Getting ready to be part of a new relationship isn’t an easy step. It’s not something you should dive into on a whim. It’s a commitment to another human being, and it could seriously rearrange your life, schedule, and social calendar. The more serious it is, the more it can change you- whether you like it or not. Some could find it difficult to even want getting started in any of that. The idea of new love is strange, foreign, and unwanted. And yet, a tiny part of you still craves it. It’s definitely not an easy thing to understand. If any part of you- however small it may be- wants to start dating again, there are different ways to get into that. Here are some things that either could change or should change when you decide that you’re ready for a new love in your life.
Being single, you’ve gotten used to taking care of yourself. You know exactly how much you eat in a week, and have no problem grocery shopping by yourself. You keep track of the toilet paper supply, make sure the sink isn’t (often) full of dirty dishes, and your phone is always within reach. But if you want to start a relationship, many of those things can change. Not right away, but down the line. You got so good at being single, and it can be a bit strange to add another person into that mix when you find new love. Maybe your new person will eat half of your food, but then offer to go grocery shopping with you to replenish your supplies. Maybe they’ll cause your toilet paper to be depleted faster which could cause unhappy surprises in the bathroom. Maybe they’ll distract you so much that you forget where on earth you could have left your phone. It’s just all part of the dynamic. You have to prepare yourself for sharing yourself, and that means all of yourself.
Secrets exist for a reason. Maybe they’re naughty, embarrassing, traumatic, or heartbreaking. And not everyone deserves to know those unsavory details. But when you start dating someone, you could start wondering whether you should tell them your secrets. There is no easy answer to this. If you’ve only been dating for a short bit, you may want to hold off on the skeletons in the closet. But if it starts getting serious, and you worry that something pertaining to your secret could come up, maybe you should tell them. For instance, if you struggle with a mental illness that you aren’t exactly proud of, and it causes you to get anxious and claustrophobic in social settings, that could affect your person. They deserve to know. If they don’t know, they can’t help you. ( Side Note**this is not something you tell them on a first, second, or even third date). It may not be the most fun thing to tell them, but just remember that nobody is perfect. Chances are that they have just as many flaws as you, if not more. New love means that you are willing to look at each other’s flaws, study them if you will, and accept them overall. If you trust your person, they should be privy to your secrets. However, if you are still working on that trust stuff, there is no hurry. You should wait until you are comfortable with them and around them until you spill the beans.
You’ve been hurt in the past, and you have baggage. But everyone in our generation does. We have been through the borderline nonexistence of technology, up to the point where it is the cause for people meeting, dating, and falling in love (looking at you, Match.com and Tinder). And regardless if you met your previous loves at school, online, or through friends, they affect different parts of you. Which is normal. The love we feel for others was one thing ten years ago than it is now. It grows, changes, and evolves. As do we with it. The love you felt for your first real love in high school is staggeringly different than the love you feel as you look into your partner’s eyes now. Yet your first love can sometimes still haunt you. What are they doing? Who are they with? Are they happy? Why couldn’t we have stayed happy together? Just don’t let these thoughts overcrowd your mind when you meet a new love. Try to stay present. It can be difficult, but it’s worth it. If you are stuck in the past and “what if”, then you’ll risk taking what is right in front of you for granted. And when you talk about hurt, that hurts. There’s nothing worse than being taken for granted. The past should be honored, but moved on from. Especially when it comes to old love.
I went to a school with a girl who used to always self-sabotage her relationships. She wouldn’t mean to do it. Her parents were recently divorced, and it messed up her idea of what “forever” with someone actually meant. She would try to gauge how long her relationships would last. Being stuck in the future, she would ignore the present. All of her relationships ended, as high school relationships tend to do. But they didn’t have to be as short-lived as they were. She tainted the relationship with her assumptions, and pushed those she dated away. They could feel her hesitation. In turn, it made them hesitate. And eventually leave. This only strengthened her thought that “nothing lasts forever” and it was a vicious cycle. You don’t have to be a dating coach to know that this kind of thing is unhealthy. When you are in a relationship, focus on what you have and how you can make it work. If you find out early on that you have too many differences that would not be able to survive long term, then break it off. But if everything is going smoothly, don’t try to focus on tiny inconsistencies or the thought that you might end up breaking up one day. If anything, that could choke the life out of the relationship and make it last even shorter. Enjoy what you have. When you find new love, don’t push them away.
The one thing that should not change about you, is that you should always trust your gut. If something doesn’t seem right or feel right at the beginning, bail. If you start to see obvious red flags, get out of there. Don’t stay in a relationship that does not feel right. But rather than just passively pushing them away, actively leave them. Do not stay. Sleeping alone is never fun, but if it’s with someone who doesn’t appreciate and love you for everything that you are, it is not worth it.
Being single can be freeing. It makes you stronger, more independent, and more certain of what you can handle on your own. It’s practically a learned skill, just like anything else useful and beneficial in life. Being in a relationship just requires a slightly different skillset. You’ll wake up and no longer only have one schedule running through your head but two. Extra coffee is made in the morning. There are even more pairs of sunglasses to be lost and misplaced. Being single is fun and all, but things start getting a whole lot more interesting when you start sharing your life and heart with a whole new person. -Love is a truly wonderful thing.