It becomes apparent when you are alone again, after the failure of some relationship, that you’ve got to do things differently. It’s not “next time” that requires the attention, it’s right now. At this moment, you’ve got to check in with your single self and figure out what drives your desires, your motivations, and your blindsides.
Learning To Love Again Starts With Me
I’m lying here in bed with a wonderful cat who has adopted me. I’m thinking about going out for a TexMex breakfast. This is one of my favorite things to do. Even during covid, it’s possible to eat outside and enjoy a sweet plate of migas and some good conversation with friends. And this morning, as I go around the horn of friends to see who I’d like to invite or entice to breakfast, I notice that my choices are vast, but my desire for connection is more particular.
There are a number of options that “could” work and could meet some of my needs for community and conversation, but… I’d rather be alone when I think about calling a number of them. I am better off alone right now. I could meet some needs, but I’m more interested in dialing in what MY NEEDS are right now. And this, for me, usually happens when I’m alone. Even alone in a restaurant. I’m in community, but I’m opting out of the conversations.
Finding My Center Alone
You know how when you leave a relationship and for weeks and maybe months you question, “Did I do the right thing?” Maybe I should reach out and check-in, you think. And the answer is no. Moving on requires that you begin to get those connection needs met by someone else. It is important for me to understand that falling back into an old habit, an old pattern, going to the fallback position is not going to work for me. I’m headed up and out. I’ve left the partnership because I was not getting my needs met in some fundamental way. Full stop.
As we move into and out of relationships, seeking the lasting love we long for, it is critical to get “the lesson” from each failure. Evolve by using the pain and loneliness to explore what’s hurt inside of yourself. There is no relationship that’s going to heal my fears of abandonment. There is no lover who’s going to soothe my current state of unrest and resetting. I have to reset and recommit to my goals and my aspirations, here and now, alone.
Often, we lean into the feelings too much. And get this, feelings lie. I may be feeling a deep longing for my former lover, but that is not a good choice for me. The brokenness of the past relationships will not miraculously heal into the relationships of the future.
The Relationship of the Future
It’s hard saying goodbye. It’s hard being alone. It’s hard stopping the quest for love long enough to listen to your own pain, your own desires, and your own conditions of satisfaction for the next relationship. But what is clear to me now: going backward is not the way forward. Being alone, sitting with myself, and finding my center again, is the real goal of this reset.
As I project how I see the relationship of the future, I also have to understand what each of my desires is plugging into about my own brokenhearted past. What NEEDS do I have that are UNFULFILLED childhood needs?
The relationship of the future:
- will choose me over most other activities and obligations
- will check with me in the process of making plans, not afterward
- will continually evolve and grow
- will use emotionally-intelligent communications and behaviors to establish trust and inclusion
- will always keep the best interest of the relationship in mind and make corrections and modifications when the relationship is threatened (by both outside forces and inside traumas)
- will take ownership of their own journey of healing
- will adore me in both UP states and DOWN states (this is the creative cycle)
- will have passions of their own, that I can support and join
- will use joy as a force for affection and healing
- will lean into the emotional core of the relationship and express their feelings and needs clearly
- will honor my requests for modification and boundaries as I honor theirs
- will shoot for the moon with me (emotionally, physically, spiritually)
A Rainy Saturday Morning
This morning I am going to love myself completely. I am nurturing myself in the way I’d like to be nurtured. I’m gaining love and self-confidence from the warmth of a cat beside me. This morning I am happy. I’m still feeling the loss and departure of former lovers, but I’m aware that my ache is more about my big goal: finding the BIG LOVE of my life.
And, of course, that’s going to take some time. Time for me to relearn to love myself with the same passion and energy I’d HOPE to bring to my next relationship. I’ve got all the time I need. I’m certain of it. And each time I strive towards a lover and a lifetime partner, I open my heart in a new way with a new resolve to be the best partner and lover I can be. Until I find the woman who can push back completely into my love hurricane and match it with a tsunami of their own, I’m going to keep seeking.
Love is indeed a spiritual quest. I’m up for the climb.
As a certified life coach, I’ve been helping men and women find lives after divorce. If you’d like to chat for 30-minutes about your dating/relationship challenges, I always give the first 30-session away for free. LEARN ABOUT COACHING WITH JOHN. There are no obligations to continue. But I get excited every time I talk to someone new. I can offer new perspectives and experiences from my post-divorce journey. Most of all, I can offer hope.
- The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
- Braving the Wilderness – Brené Brown
- Single Dad Seeks: Dating Again After Divorce – John McElhenney
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