LoveAndLifeToolBox

Post-Breakup: How to Know You’re Ready for Your Next Relationship

Ouch.  You suffered a painful breakup and have been mourning the loss of what you thought would be and the heartfelt crush of an ego bruise.  Like for many others, it can hurt!  If you’ve lost someone who you felt there was real possibilities, it’s normal to grieve this.  It’s called being human.  And it’s also being human to recover, tap into your resilience and rise up from the ashes of your personal disappointment and loss.  Friends, family, personal work and time can help you get there.

In order to know you’re ready to find love again, it’s important to self-reflect on what happened in the relationship.  There are complicated layers to the dynamics between two people in an intimate relationship.  Both parties play a role in the dance.  Ideally, emotional safety is a hallmark of the relationship and you share relationship goals.  But this can go awry.

If you feel you’ve moved past the grief stage of your breakup and you’re ready to see what might be next, it’s time to assess your relationship readiness.

Here are some things to ask yourself:

Have I taken enough time to be clear on what happened and have a more balanced view of responsibility?

If you move too rapidly to the next relationship, the odds that you’ve given ample time to reflect on the prior relationship are not great.  It’s important to consider the role you each played.  How did your partner behave in ways that didn’t create enough emotional safety?  What were your unmet needs?  What did you do that might have been a challenge?  Were the blips in the relationship addressed or was resentment allowed to build?  How did you both communicate about your feelings?  If you look closely enough, you likely will see how you both in some way contributed.  There are obviously exceptions to this, in outrageous scenarios where people have been totally blindsided, the other had a double life, etc.  Generally, two people in a relationship have their own roles even if one is more in your face and the other subtle.  It’s important to have some clarity around how the breakup came to be.

To be ready for your next relationship, make sure enough time has passed.

Do I feel secure in who I am individually and not motivated by the fear of being alone?

Sometimes a breakup can leave you feeling unsure, asking yourself what you did to make this happen.  Being self-reflective is important but if you are paralyzed by negative thoughts about your unlovability or fears of never finding love again to be forever alone, you may want to take a pause before looking for someone else.  Do the work of self-esteem and self-compassion building.  Remind yourself of your strengths and what you bring to a relationship.

To be ready for your next relationship, know your value.

Am I aware of the role of my family of origin or past experiences impact how I behave in relationships? 

We are all shaped by our histories with other relationships, particularly our earliest important connections in our family of origin.  What are your vulnerabilities?What triggers you and why?  If you understand this you’ll be better prepared to understand how you function in relationships.  Understanding this can also provide more clarity around the differences between your partner’s behavior and your stuff.

To be ready for your next relationship, be clear on your soft spots in relationships.

Do I deserve a healthy, loving and happy relationship?

Core beliefs about you and what you can expect from others are formed very early on, usually in the family of origin.  Messages can get reaffirmed in situations later; through adolescents and into adulthood via intimate relationships and even friendships.  What do you believe about what you deserve when it comes to relationships?  Do you expect to be treated well and are lovable?  Have you have been conditioned to expect little in a relationship or simply don’t deserve it?  This often is reflected in partner choices and problematic relationship patterns.  Negative beliefs about yourself or how others will treat you can sabotage your relationships, for example, feeling unlovable.  Family of Origin: Untangle Your Unhealthy Roots is a guide I wrote to help people understand the impact of their history and how to remove these obstacles.

To be ready for your next relationship, do some personal work, if needed.

Am I clear on what lessons I’m taking forward into the next relationship?

No matter what the situation, there are lessons to learn.  You would be very wise to be take stock of these lessons and apply them the next time.  This is an aspect of growth.  What can you do differently?  What red flags do you need to be mindful of?  What kind of person are you looking for?  What are you not?

To be ready for your next relationship, assess your learnings and apply them moving forward.

Getting over a breakup can be a painful part of life but there are many opportunities for growth as well.  Though it may not feel like it in the moment, stay the course as heal and take the time to be truly ready for your next relationship.  You have a great opportunity to not only find someone who is a better fit but be more emotionally available and a better version of yourself!

If you find yourself repeatedly making the same mistakes and getting into unhealthy relationships, you might find Break Your Unhealthy Relationship Patterns a good fit as it addresses family of origin and your past specifically as it relates to these challenges.

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Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT is the creator of LoveAndLifeToolbox.com with emotional and relationship health articles, guides, courses and other tools for individuals and couples. She is a frequent consultant for the media having appeared in CNN.com, HuffingtonPost.com, MensHealth.com and others. Lisa has a private practice in Marin County, CA and offers Emotional Health and Relationship Consultations via email, phone or video conference.