I had been married for eight years.  After my divorce, I dated and had a few serious relationships. As a result, I learned from each one. Being at different stages in my life, I was learning what it takes to keep a relationship going. After each relationship ended I took the time to reflect on what happened. I would often ask myself…

What do I want to learn from [this] particular relationship?

One of the biggest lessons I learned is that jumping into another relationship doesn’t give me the time to heal and would only be covering up hurt and pain. Similarly, many people shared that they wished they didn’t jump right into another relationship and had used the time off to bandage old wounds.

Taking time to be alone and learn who you are, is a valuable tool many single people do not use.

The number ONE thing is to Be Happy with yourself first. 

If you haven’t taken the time to be by yourself, and live without a significant other for about sixth months to a year — you may never know what makes you happy. This is because you are constantly emotionally distracted by the amount of focus it takes to maintain your relationship (and another person), instead of focusing on learning yourself.

Read: Forgiveness or Nah – Photo Credit: Lachlan Donald

Furthermore, looking for another person to make you happy is an errand that only leads down the road to pain, resentment, and disappointment. We have to enjoy our own company and become content with time by ourselves. As a result, the work you did during your time-off not only benefits you but also the new person who comes into your life.  For this reason, the new person only adds to the happiness you already have.

It takes TWO to make it happen.

Communication is vital in any relationship and a passive-aggressive approach is not very productive. If there is something on your mind, say it! Otherwise, it will fester and come out at the wrong time (or the wrong way).

My ex-husband used to say to me…

I don’t have a crystal ball to read your mind.

To be fair, he was right. No one is a mind reader.  Just ask the other person what you want to know, and work together on a viable solution that is beneficial to your relationship.

Three’s a crowd

When you have been married or in a relationship, you should be very meticulous about soliciting an outside source for advice. Especially someone of the opposite sex. Consequently, this may cause unnecessary tension in your relationship.

Given that information, a professional who deals with relationships is who you should consider. They are trained to handle unique situations with an unbiased approach. Staying away from people who have ulterior motives, bad advice and a lack of experience is a prudent move.

Four ways to have fun!

Don’t forget to have fun in your relationship. Remember back when your relationship began. You did fun things! Take the time to go out on a date or getaway for a weekend. If you have children they may be the focus. However, when they grow up and leave home, it will be the two of you again. Always making time for each other is very important even when children are present. As a matter of fact, carve out time just for the two of you. Hire a sitter or a family member to watch the kids while you have a date night.

Make sure you never neglect each other and always be thankful for the value the other person adds to your life. Additionally, be creative and think outside the box when planning time together. It’s as simple as going for a walk or hike. Rid yourselves of technology and focus 100% of your time and energy on each other.

The Fifth and Last

The Five Love Languages. (By Gary Chapman)

What are the five love languages? If you have not been introduced to this book yet — I highly recommend it. It speaks to the way you receive love vs the way your partner wants to give love to you.  It gives them direction and understanding when it comes to loving you.

My top two love languages are — words of affirmations and quality time. Once you know what your love language is (and your partner’s), it will make communication much easier so your relationship does more than maintain — it can flourish!