I’m regularly told by readers, that after being involved in various dubious relationships, they’re not sure what to expect from a new relationship. How should it feel? What does it look like? What am I looking out for? How do I know if it feels good? I know what’s bad now but what’s good?
A few years back I wrote my rough guide to a new relationship and I figured that it’s time to update. I can’t tell you how you should ‘feel’ – what I will tell you though is for you to enjoy the relationship and give it a good chance of prospering, make sure you do some prep work before hand.
1. Over the ex. It’s b*llshit when they say that the best way to get over someone is to get on top of someone else. If you’re still emotionally attached, whether it’s that you’re mooning over them in private secretly hoping for him/her to come back, or you’re ranting and calling them a $@%!%! at every opportunity, talking about them constantly and yada, yada, I’d spare someone else the trouble of being with you. If you’re still obsessing or spending a heavy amount of emotional energy on an ex, a new relationship is not for you and it’s unfair to the other person for you to become involved with them.
2. Boundaries. Yep, you knew it’d be here. Be aware of what you will and won’t accept before you get involved with someone. Boundaries are at your core; they represent your values and they also help you to process what is happening and give you cues and clues as to whether you should halt at a code red or amber alert, or pass go. Bearing in mind you’ve experienced enough pain already, you now have awareness of what does and doesn’t work for you. Be aware of what red flags are.
3. Get your emotional baggage down to hand baggage quantities. Look let’s be real– everyone has issues, even the ones that say they don’t. That’s life. But if you are carrying baggage that impacts on your ability to 1) have boundaries, 2) have self-love, and 3) recognise when you are and aren’t being treated with love, care, trust, and respect, you are impacting on your ability to actually enjoy and progress the relationship and potentially lining you up for more pain. You’ll also be drawn to people that have waaaay too much emotional baggage that weighs down your emotional plane.
4. Trust and faith. You need to first and foremost be able to trust yourself through your gut and instincts. You need to have faith in you that you will do right by you, even if it means turning down someone who has the appearance of being great but is crossing your boundaries. You also need to have faith in other people’s actions so that you don’t tar everyone with the same brush and go into relationships with a reasonable level of trust. Trust in yourself means that you’ll be able to differentiate between ‘love’, fear, pain, and drama. Also trust your positive voice instead of your negative one.
5. Personal security. This is a lot to do with the preceding 3 factors. As humans when we get into relationships, we place a high value on personal security. If you don’t value yourself, have an inclination to morph to suit relationships, and tend to make people the focal point of your life and energies, you convey a message that you are not personally secure and may come across as emotionally demanding. This means having a reasonable level of self-esteem and your own life, desires, and interests – being your authentic self.
6. Being positive. You don’t need to be a happy clapper but you do need to have positive beliefs about yourself, love, and relationships, and if you don’t, address your beliefs so that you don’t go out there conflicted. Read my post positive woman, positive relationship.
Once you’re in a relationship….
You have to go in with a healthy level of trust. In being involved with them, you’ll get a series of mental checks and balances that tell you whether your trust is well placed, or whether there are reasons to be cautious and potentially opt out.
The mistake a lot of people make is to either go in with little trust and so end up unwittingly sabotaging their own opportunities, or trust so blindly that even in the face of clear behaviour that shows that the trust is unfounded, they won’t shift their perspective because they’d rather not trust themselves. As the relationship progresses, note the things that show that you are being treated with love, care, trust, and respect, and let those increase your trust.
Embrace the possibility of a new relationship, enjoy it, and put both of your feet in. People who have a foot out, or just a toe in the relationship are uncommitted. If you’re uncommitted, your actions will stem from it. Don’t be constantly looking over your shoulder for an ex or ‘other options’. If you have commitment issues, trust me when I say you will create problems and will be conflicted, potentially looking for reasons for it not to work, to be alone, or to even return to your ex… Relationships need two committed parties.
Does it feel unfamiliar? If you have habitually been involved in dubious relationships and what you’re experiencing feels ‘familiar’, I’d take that as a warning sign that you may be potentially involved with someone that’s catering to your patterns.
Is the drama minimal? Look, sometimes things happen, but if there is a lot of drama going on between you both, I would question whether things are healthy. By the same token, don’t try and wreck things because there isn’t any drama, by creating your own!
Actions match their words. People that you have a better chance of progressing a relationship with are people that consistently follow up words with actions. They mean what they say, and do what they say they will and when they don’t, they have enough integrity to feel bad about it and seek to rectify the situation.
Can you forget about your relationship past with them? Often you’ll find that if you’re really enjoying the relationship and are happy, you won’t have the time to be worrying about exes – they can often fade into the distance with many of the things you may not have recognised about them suddenly in sharp focus because you realise what you are getting in this new relationship.
Be calm and enjoy the inner calm. Tempting as it may be to get them to swear with their pinky finger or write an oath in blood about what they will and won’t do to you, this can give the impression of you being emotionally demanding, which may turn them off you and create the wrong impression. People who are in good relationships recognise the inner calm from ‘vibrating’ with someone who is on their wavelength in a positive emotional connection. This is a lot better than feeling jittery, scared, or even excited by the ‘turmoil’ of people that tend to vibrate with negative beliefs that you may hold.
You might be scared but you’ll feel the fear and proceed on anyway. I know from personal experience how it can almost seem too good to be true or you can find yourself looking for a catch, but when you’re in a decent relationship with a decent person feeling a decent level of self-love and personal security, even though you feel scared sometimes, the lack of drama and recognition of the good things in your relationship and how good you feel, will mean that your desire to embrace the new relationship will override the fear. You’ll also tend to find that your fears change. Rather than them being centred in turmoil within or recognition of crap behaviour on the other party and secretly knowing you’re dining off illusions, it’s knowing that you feel good in the reality and not wanting it to end or to be proved wrong.
Back in part two