnet who has taken the necessary time to heal your wounds so that you can be the best version of yourself when you begin a new relationship. Whatever your situation, your time off must include some time to assess whether you're really ready to get back in the game.
Far too frequently, you judge whether it's time to get back into a relationship based on whether someone is showing romantic interest in you or how you feel about someone else, rather than determining if you've really addressed your own issues sufficiently well enough to sustain a healthy relationship. Fact is, if you don't put the work in on those issues, you are doomed to repeat the same patterns over and over again. These issues are like dandelions. The only way to rid yourself of your emotional "weeds" is to kill them at the root, otherwise they will keep rearing their ugly heads until you do.
The following are 6 questions you must ask yourself (and answer honestly) before trying to start a new relationship.
1. Have you forgiven those who have caused you hurt in the past? When people do us wrong, we often have the tendency to hold onto our pain. We relive the hurt over and over again, as if our pain is more valid if we don't let it go. We fail to realize that we don't punish the other person, rather we punish ourselves by clinging to toxic feelings. Forgiveness is or us just as much or more than it is for those who wrong us. We have to embrace forgiveness to sustain happy relationships.
2. Do you communicate effectively? Can you listen without judging or attempting to turn your partner's words against them? Can you express your feelings without blaming or accusing your mate? In order to be in healthy happy relationships, we have to not only be able to speak our truths and share our feelings, but listen to what other people have to say--and listen without forming your rebuttal arguments to what they're trying to share.
3. Do you have a life? One of the worst things we can do as humans is make another person the absolute center of our universe. We live to make other people happy and take care of them, and we lose ourselves in someone else's life. Then when we're not fulfilled or unhappy, we blame them for our unhappiness when it's not their fault, it's our fault. The best thing we can do in our relationships is maintain our individuality, our own interests, hobbies, and activities. We need our own space in which we can truly be the best version of ourselves. If we are our best alone, then we will enhance the life of someone else without being consumed by their life.
4. Have you severed ties with your ex's? Yeah, I know. You keep one or two around for an ego boost or late night booty call right? You're all adults. Nothing wrong with that, right? The problem with keeping your ex's in your life is that they may not let go when you need them to. The last thing your new mate wants to deal with is a former boyfriend or girlfriend who calls at all times of the night, doesn't respect the boundaries of the new relationship, or refuses to let go. You need to handle that business BEFORE you even think about bringing someone new in your life. You say, "But that means I'll have to actually spend time...ALONE." Yep. Sure does. Get over it and let them go. If you can't spend time alone with yourself, why should anyone else want to be with you?
5. Are you afraid to love or to trust? If so, you don't even need to think about getting into a new relationship. What you need to do is explore the root cause of your fear and trust issues, and more often than not they are usually linked. We usually fear pain and often those who cause us pain have done so by breaching the established trust in the relationship, by cheating, physical and emotional abuse, etc. Fear and lack of trust form unhealthy relational foundations and if you have a faulty foundation, the relationship is doomed to fail. Don't think you can carry your baggage into the relationship and build the trust as you go along. No, you need to walk into the new relationship baggage free in order to give your new mate and your new relationship the best chance for success. Let your new mate make their own mistakes, do not punish them for mistakes made by people in your past.
6. Do you believe you're worthy of a happy and healthy relationship? Understanding your self esteem and self worth is so critical to relationships. Healthy self image ensures that you pick emotionally healthy people OR catch your mistakes quickly so you don't invest years of your life in the wrong people. Most people will say they are worthy but far too often we don't really believe we're worthy. We suffer from self esteem issues, whether they be related to body image or career success. If you've got work to do on yourself, then finish that work before you even try to get into a new relationship. Your insecurities will only serve to bog down your mind...and your new mate.