Breaking out as a newly single person can be an exciting time, especially if you’re emerging from a stale or unhappy relationship. Flying solo after a long period as the other half in a partnership requires a change in perspective, plenty of patience and a large dose of courage, but there’s no reason to worry. You have the chance to make a whole new start, becoming refreshed and reinvigorated and ready to take on whatever might come your way.
The opportunities for adventure, meeting new people and making new friends are almost limitless when you’ve left a relationship that’s going nowhere, but it’s important to make sure that you really have left the past behind before embarking on the next phase of your life. And that means being certain that you are over your ex. Dating other people when your ex still looms large in your life or in your mind simply isn’t being fair to yourself, or to any potential partners.
Even if the break-up was at your instigation or came as no surprise, it can be understandably difficult to leave a failed relationship in the past, especially if you were married, or lived together as de factos for a long period of time. That person was an integral part of your life, a friend, lover and confidant, and they can often prove to be a hard habit to break – even if your split was less than amiable.
So how do you walk through the doorway of a new life without that emotional baggage slowing you down? One of the most crucial things to do is to drastically limit any contact with your ex. Don’t feel tempted to call or email them to see how they are doing, and don’t return their messages if they try to do the same to you. Ideally you want to have no contact at all, but that can be impractical sometimes – especially if there are children involved, in which case you should restrict any conversations to matters concerning the kids and nothing else. Whatever you do, don’t try to support each other through the break-up – making it clean and final might seem harsh, but it’s the best thing for both of you.
Nostalgia can be a powerful thing and not always in a positive way, so gather up any photographs, along with any possessions or mementos that might remind you of your relationship, throw them in a box, seal it and put it away somewhere – the back of a cupboard or in the attic is a great place. The same applies to any hang-out spots you and your ex might have had. Steer clear of that special restaurant or favourite nightclub and start looking for new venues in which to spend your time.
Do a friend audit. If many of your friends are actually your ex’s friends or people you both used to socialise with, it might be wise to give them a wide berth and concentrate on those buddies who are exclusively yours. While you’re at it, build yourself a support network of people you know and trust who can share your burden, offer a shoulder to cry on when things get tough and keep you distracted with loads of fun activities.
No matter how intense that old relationship was, and how painful the break-up might have been, remember that time heals all wounds. Stay strong and adopt these few simple techniques and you’ll find the healing process happens so much quicker than you could have imaged. Before long, you’ll be ready and raring to get back into the dating scene.
Dave Steffens is a professional dating webmaster who runs www.datingonlinecanada.ca. His site is one of the great free dating sites in Canada, providing insightful dating advice and singles chat rooms for men and women.