Have you just been through a nasty break-up? Here’s 5 things you need to change before you try to find a new partner.
When we go through a break-up, we typically want to put all the blame on the other person.
Maybe they were cheating, or maybe they were using you, or whatever the case may be. The truth is, it’s rarely completely one-sided.
There are things about yourself you should change going forward, both in order to attract a better partner as well as to be a better partner.
1. Change your wardrobe.
No, I’m not saying that your clothes are even remotely responsible for the break-up. But if you’re anything like me, these clothes will hold an association with a part of your “self” that is no longer actually a part of you. I’m the type to let go of things that are in the past. After all, you can’t ever truly fix what’s been done – all you can do is move forward and try to make it right.
This is probably why I routinely purge my closet, even when I am in a happy relationship. When I have clothes from before I lost a good deal of weight, I get rid of them, because I have no desire to become that person again. The same is true for clothing that I associate with that ex.
For example, on a recent “closet purge”, I found a shirt that used to belong to an ex-girlfriend. I still wore it because it looked good on me. But I realized that the shirt had more significance as a part of my ex than it did as a part of me – so it had to go.
Aside from the negative associations that may come from cleaning out your wardrobe, you’ll feel better about yourself. Even women who hate shopping can get energy from new clothes. If we find something that looks good on us, it becomes our favorite thing – and we feel better when we wear it. Plus, we can donate these old clothes to someone less fortunate – which means we’re making a positive impact on the happiness of our community.
When you are ready to go out and meet someone new, wouldn’t you rather have the positive energy from your favorite new shoes as opposed to the negative energy of the shirt your ex bought for you for your birthday?
My mom once told me that I should “dress to attract the lady I’m trying to attract”, and I think this is an important note to touch on: I don’t think you should ever change your personal style for someone else. Your clothes are about making you comfortable, and if you’re making yourself uncomfortable in order to attract a partner – essentially, you’re lying about who you are. Dress for who you are and the right woman will be attracted to the real you.
2. Change your attitude.
We want to pretend that our partner’s attitude is always to blame when something goes wrong. This is actually damaging to our self-respect, because internally we know we’re not always right. We, as humans, are stubborn by nature, and this directly affects our relationships.
Even if “most” of the problem was your partner, I’m sure you can think of times when your expectations were unreasonable. We are not without our flaws. If you can identify what were actually flaws, you can work to improve upon them instead of pretending they don’t exist.
There is no such thing as a perfect person – we can only try to be the best we can.
If you notice something you should have reacted differently to in the past, try to keep that in mind for the future. Learn to admit when you are wrong and to confess to the things that are your fault. I’m not saying you have to share every detail, but you should generally convey respect and trustworthiness.
3. Change your outlook.
If your examination of your relationship has showed that you are too trusting (for those whose past relationships have left them taken advantage of) or too wary (for those who lacked self-confidence and trust), it may be necessary for you to change your outlook on the nature of your relationships in the future.
The truth is, no relationship will ever be perfect – so you shouldn’t expect it to be, you shouldn’t pretend it is, and you shouldn’t be disappointed if it isn’t. The good news is that most relationships aren’t horrible, either. Certainly you will have had some, but if it happens routinely, you might be playing a part in the failures.
When we are too trusting and forgiving with our partners, we tend to “let slide” things that aren’t really okay. Over time, our partners become accustomed to this “glossing over” and they start to plan for it. We wouldn’t believe that they are trying to hurt us or take advantage of us, so we allow it to continue and progress.
If you have found yourself in this position for a majority of your past relationships, you’ll need to know how to stand up for yourself. It is possible that your partner isn’t intentionally doing these things – but if you don’t stick up for yourself, you’ll never know and you’ll never fix the problem. Don’t be afraid to speak up if your needs aren’t being met.
If, on the other hand, you feel that you didn’t trust your partner enough, and this led to them being “put in a bubble”, you’ll need to realize that no one is perfect, and your partner is not to blame for the problems that came before your relationship started.
In some situations, bad experiences with your exes are to blame for the lack of trust. It’s important that you remember that this partner is not your ex. If they make the same mistakes, then you can blame them for those mistakes – but you have no right to accuse them if they haven’t actually shown themselves to be untrustworthy.
In other situations, one partner may have had experiences in her past that make you uncomfortable. My personal motto in these types of situation is, “If it was before my time, it’s not my business.” You can’t assume that someone is still the same person they were when they were younger – we make mistakes. What matters is whether or not we learn and grow from them. If she has obviously changed since then, let it go!
4. Change your criteria.
Sometimes we may find ourselves in a repeating pattern of the same bad energy. Maybe our last three girlfriends in a row were unfaithful – but the initial thing that attracted us to them was their sex appeal. In some ways, you can adjust the type of girl you attract by simply refusing to tolerate certain behaviors. If there is a link between what you pursue and what you receive, try to find it and eliminate it from your future relationships when possible.
Of course, sometimes people will portray themselves differently in the beginning of the relationship than they do once you’ve been together for a while – and you may think that there’s nothing you can do to protect yourself from this.
However, just because you enter a relationship with someone doesn’t mean you’re forced to stay with them!
If your partner changes in ways that affect your happiness in the relationship, you have every right to speak up and have your opinion heard. Sometimes those opinions might be rude and you might lose your girlfriend over them – but only you can decide what you are unwilling to settle for. If you stay in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy, you are settling, even if your expectations are too high.
After any relationship ends, you should take some time to think over what you don’t want to deal with from your future partners. Humans are constantly growing and learning as individuals, so what you wanted 3 years ago is most likely not what you want now. If something that used to matter a lot to you doesn’t really matter anymore – update your preferences!
(Of course, this “preferences” list is probably in your head – it’s probably not a good idea to leave a list of criteria around for your girlfriend to find.)
5. Change your direction.
Often we are tempted to jump from one relationship to another. In fact, I think it’s actually a pretty common lesbian stereotype, too – but really it affects most humans about the same.
Whether the relationship you’re trying to rush into is purely sexual or if it has a romantic nature – rushing into something new won’t actually help you get over your ex. The temptation can be hard to resist, because we feel particularly lonely and vulnerable when we recently lose the “security” of a relationship. But actively seeking out any new relationship while your figurative wounds are still healing is a recipe for even more pain.
If we are in a vulnerable state entering a relationship, we’re less likely to think through the consequences of our decisions. We may get attached quickly because we’re still in the mindset of wanting to be in a relationship for the sake of the relationship. However, take a second to picture it from the other side:
Would you want to be with someone who was still hung up on her ex?
I’m guessing probably not. If you’re still attached to your ex-partner, you can’t possibly be a good partner to your new love. It’s unfair to hold onto someone you can’t be good to.