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How to Love Again..and Again
We've all been there. We've experienced a horrible end to a (seemingly) perfect relationship and felt like our lives as we knew them had ended. We were convinced the love we lost could never be replaced and we felt eternally jaded. We tried everything to keep them but our best was simply not good enough and now the person we picked out baby names with is gone forever. So what do you do? You mope around for a while like there's a huge dark rain cloud over your head- and sometimes there is. But after a while, you realize that maybe that person really isn't all they were cracked up to be. Maybe you deserve to be happy again. Maybe a special person has come around that's making you consider giving love a shot again. But is it worth it? All the vulnerability and emotional risk. You decide that it is-this person deserves a fair chance and you do too. But now there are even more questions- "How do I love again?" "What if I can't?" "What does it even look like?" and "What if I get hurt again?" - All very valid questions. Read on to get some (hopefully) helpful answers.
Step 1. Go Back
This may sound counterproductive but hear me out. You don't want to enter a new relationship drowning in a bunch of baggage. It's not fair to your or your potential singinficant other. Therefore, it's your job to go back and process through your past love. Remember the good and the bad...and the ugly. See that person for what they truly are and remove them from the pedestal in your heart. Do your best to understand why it ended the way it did and find closure. If you are unable to do so, simply accept it for what it is and leave it there-in the past. Realize that no one else is your past love and that can be both a good thing or a bad thing. If you are still carrying residual feelings for the person, you may be disappointed that you can't be with them again or find a 99% replica-this means you're not ready to enter anything new yet. It's also a good thing though, because, if that person hurt you and the relationship ended badly, you are now able to give new admirers the full chance they deserve without assuming they will hurt you too. Which brings us to Step 2.
Step 2. Let Your Guard Down
It's easy and almost second-nature to be hesistant to try this love thing again, but you have to. It's not fair to your new person to constantly have to try and convince you that they're not going to hurt you like the last person did. During the time you are trying to grow closer together and consider a relationship, you should be doing your best to invest into this fresh opportunity instead of constantly doubting this person. This can make them defensive and jealous because they'll feel like they're constantly competing with the ghost of your ex since he/she is clearly still on your mind. If you have truly let go, you will be able to open your heart again and trust this new person not to break it. Don't be so scared and guarded that you don't even give yourself the chance to love again.Learn to trust again. Believe that love can last, again. And believe that you deserve it.
Step 3. Stop Comparing
It's natural to compare and contrast past and present love situations. Sometimes, it happens without you being conscious of it and that's okay. However, if you find yourself constantly comparing your new other to someone from your past, you need to reevaluate some things. Comparing is not going to get you anywhere. 1. It's bad that your past is STILL on your mind. 2. If your new person is doing/not doing something you liked/disliked about your ex, you may find yourself secretly trying to manipluate them into changing to suit you better. 3. Your aspiring other will probably figure out somewhere along the way that you are comparing them to others which can cause them a lot of pain and is simply unfair. It's not their job to measure up to what you had before and they shouldn't feel like they have to in order to be what you need. Make peace with what was and look forward to what can be..if you'd only let it.
Step 4. Get New Glasses
Look at this new opportunity with fresh eyes. What I mean by that is do not use your past love as a ruler for what all your subsequent loves should look or feel like. Though it is true that there are some concrete aspects that should be a part of every relationship, specific attributes of one person should not be requirements for the next one. Each relationship will have its own original feelings and experiences because they're with a different person. How you feel with one person isn't necessarily going to be how you feel with another. Each person you love, you will love differently. For example, some have that honeymoon-chick flick kind of love. Others have the more solid, companionship type of love. Still others might have the childlike-playful kind of love. None of these are any less valid than the other- just simply different. So don't think that your current relationship is doomed simply because it isn't what you may be used to- Judge this new person by who they are and that alone.
Step 5. Have Fun!
Falling in love is an awesome journey-enjoy it. Each time is a completely scary, hard, and absolutely beautiful experience. Learn the new facets of this person. See what they're passionate about, what makes them angry, and how much they can add to your life. Give love a chance again. A real chance. And enjoy the ride-Wherever it takes you.