by Anne Berkley
Complete 15 list guide available in our Summer Issue of She's SINGLE Magazine.
The only way to have a successful relationship is to have a keen sense of self. As women, it is easy to become lost in your relationship or eclipsed by your significant other. But how can you handle this?
It is never a good idea to immediately go from one relationship to the next. While this maybe tempting—given it may present itself as a temporary solution to what is inevitably a long-term issue--rebounding is a sure-fire way to find yourself in a catastrophic nightmare. So, when can you look to begin dating again, “Getting back to dating is appropriate when you are ready to meet someone new without bringing the old person with you into that relationship,” says couples counselor Raffi Bilek. “If going out to dinner is going to reduce you to tears because of all the good times you had going out with your ex, you’re not ready yet. That’s not to say you won’t still feel sad or regretful from time to time; but if it is still overwhelming you emotionally, hold off for now until you can bring your whole self to a new relationship.” That’s where She’s SINGLE comes in, we’re teaching women the importance of self-love and self-assessment to generate self-awareness. We cannot hope to find Mr. Right, if we are still Mrs. Wrong.
1. Date Yourself: Hello Saturday night! A nice dinner by candlelight will help set the mood whilst out on the town with the most important person in your life; you. As women it is easy to lose focus and at times re-centering becomes a necessity. We are natural nurturers which means, when we love, our loved ones can take precedence over our lives. But when you’re single and trying to figure things out, stop for a moment and learn to appreciate yourself. Treat yourself to a day at the spa, enjoy living alone and curling up in the couch on a Friday night with a nice glass of wine. When you date yourself, you’re getting to know who you really are and this helps when setting standards. When you know you, you are more likely to have a better grasp of who you choose to allow into your life; whether it be a significant other or even a friend. Not to mention, we love a bachelorette who isn’t afraid to step out on her own. Movie date anyone?
2. Love Smart, Love Independently: Learning to love with your mind before your heart can be tricky especially when we feel we’ve met the one person who’s checked off every box on our list. But while this may be an exciting time in finding new love, it can also be time to take caution. Loving smart means learning to value your friendship over your relationship with a significant other. A healthy way of getting back into the game is to no longer put the pressures of commitment on yourself, or him/her. We want to allow people their freedom, because let’s face it, before reentering the dating pool you had your freedom and of course, you loved it! Loving independently means understanding that men, unlike women do not like to feel suffocated. “Women love in the presence of a man, while men love in the absence of a woman,” comes a quote from the self-help book, Love Smart, Love Independently. “People are not objects and cannot be controlled. When we love independently, we allow one another breathing room for independent growth which in turn encourages unity.”
3. Flaw Identification: The imposition of perfection is a turn off for almost any human being. While many of us want to believe we are perfect, there is a very high chance, this is a fallacy. With that being said, accountability plays a huge role in having a successful relationship right alongside communication. Boundaries are also a key component in understanding that sometimes something may be off-putting to our significant other, potential beau or spouse and this is okay! Communicate through it and when reentering the dating pool, don’t be afraid to take constructive criticism and listen keenly to the needs and wants of your partner. Submission is never a bad thing, however, there are almost always red flags of when this can be taken too far. But since you’ve been single, you’re stronger, wiser and of course, independent so walking away from anything that doesn’t meet your standards of quality is not a problem! But remember our flaws make us unique
4. Do a Self-Assessment: Sure, it can be daunting to think back on all those sly and unfavorable comments made by friends—both old and new—about your personality that maybe now you wish you had taken heed. At times we are quick to get on the defense when we feel a mild case of character assassination approaching or has begun to leave the station altogether. Granted, maybe some of those comments were made out of anger, but ever hear the saying, “People tell you the truth when they’re mad”? Surely, at times it is safe practice not to take some grueling comments at face value, but then what happens when some traits begin spilling over into your intimate relationship? If you’ve heard it more than once, then it is most likely true and now, during your time as a single, independent woman, you must conduct a self-assessment. Think about how you may have reacted in past situations you could perceive as belligerent or pestering, work on that. First things first though, you have to step away from denial and say hello to confirmation.
5. Learn Better Ways to Communicate: We’re all guilty of this one major flaw! We lack the ability to effectively communicate with our significant others. Especially in the technology age where text messaging has taken precedence over face to face communication. If this was an issue in your past relationship, it is prudent to consider heavily working on improving this characteristic before heading out into the dating pool. While many men are not effective communicators, honing this ability for yourself will assist you in being assertive and cutting your loses far before you begin wasting your time. A few suggestions on how to improve your method of communication is to listen to yourself speak, don’t beat around the bush, ask for clarification on anything you do not understand before jumping to conclusions, eye contact and speaking with enthusiasm.