After one year of being out of a serious relationship, I think I’m ready to love and be loved again. I just have a couple questions…:
- I’ve been really focusing on my family and friends, health and my travels that I haven’t had the time to sit and reflect about my previous relationship but I have genuinely been happy because of it. But lately, I find myself thinking about him a lot and I miss him. Am I taking a step backwards in my recovery process? How do I disassociate my past with him with my future relationships? Am I even ready to get myself hurt like this again?
- Due to difficulty of meeting people organically, I’ve been using Bumble but struggling to make that deeper connection. What can I do to cultivate deep and meaningful connections with others, especially in an age where virtual interactions often replace face-to-face encounters? Are there certain communities or platforms that have successfully created environments conducive to fostering genuine connections, and what lessons can I learn from their approaches?
Thank you for your letter.
It seems that you have been taking some much-needed time to cultivate relationships and focus on what makes you happy. It is wonderful to hear that you have been exploring the world, whilst also connecting with those around you. However, I wonder if you may have jumped on the road-to-happiness train at full speed and ignored certain feelings on your way there. Perhaps you purposely chose a direct train, in a bid to ignore all the emotional stops along the way. Not to worry, I am here to help.
You mentioned that since the breakup you haven’t had the time to reflect on everything that transpired. I question whether you’ve had the opportunity to grieve your ex and the relationship properly? You have to remember that your ex-partner was a big part of your life – you shared moments together, you laughed, you cried, you fought, you made up, so it is completely normal to miss him and/or the relationship at times. Perhaps it might be time to get off the train and take a look at your surroundings. I know it may be uncomfortable and at times painful, but it is important to let yourself feel in order to eventually be able to let go. Have you heard of the 5 (or 7) stages of grief? I believe that that they can be applied to any process we’re going through, including a breakup. Many individuals report going through several stages when grieving, so it might be helpful for you to have a look the model below.
When we don’t allow ourselves to grieve, we run the risk of letting our ex’s spectre haunt our dating life. We may compare our new love interests to them or may even sabotage new relationships. Being reintroduced to single-hood, after spending a significant amount of time in a romantic relationship, can certainly make us feel lost, perhaps even lonely. It’s great that you have surrounded yourself with loved ones, but maybe this can also be a time for you to reconnect with yourself and enjoy your own company. Love is risky – just like a rose it can enthrall you with its beauty yet hurt you with its sting. Unfortunately, only you can determine whether you’re ready to date again. If the thought of putting yourself out there is bringing up negative emotions, which overpower the positive, then it may be too soon to smell the roses.
Now, with regards to your second question: I must admit that I, too, have noticed the increased challenge of fostering an emotional connection with someone in this day and age. Unfortunately, many individuals on the apps do not take dating/relationships seriously and at times even lie about their intentions. So, where does that leave us? Well you might want to consider taking up a hobby or joining a club – not only will you be learning a new skill, as well as deriving some enjoyment from creative pursuits, but you’ll also meet new individuals. As you’ll probably encounter some of the same crowd on a weekly basis, it will facilitate the developing of a connection with someone. Having said all this, I would strongly recommend that you primarily focus on yourself, embark on a journey of self-discovery by dating YOU. What are your likes and dislikes? What do you like doing for fun? What are some areas of your life that you would like to work on? What are some of the things that you’ve always wanted to try but never got around doing? Remember you do not need a partner to make you happy, you can do that all on your own.
For more information/tips please click here or alternatively you may want to consider seeking for professional help.
I wish you all the best.
Dear Dania is for informational purposes only, Always seek the advice of a mental-health professional, or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. We may edit your letter for length and/or clarity.
*The author’s identifying details have been changed in order to protect their privacy.