I suspect we all know people who simply have to be in a relationship. If one relationship ends they're immediately on the alert, desperately on the look out for the next person to fill the vacancy in their life. Is this okay or do you think there's something wrong with being so keen to fall in love?
Certain times of the year have the potential to be especially testing for single people; Christmas, Valentine's Day, birthdays, long weekends, events where couples are invited together can all accentuate the feeling of being alone and without a significant other.
– Some people don't feel complete unless they have a special someone in their lives, someone to look after, care for, think about. They may even experience a physical incompleteness when they're unpartnered, a deep emptiness inside, where their need to be needed defines who they are. Their relationship with their significant other gives meaning to their lives.
– But when a relationship ends it's often good to allow some time for the ‘dust to settle', to have a period of adjustment, reflection, even grieving, followed by recovery and healing taking place.
– Whatever the reason for the breakup there can be some benefit in taking time to mull over what went on, what went wrong, the lessons learned, and, importantly, what is wanted and not wanted from future relationships. It can be can be good to have some time to learn to cope alone, even if it feels strange or awkward. It's important to allow time for oneself, to learn from past experiences and commit to becoming reacquainted with who you are.
– Post breakup we can become so highly aware of what we don't want from our next relationship that we react by focusing on the desirability of traits and characteristics that are the exact opposite of what we've previously had and become blinded to other considerations, consequently noticing little else, good or bad, that fall outside of that criteria.
– Thus, having an ex who is highly organised, fit and sporty or a dedicated fashion follower might prompt us to react by seeking a new partner who is more casual and relaxed, the opposite of what we've grown away from, only to eventually become irritated at their apparent lack of care, realising that somewhere in-between is a good compromise.
– When we're too keen to fall in love it's tempting to see what we want to see, where we only notice the glossy packaging that's being presented. It can be seductive to blank out the occasional uneasy feelings and niggles, to justify or excuse their off-days, irritability or lack of motivation because we're so keen for this new relationship to work out.
– It's easy to forget that we're seeing the best version of someone at the beginning of a new relationship, the kind, friendly, eager to please person who may also be keen to fall in love. They're easy-going, happy to like the same things, are nice to our children, our elderly relatives, don't mind being inconvenienced if we change our plans.
– In the early days of a new relationship everyone's on their best behaviour, it's the honeymoon stage of the relationship. That's fine if we're able to enjoy it, but also appreciate that this is the time when we meet the best version of the person we're dating. Ultimately, at some point in the future it's only normal that things will go wrong, inconveniences and disagreements will arise and have to be dealt with.
– Relish the good times. but also keep a healthy perspective. Enjoy the buzz and excitement of getting to know someone new; the sexual chemistry, the flutter when you receive a text or are due to see them. But also be realistic and know that all relationships require work, tolerance and patience, plus a good sense of humour at times to succeed.
Start as you mean to go on and set good habits in place. Be clear about having some time for yourself, about maintaining existing friendships and interests, even if you choose to include them sometimes. Establish good channels of communication and discuss any ‘touchy subjects', issues or disagreements that may arise. Share your feelings and be prepared to compromise on occasion. Then being in love may well remain a wonderful part of your life.