Taking advantage of the time between relationships.

It’s common knowledge in many circles that after breaking up from a significant relationship, it’s good to take some time before jumping into another one.

Even though this is true, it’s not always the easiest thing to do. After having lived with someone for a period of time — even if there was lots of conflict, it can be hard to be alone. Some people, when they’re involved in an intimate relationship, don’t nurture their other friendships, so they don’t have a lot of people to talk to and support them once their partner is gone. If you’re the type of person who’s habit is to quickly find a new partner or do a lot of dating after a break up, it will seem natural to want to do that once your partner is gone. Feeling someone being attracted to you can be very alluring — especially if your self-esteem has been battered through the latter stages of a terminal relationship!

So, why not do that? Why not go out and receive the comfort that is available for you? There are a lot of reasons that people make this choice, but generally they fall under the two headings of recuperation or integration.

When a person is heading towards a break-up and they are considering taking time off before getting involved again, it is frequently because they are so torn up emotionally that they can’t bear the thought of getting involved with someone again. It’s just too painful. These people will need some time to nurse their wounds, take some time for themselves and generally let some time go by before returning to the dating scene.

The integrators will take time off is because they recognize that they have had their own part to play in the ongoing battles they were experiencing in the relationship. They want to take some time to understand this more fully so they don’t go out and create the same situation again.

There is one idea floating around therapy and relationship communities that without conscious growth in how you relate to another person, you will just keep attracting “mom” or “dad”, over and over again. There is truth to this, because our relationship templates are formed based on our initial relationships with (usually) the opposite sex parent. Therefore, there is a certain comfort and familiarity with someone who reminds us of the initial bond we had with that parent.

There is another dynamic however, that I’ve seen in my own experience and that of many clients, whereby, even if you attract someone who is different from your parent in lots of yummy ways, deeper conditioning can arise, that causes similar conflicts to show up in the new relationship. For instance, if you’re carrying a belief that tells you that any partner will hurt you or in other ways take advantage of you, then once the romance wears off, fairly innocuous things that your partner says will be interpreted in that way and the fight will be on again. Another example would be if you grew up in a family where your needs were less important than those of your parents, or worse yet, if they used you to meet their needs, it’s likely you’ll have trouble in this arena. It may be difficult for you to communicate your needs clearly and you may wind up being resentful that your partner isn’t reading your mind and meeting your needs. This is all quite unconscious, and becoming conscious of it can be a difficult and painful process — especially without some help.

There are a number of factors that can support the likelihood of success if you do decide to take time off before seeking your next partner. One is to know clearly what benefits you could expect from taking that time:

-It allows you to organize and integrate the information you’ve learned about yourself from the       relationship and the break-up.

-If it wasn’t your idea for the relationship to end, taking time allows the anger at your partner to subside and also for any shame or embarrassment you’re feeling to get healed up. This will help you put your best side out to any new perspective partners.

– It gives you time to appreciate the ways that you’ve changed since the last time you started a relationship. Some of this can be a matter of aging or being in a different developmental place than before. If you have children, they may also have moved into a different developmental place, or moved out of the house altogether and this puts you in a very different place.

-Taking this time for integration and appreciating yourself for where you’re at puts you in a much better place to choose a partner who clearly reflects who you are TODAY, rather than some older version of yourself.

To enhance the likelihood of the break leading to a positive experience with your next partner, it also is important what you do during the time off.

During that time you want to pursue your own interests. You may want to become politically active. You may want to take a dance or writing or jewelry class. You may want to go back to school and study that thing you’ve always been interested in. The value of this is that if you’re actively engaged in the things you’re interested in NOW, then you’re going to meet people who have similar interests. Having those things in common will be a great foundation for getting to know that person in a gradual way that supports deeper aspects of yourself surfacing if you do decide to pursue a relationship together.

In addition to this new level of interest in activities and past-times, you may have determined that you have deeper interests that have emerged over the years. Your spiritual side may now be asking you to join a religious group (or leave one!) or take a yoga class, or actually get some training in meditation. Perhaps you’ve been hearing about men’s or women’s support groups for years and you decide that now is the time to join one. Therapy groups can be extremely valuable during this time if you find one that you resonate with. This gives you the added advantage of being with other people who are going through a similar journey. Seeing the similarity of their struggles can be extremely validating. Having a facilitator who can help members access and bring forward the deeper emotional material can help you come into familiarity with it much sooner and speed up your pace of healing and developing self-knowledge.

There are so many reasons why people come together and there are just as many reasons why they come apart. All life is for learning and we can learn and grow through both the times of togetherness and separation. The ideas in this short essay were presented to support you in growing both while you’re in a pause from relationship, but also, to come out of that pause with a good possibility of having an even better experience in your next relationships. If you want further help in sorting this out, please feel free to contact me and we’ll see what we can do!












This entry was posted on Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 at 7:54 pm and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


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