Nearly all of us have bounced back from bad breakups or decided to date again after a death or divorce. Reentering the dating scene is just a natural part of growing into our emotional maturity. Some of us, however, make recovering our love lives much harder than it should be. We run after romance because we think we should, and not because we're ready. Sound familiar? Here's a list of a dozen other ways you can potentially sabotage your starting-over process.
1. Being too picky
While it's important to make sure that your potential partner shares your values, don't make your checklist of desirable qualities too long. Becoming overly protective of your heart may make you overly judgmental, ultimately disqualifying quality suitors.
2. Associating dating with sex
Because she worries that she'll be pressured into intimacy, a woman is likely to avoid the situation completely. Pearl of wisdom: Date around, don't sleep around. Avoid the fear of getting hurt by saying no to sex, not to dating.
3. Glorifying the past
Quit comparing each new romantic opportunity to someone in your past. Your past partner wasn't perfect; otherwise, you'd still be together.
4. Grieving, grieving, and grieving some more
It's healthy to mourn the loss of relationship. But holding onto your pain too long only keeps you safe- and alone.
5. Not giving ourselves permission to love again
When your partner's passed away, opening yourself to the possibility of happiness may feel like you're betraying a sacred trust. You eventually have to recognize, though, that letting go does not make you stop loving him or her; instead, it frees you from your grief so you're finally able to feel the love again.
6. Sleeping around
You may try to fill the void left by a breakup by seeking fleeting intimacy outside yourself. Remind yourself that you're merely repairing low self-esteem caused by rejection or lack of affection.
7. Expecting immediate passion
If you're expecting the earth to shake as soon as you meet someone, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. In fact, a red flag should wave when if you do feel intense attraction right away. You could be responding to your idea of what someone's like - not the reality.
8. Maintaining unrealistic expectations or over-romanticizing
Thanks to box office moneymakers and randy romance novels, you might get the idea that your true love will come knocking at your door. The truth is you need to be an active participant in making your dreams come true.
9. Attracting the wrong type
Holding on to unresolved hurt from past relationships? Bad idea: You'll only attracts people to repeat the pattern.
10. Focusing on the negative
By floundering in negative feelings and pondering the pain of past relationships, you can convince yourself not to bother trying again.
11. Becoming overly self-sufficient
When you start sending out the message that you don't need anyone in your life, you sabotaging your ability to attract a match. Having needs is not the same as being needy.
12. Taking on too much
Losing yourself in taking care of others and putting the needs of your family before your own are additional ways you can close off availability.
Getting started is the most important part of starting over. Move forward with careful thought and understanding of what you need. Realize that the mistakes and losses of the past are actually badges of wisdom to carry into your new life.
Geesh, sure this isn't a twelve step program? Glad I moved on from #9 and #10, but I'm afraid I may be the epitome of #11 and #12. Not that one self-help article can define my love life.....