Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us and even though I am now happily married and thoroughly enjoy the holiday (as contrived and overly commercialized as it may be), I remember those years when Valentine’s Day made me want to scream. I remember my senior year of college when my long-time boyfriend and I had broken up and all of my sorority sisters were receiving beautiful bouquets and stuffed animals and all I got was…well, let’s be honest here, all I got was drunk.
Since that day all those years ago, I’ve experienced some pretty decent Valentine’s Days but I’ve also experienced the post-divorce loneliness of wondering if I would ever enjoy a happy Valentine’s Day again.
Thankfully, I no longer have to worry about that. My first marriage may have been a disaster but I didn’t let the trauma from that experience prevent me from finding love again. It might not be easy, but becoming romantically fulfilled again after a devastating loss (be it divorce, break-up or even death) absolutely is possible.
If you think that you are ready to test the waters and explore the possibility of discovering love again, here are a few tips that can help you in your pursuit.
7 Fab-YOU-lous Tips for Finding Love…again
1.) Stabilize your life. Loss is hard. Even if the loss was necessary (as in my case–I needed to divorce my first husband in order to preserve my sanity) it can still leave you reeling. Experiencing the death of your loved one is particularly devestating. Don’t event think of entering into another romantic relationship until you’ve had the time and taken the steps to heal yourself both mentally and physically. Let yourself grieve, seek the help of a therapist–do whatever you need to do to get yourself back on stable ground. It is impossible to make appropriate judgements and decisions while in an unhealthy state. Save yourself and your potential partner a lot of heartache by making sure that you are emotionally and physically healthy enough to enter back into a romantic partnership.
2.) Enjoy what you’ve got. There are a lot worse things in life than being single…trust me– A LOT worse. Rather than focusing on what you preceive to be lacking in your life, shift your attention to all of the amazing things that are currently present in your life. Do you have amazing kids? If so, love them! Do you enjoy good health? If so, be grateful! Do you have friends and family members who love and support you? If so, you are more fortunate than you realize. By showing gratitude for the incredible blessings in our lives, we not only feel better about ourselves and our circumstances; we also open ourselves up to receive even more blessings.
3.) Understand that rebounding is great in basketball–but not so much in love. Heading from one romantic relationship straight into another can be a recipe for disaster and disillusionment. Too often, a failed relationship leaves us feeling emotionally beat up and our self esteem takes a hit. Jumping headfirst into another relationship might provide a temporary boost to our self confidence, but rarely will it result in long-term love and commitment. Rather than trying to get over one relationship by hurrying into another, try instead to allow yourself enough time to recuperate from your loss. This will make it possible for you to move into another relationship from a place of strength and wholeness rather than from desperation.
4.) Be willing to be vulnerable. This one is particularly hard for me. I tend to be one of those people who likes to keep my heart closed off rather than allowing someone else the opportunity to break it. This might sound like a good defense mechanism but in reality, it makes it difficult for me to truly connect with others on a deep, emotional level. In order to really find true love again, it is vital that you get to a place where you can feel good about opening yourself up and giving love away without the expectation of receiving it in return. This isn’t easy because it requires a tremendous amount of self-confidence in one’s ability to handle possible rejection. However; the ability to be vulnerable with another person is a key component to any lasting relationship so it is something that must be mastered if you want to find real and lasting love.
5.) Apply the “Butterfly Effect” to your love life. The Butterfly Effect simple states that if you find yourself in a meadow filled with butterflies flitting all around you, you will have much greater success at attracting the butterflies to you if you sit still and allow them to land on you than you will if you go running through the meadow with a net trying to snare the butterflies. When applied to your love life, this principle simply means that having patience and allowing relationships to happen and develop naturally will lead to greater success than chasing after them with frantic and hurried desperation. Be patient and be still…eventually the right butterfly will land on you.
6.) Look for love in the right way and the right places. Your next true love most likely will be someone who shares your interests (it’s hard to cultivate a lasting relationship with someone with whom you have nothing in common) so it only makes sense that your best way of findng that person is to develop your own interests. Whether you enjoy camping, kayaking, break dancing (do people still do that?) or poetry slams–your best bet for finding love is to keep doing those things that you love to do. While you are participating in these activities, be open to meeting others who are also enjoying them. You’ll exude happiness because you are doing something that you enjoy and that happiness might just attract another fellow break dancer who turns out to be the love of your life.
7.) Remember that actions always trump words. People can say anything but behavior is what reveals true character. People are who they are. Thinking that you can change someone into something other than what they are will only lead to frustration and heartache. When looking for love, remember that behavior is the true litmus test of whether or not a relationship has potential. Pervasive characteristics (those recurring patterns of thought and behavior that guide actions) matter. Don’t believe someone who tells you that they are a great catch until their actions show you that they are a great catch.
The bottom line is, don’t despair if you haven’t found “the one” before February 14th rolls around. Instead, head out for drinks with some of your single friends and celebrate “GALentine’s Day” or schedule a day of pampering for yourself at a local spa. When you are truly ready for love, it will find you. Just keep these seven tips in mind as you open yourself up to the FabYOUlous possibilities.