An honest dialogue about love, life, and everything in-between...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

You Asked, I Answered

Relationship Wrap-Up…

Q: After kicking dudes to the curb, when do you get to the point of evaluation? Are my standards to him or are these the frogs and my prince around the corner?

Let's tackle this question in the two parts it was asked in. First, 'after kicking dudes to the curb, when do you get to the point of evaluation?' (I'll address the second part in another post). I think that after the end of a relationship, emotions can be all over the place; especially depending on the reasons behind the breakup and the intensity and length of the relationship. So you first need to take some time for things to cool off and for your feelings to settle back to a 'normal' space. Then you should always do some type of evaluation or Relationship Wrap-Up. 

It's important to take a look at the relationship from the most objective space you can get yourself to before you start your evaluation. You need to be able to ask tough questions not only about the person you chose to be with, but also of yourself and your role in the problems the relationship faced.  

You need to evaluate every relationship for two reasons. 1) You need to be sure that you don't repeat old mistakes and 2) This will help provide you with some sense of closure. But if you do this Wrap-Up too soon after the break up your perspective will be skewed. You need to give yourself time to come out of it before you can objectively look back. That time can be different for everyone but you should always do this before a new relationship even starts to begin. 

Here are some questions I often ask myself:

1. Was this person good for me?
Outside of the things that made this relationship end, was this a good choice? Did they exhibit the qualities I know I'm looking for in a partner? Did they make me want to be a better person? Did they encourage me? Did they support my dreams? Were they caring? What attracted me to this person? etc.  Think of all the qualities you desire in a partner. And really focus in and think if this person was what you should have spent time on in the first place. You'll probably have some yes and no answers in this question. But the hope is to have more yays than nays. If the answers to your vital questions are favorable, then at least you can take away that you are at least able to attract the type of person you are 'looking' for. If the answers to those questions end up being no then you should ask yourself if those no's are deal breakers.

2. Am I displaying the qualities I am asking my partner to have?
This one is important for several reasons. You can't expect to get what you don't put out. If you're not hardworking and motivated, you can't expect someone who is focused and driven to be yours. If you're not spiritual, the person you attract may not be spiritual either. It's not to say that opposites don't attract. There are many occasions where we look for someone that exhibits the qualities we don't yet have, but desire to attain.  Or better yet, we look for someone that has the qualities that balance out our own.  Yin and Yang if you will. And there are several relationships that work that way. (As I'm writing this I'm realizing I'll have to go into detail on this in another post…but anyway). While there are many cases and situations where opposites attract, I am a firm believer in what you put out, you get back. So really look at yourself and be prepared to answer honestly. It's very hard to hold someone to standards you can't meet yourself.

3. What did I do to contribute to the end of the relationship?
There are quite a few occasions when the end of a relationship is not solely one person's fault. But regardless, relationships are two way streets. So even if the other person cheated on you or was terrible, you have to evaluate your role in all of this. What did you allow yourself to 'take' for the sake of being with that person? What did you 'allow' that was not acceptable? What did you or didn't you do to make the relationship better? Were you attentive to your partner's needs? Were you supportive? Were you trusting? Were you TOO trusting too soon? Were you moving too fast? Did you ignore some major red flags? etc. If you honestly answer these questions and you truly did nothing wrong, go back to question 1 and realize you're probably choosing the wrong type of person to spend your time with. And you really have to take a closer look at what attracted you to that person. If you found some flaws in your role as well, then good. You are now aware of some of the things you do that can hurt a relationship and in the future you can try not to repeat old bad habits.

4. What are my deal breakers now?
I'm sure by now we all know what deal breakers are in a relationship. Those are the qualities you just can't compromise on. Sometimes you don't know what a deal breaker for you is until you've been with somebody that exhibits the quality you don't (or do) care for. For me, after one of my relationships, I realized that education ended up being a deal breaker for me. I need to be with someone who has some type of higher level formal education. I didn't know it until I was with someone that didn't have any real type of higher level formal education. So after each relationship, look to see if there are any new deal breakers that came up. Do these trump your former deal breakers? Are your previous deal breakers still deal breakers?  

5. How can I avoid making the same mistakes in the future?
After all is looked at, you should have some answers to this last question. You've evaluated your ex-boo, you've evaluated yourself, you've evaluated the relationship and you should be able to come away with some good things and some bad things. You should have learned some lessons. Now you are aware of your behaviors, decision patterns and can try and use what you've learned in the next relationship. 

At the end of the Relationship Wrap-Up, there is one final thing that you should hope to be able to achieve: Closure. You should never attempt to enter into any new relationship with old open wounds. When you evaluate your old relationship, you should be able to find some peace within that ending and be ready to open yourself up to the new person who will enter your life.

After looking at these questions you should understand now why it's important to let the emotions from the last relationship cool off a bit before diving in. If you do this too soon, you won't find honest answers. And like I said, the timing of all of this truly depends on you and how long it takes to come back to a place of feeling 'normal' after a relationship has ended. So don't rush that process. Really allow yourself the time it takes to heal so to speak, before you move on. Otherwise instead of taking lessons learned into your next relationship, you'll just be carrying baggage.

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Professor Locs said...

Move over Dear Abby and make room for Dear Lea! Another great article and great advice!

I also love that you are writing more!

Miss_A said...

Thank you for all the support Professor Locs!