The 3 essential lessons to learn before dating again


Dating lessons

Are you ready to start dating again? Before you jump right back in, take some time to see if you’ve learned Rebecca Perkins’ 3 essential lessons

There’s a whole raft of things that it’s important to have learned and digested before you’re ready to date again. Perhaps you’ve come out of a marriage or long-term relationship; you’ve grieved its ending and now feel that you’re ready. But before you jump into signing up online, have you considered these 3 essentials?

Have you cleaned up your past?
It’s vital to have grieved the ending of a relationship, even if it was one that you ended. You may well be feeling relieved that it’s final over, but don’t be in a rush to jump straight into the next one. We all have baggage; it’s the nature of the human condition. Some of us have spent time unpacking the great big 25kg suitcase we’re lugging around with us, and believe me; you don’t want to be taking that into a new relationship.

There is such value in cleaning up, understanding where things went wrong, what part you may have played in it, and what lessons you’ve learned about yourself. You may find it helpful to talk it through with a counsellor or a coach to get a better understanding of yourself. Time spent unpacking the baggage and being honest with yourself will stand you in good stead for future relationships. Wouldn’t it be nicer, and a whole lot easier, to take a small rucksack rather than a weighting suitcase into your new relationship?

Do you know your values and have boundaries in place?
Do you know what your values are? I like to think of my values as my North Star. Knowing what’s important to you in life is vital before you start dating again. Let’s say that having good manners is a value of yours; if your date is consistently late, slurps his soup, or shows little respect to the coffee shop barista, then that’s going to be a problem for you, however wonderful he seemed in his profile. Boundaries relate to, and go hand in hand with, our values. We usually think of the need to set boundaries when we’re parenting. However, boundaries are all about our own self-respect and are just as important in our other relationship, at work and play. You’ll find people who are comfortable in their own skin and have a strong sense of self also have strong boundaries in place and know what their values are.

Are you comfortable with who you are?
By the time we’ve reached midlife many of us have become comfortable with who we are; we know what makes us tick and what we won’t put up with. It’s also about self-worth and, my favourite, self-love. It’s not that we’re stuck in our way; it’s just that we feel at ease with the person we’ve become. Until we’re comfortable on our own, until we understand and appreciate that our happiness does not depend on another person, we won’t find true peace and balance.

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