Have you met a woman that is never single? You have never seen her without a man. The last time you saw her she showed up at the Christmas party with Bob, their arms intertwined tightly. They wouldn’t leave each other’s side the whole night. She seemed so happy; you even overheard her telling a few coworkers that he is The One, and she is so sure this time. She tells everyone about their plans for the future. She’s going on and on about how they plan to go away for a romantic vacation to Cancun in the summer. All day she talks about Bob’s occupation, hobbies and favorite T.V. show. She is so in love with Bob, that is all that she talks about. Hey, that’s love for you right? Well your bottom lips hits the floor when you see her a week later at the New Year’s party and she shows up with Steve. You think “What happened to Bob?” A month later she is so into Ron and three weeks after that she can’t get enough of Paul. It’s to the point that you are scared to speak to her boyfriend because you are afraid that you will call him the wrong name. You can’t keep her guys straight anymore and you wonder how she does.
I think we all have a friend or a coworker that seems to exhibit this behavior. It may even seem pretty appealing to you if you haven’t had a date since the winter formal. You might think she’s lucky that she always has someone. Well, I call this behavior “jumping” and it is not as appealing as it may seem. “Jumping” is when you go from relationship to relationship with little or no time between the two relationships. If this describes you or someone you know pay careful attention because “jumping” is not healthy for your relationship health. You need time to think and reflect on your past experience. This does not mean you have to play the entire relationship in your head like a broken record, analyzing every moment that you spent together. On the other extreme, you don’t want to be so busy trying to find your next date after the break up that you don’t take time to reflect. When you break up it usually hurts no matter what the reason. There is that feeling of loss and sometimes regret. You may wish that you did something differently or you may wish that he did some things differently. It hurts and you want to feel better. You may go to the grocery store and buy a gallon of rocky road ice cream, have a liquor fest or hit the club. Hey, I will even give you permission to throw a mini pity party. What I can’t condone is drowning your sorrows in the arms of another man. Don’t try to find another guy just so that you can try to get over the last guy. If you do this you will have a string of rebound relationships.
If you just ended a relationship then it’s time for some ME time. You need some time to “unpack and relax” from your last relationship.When you move to a new house from and old house you take time to unpack your things and settle in. You need to use the same method before moving on to a new relationship. The time that is needed for clarity and reflection is different, for each person but definitely needed. The time spent after a break up can be very enlightening and rewarding. You will learn new things about yourself and the things that you need in your next partner. Let’s explore a few examples. If you were previously dating a workaholic you may realize it is important to you to have someone who can take time away from work for you. This will help guide your choices in partner in your next relationship. You will probably learn that you need to steer clear of a guy that is a CEO with a 60 hour work week. You will probably be looking for someone who has a job that demands less of his time.
Learning about yourself will help you grow and help you to be better in your next relationship. If your behaviors led to the break up you should especially take note of the things that your former partner said caused the break up. If you called your last guy 30 times a day and sent him constant text messages, hopefully you will use this time to learn from your mistake. You should realize that your next guy is going to need some room to breathe and you need to limit the calls and text messages. WHATEVER the reason for the break up, there is something to be learned and it’s your job to find out what that is.
If you just got out of a year long relationship, you shouldn’t have a new boyfriend the next week. Your emotions will still be raw from your last relationship and you may be vulnerable. I mentioned earlier that the time needed for each person to be ready for the next relationship is different. My general recommendation for a good amount of time to remain single can be determined using the ten percent rule: Multiply the time you spent in the relationship by 10%. For example if you were together two years (24 months) than you should spend at least 2 1/2 months single. The longer you were in relationship the longer it will take you to “unpack” and learn from that experience. During this time I suggest that you think about what it is that you can do differently in your next relationship. You may not be the cause of the break up. Even if you were not the problem you can still learn a lot. For instance he could have cheated on you. You may learn from this experience to trust your gut feelings. Usually when a guy cheats on us we have a feeling in the pit of our stomach which we sometimes choose to ignore. You will know if you get that feeling again that you should pay it close attention.
Take charge of your emotional and relationship health and time for yourself. Reflect on your relationship and rediscover yourself. This is a great time to catch up with friends and rediscover your hobbies and passions. Don’t spend this time sad and moping around; realize that you are that much closer to finding the person who is right for you. Remember you might have to kiss a few frogs before you find your Prince.