Before I even consider getting into another relationship, I’m taking stock of what’s going on in my head. What are my patterns? What hasn’t worked for me in the past? What are my strengths? I’m asking myself these questions and working through them so that I can be a happy individual and also an awesome person to date. Perhaps asking yourself these questions might help you too.
What are my patterns?
What are those behaviors that I tend to repeat over and over again? Well, some of my patterns are choosing people who are unavailable in some way, moving too quickly physically and emotionally, and things ending prematurely. These are the behaviors that keep playing out again and again. I need to start to change some of these patterns. Where do I begin? Well, let’s answer some more questions.
What hasn’t worked for me in the past?
Some of these patterns of mine have gotten me in trouble. For example, moving too quickly/sleeping with someone soon after I meet them has never served me well. It’s something I’d like to stop doing because it really only causes more trouble than good.
What are my fears?
Well, I have a lot of them. Fear of abandonment, not being good enough, being found out (what if they find out I’m a phony, loser, or weirdo?!), and rejection. These are all very real and they plague me. By acknowledging them. I can meet them head-on and make a game plan to deal with them. Like, I’m going to call a friend first when I’m feeling like I’m going to be abandoned before I have a freakout with the person I’m dating.
What am I still holding onto from my past?
Are there relationships/people that I haven’t quite let go of yet? It’s time to dig into this stuff and release it. I think I’m still holding onto some sadness that it didn’t work out with one person and even holding out a little bit of hope that it might work out in the future. This is not at all helpful if I’m trying to move onto bigger and better things.
What are my healthy desires?
This isn’t just an inventory of all the things that are wrong with me, there are lots of good things, too. I have desires that are healthy, not just ones that are toxic. Some healthy desires are to be in partnership with another person, to have a committed monogamous relationship, and to respect someone else deeply as well as keep respect for myself.
What are my strengths?
What am I good at? Well, I’m a straight shooter when it comes to communication. I’m no BS. I also have a lot to offer, I’m a really great person (not to toot my own horn- beep beep). Further, I’m committed to creating a healthy partnership with someone else. I’m invested and I’m available. These are all assets of mine that I have to keep in mind when I’m looking over everything about me.
What boundaries do I need to set?
Since I want to move slowly I need to make that clear to whoever I’m dating. It may just happen naturally if we don’t go to each other’s houses on the first however many dates. Though when the topic does come up, I can be clear about my desire to wait a bit. Additionally, I might need to set a boundary about things like how much I’m available, which might only be once or twice a week.
What are some non-negotiables for me?
Red flags are really important. If I ignore them then things are sure to blow up in my face. If I just pay attention to what are non-negotiables for me, then I’m going to have better luck landing someone who’s actually a healthy fit. So, some examples are they can’t be a weed smoker, they have to be monogamous, and prospective dates have to be a feminist or at least be very open to it.
How will I balance life and dating?
I ask myself this because I’ve had a hard time in the past with throwing things aside in life to just spend time with whoever I’m dating. I want to make sure I keep up my commitments as well as make time for the person who I’m dating. I just have to have a clear intention to do this and maybe get some friends involved to keep me accountable.
What healthy patterns do I see in others that I want to grow towards?
I have some great role models around me, friends who have healthy relationships that I aspire towards. Some of these traits I see in my friend are setting healthy boundaries, forgiveness, inability to put up with crap, and willingness to work through tough things. My friends inspire me to take these lessons and apply them to my own future relationships.
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