Starting a new relationship can be a little tricky to navigate, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve had to “get to know” someone else. I’ve had several conversations with people who have found themselves back in the dating game after divorce and many of them have expressed how much harder it is this time around. Although I definitely agree that it is harder, I also think that we need to do a much better job of not bringing our old relationships into our new ones.
It all boils down to two main things: self-awareness in relationships and developing healthy boundaries in relationships. After taking the time to sit with my thoughts to pinpoint what causes a lot of new relationships to crumble before they even get started, I came up with a few tips for dating someone new. Note that all of these things require that you do the necessary inner work. This is how you hold up your end of the relationship.
Here are the 3 ways to ensure you start your new relationship on the right foot.
1. Erase your expectations
Expectations require communication. You can’t expect people to read your mind or to already know the trauma you’ve experienced in other relationships. You have to look at each relationship and individual as their own thing, completely separate from what you’ve experienced before. So, leave those expectations like “you expect that they’ll feed you, pay for everything, or be like your last significant other” at the door. You have to give the new relationship a chance. Maybe the expectations that you had in your previous relationship aren’t necessary for this one.
“If you’re expecting something in this relationship that happened to you in the last relationship by someone else, you’re dragging it with you. Check those shackles.”
It’s encouraged to set healthy boundaries and have standards. The difference between an expectation and a boundary is communication. When you don’t communicate your expectations (which are essentially assumptions) you end up with a cracked foundation filled with layers of resentment putty.
2. Dump your demands at the door
This isn’t a dictatorship. Let’s be clear: there’s a difference between a demand and an expectation. Demands are statements you blatantly say out loud like “You have to prepare all the meals” and they usually come with too much attitude. Of course, we all have demands, however, what we’re not going to do is put those demands on the next person we date without their consent. Once you’ve reached that level in your relationship, (you’ll know when it’s time), both parties need to sit down and discuss their demands/deal-breakers and make sure they work for both people in the relationship. Listen, compromise is your friend. Don’t be demanding—it’s the perfect environment for resentment and a plethora of other issues to form.
3. Expunge your entitlement.
They don’t owe you sh*t. The truth is, entitlement is something we can’t all see that we have. Most of the time, it has to be pointed out and brought to our attention. Now the personal growth only happens when accountability and self-awareness intersect (that’s a whole other blog). Entitlement looks like “I was expecting this” or “I thought I should have this.” The best dating advice I can give you is— “it’s not always about you.” When you come to terms with this, there’s a lot of things that will no longer phase you, which means they will no longer have the power to create stress and tension in your life.
If you can just start with these 3 things— and remember they all have to deal with you, so the ball is in your court— then you can at least have somewhat of a clean slate when you get started in your new relationship. A clean slate comes with an open mind and an open heart, which is the perfect recipe for amazing opportunities.
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