The time between our intimate relationships serves a purpose, other than just to be the few months (years?) we cry and wait for a new Adele release. You have to deprogram, detach, and ultimately accept that the future is not going to look the way we once thought it would. People with even a hint of self-awareness know themselves enough to realize that if they don't take an adequate amount of time, they'll end up just shifting that attachment to whatever new relationship rolls along. You know why people judge those who are always in back-to-back relationships? (It's not just because they're jealous.) They're also aware of the fact that it's the most unhealthy thing you can do to your psyche, and that it's a pretty essential sign that you're running away from feeling all those gross feelings of a breakup. But those feelings are crucial, and you can't ignore them away. You have to be able to process, mourn, grieve the loss of someone you thought you'd never lose.
Yet on the flip side, there are also some people who grieve just a bit too long, and mourn just a bit too much, and hold onto their pain long after they've resolved it. Sometimes you just as well need the push to realize that you actually are ready to get back out there and try again. You don't have to be perfect, you don't have to be completely certain, and you don't have to even be completely over your last partner! But here are a few things you should be able to check off on, as history repeats itself until the lesson is learned:
You May Not Prefer To Be Alone, But You're Certainly Not Afraid Of It
You're prepared (and willing!) to make the best of your time by yourself, even if in the long-run you'd prefer to be coupled, you don't need it in the way that indicates you desire it to give you something you cannot give yourself.
You May Not Be Completely Over Your Ex, But You Have Definitely Accepted That They Will No Longer Be In Your Life — At All
It takes a while to really mourn the loss of someone, and even longer if there's nothing else to distract you or replace that warm fuzzy feeling in your heart. So don't worry about whether or not you're over it completely, and focus on how much you've accepted that regardless, you're not going to be together. (It's people who are still holding onto their exes who shouldn't be dating ... )
You Know What You Want For Yourself
You're not looking for a partner to give you direction. You have reevaluated, soul-searched and took the necessary time to figure out what matters to you outside of your relationship.
You're Not Aggressively Seeking As Much As You Are Opening Your Mind And Heart To See What's Out There
Aggressive seeking = settling for someone just to get rid of your anxiety. Aggressive seeking = never good when it comes to love. (Save it for the job hunt.)
You Are Conscious Of What You've Learned From Your Last Relationship
You now have so much invaluable knowledge about what you want and need and can't tolerate, and you're aware of it enough that you can factor it into any new relationship.
If A New Partner Asked, You Could Talk About Your Ex Without (A Ton Of) Discomfort
Firstly, that indicates that it really doesn't matter to you that much anymore, and secondly, that's actually a very important practice for couples to do: talk about what worked in their past relationships and what didn't. Take notes for the current one you're in!
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