There are so many clichés out there about starting new relationships. Here are two common ones:
- You need to love yourself before you can love someone else.
- You’ve got to work on yourself before you’re ready for a relationship.
But here’s the thing about those clichés. They’re 100 percent true.
Have you ever jumped from one relationship to the next only to realize that some of the same patterns are showing up? Did you choose the wrong person again, or is it really you that’s causing this problem in every relationship? You’ll never really know the answers to those questions until you work on yourself.
Here are 6 tips to help you be ready for when you find “the one.”
- Allow some time to be single
If you’re the type that needs a new relationship to get over an old one, you’re not alone. This is a common mistake that people make. In an attempt to fill the loneliness void, they’ll date virtually anyone. But what happens is that you get wrapped up in a completely different set of issues instead of focusing on what you really want out of life.
Being single allows you time to think about and focus on your true priorities. Maybe in the past, your true priority was finding “the one.” But if that hasn’t worked out for you yet, it may be time to regroup.
Psychologist Paulette Kouffman Sherman, P.sy.D, recommends one month as a sound period of time to wait before jumping into a new relationship. Still, she cautions that there’s no set time to heal and it’s different for everyone.
When the time is right for you to start dating again, you should feel some distance from your last relationship.
- Get your financial house in order
You may have been so focused on finding the perfect mate that you forgot to focus on what you have to offer. If you’re $50k in debt, you’re probably not the most attractive partner (regardless of what you look like). Sure, you may be beautiful on the inside and outside, but if you’re living with a mounting pile of debt, you’re more of a liability than a partner.
But don’t panic. If you’re in this boat, you can get yourself out. It’s not something to be ashamed of, but it’s something to work on. You don’t necessarily need to be debt-free to find love, but you should at least be moving the needle in that direction. Paying off student loans, lowering credit card debt, and working to pay off your car or vehicle are excellent first steps to take!
- Address your vices
How would you feel if you read a dating profile that went like this:
Alcoholic smoker who enjoys day drinking and vaping in the car. Looking for someone who has their life together.
Sadly, that’s not too far off from how some dating profiles read. But it does highlight the problem. Alcohol in moderation is fine, but if you’re regularly binge drinking or have trouble stopping, this is something you should work on before you find the one. If the problem is severe, you may need medically assisted treatment, but the important part is to get help.
- Let go of the past
Most people don’t even realize how much past hurts can impact present life. If you’re still thinking about something someone did to you years ago, it’s time to let it go.
The more you dwell on the pain of past relationships, the more likely you are to repeat those old patterns.
Of course, this is easier said than done, but make a serious effort to change course whenever you start thinking about the past. With practice, this will get easier.
- Let go of expectations
Expectations are the biggest problem in most relationships. Think about any time you’ve ever been upset with a previous partner. Was it because you expected things to go differently?
Maybe you imagined that your partner would surprise you at work for your birthday, but he didn’t even get you a card. Or maybe you expected your partner to rub your feet. After all, you gave him a back massage last week and he knows you’ve had a rough day. You even dropped a few not-so-subtle hints… yet nothing.
In reality, your partner may have no idea what you’re expecting of him. What you’re doing is creating an imaginary scenario and getting upset when it doesn’t manifest. It sounds silly when you think of it this way, but we all do it to some extent.
Try to learn to be happy with whatever happens in the moment instead of living with expectations. When you find the one, things will go a lot more smoothly.
It really is important to work on yourself and love yourself before you get into a committed relationship, especially if you want that relationship to last.