A better love life.
Married, divorced, or single, our lives are defined by our real love life. Of course, romantic love is only one of the many ways we love, but somehow it takes centerstage more often, so read on and let’s figure this out. When I was divorced and newly single, I thought I was lonely for romantic companionship, so I dated. Most people do, not unusual. Ultimately though, I just created more issues for myself. In fact, I got myself entangled in other people’s issues. So much drama there in those early relationships.
Deep down, I wanted a better love life. So, after another breakup, I took some time for myself to think and journal, eliminate some obligations, and really think about what I wanted and why. While healing, if I wanted a change, then I needed to stop and understand myself, define what I really wanted.
What kind of love life was I really looking for? Ask yourself that same question.
What kind of love life are you looking for?
Because of my early relationships full of drama, I figured out that one of the reasons I chose my husband initially (when I was young) is that we did not create drama together. So, I filed that away in my mind. Any guy with constant family drama, moral drama, or job drama was not for me. My life had a lot of trauma early on and I need someone steady and even, so that I did not spin out myself. It became a smart boundary. I was seventeen the first time I figured this out, but later in life after divorce, I had forgotten this important lesson.
What kind of lessons did you learn in your early relationships? Ask yourself what mistakes you made early on and what kind of love life better suits you?
If you don’t know yourself, you will not find happiness with someone else until you can truly answer this question.
Not what other people think you should like or what Hollywood pushes, but what kind of day to day makes you happy? Do you know how you want to live? How you want to be treated?
Furthermore, you might realize the problem is not really your romantic love life. Is it that you are unhappy in general? Or just bad at choosing partners? Do you feel bad about yourself? Are you in a bad relationship? Do you have unfulfilled dreams?
Your love life starts with how you feel about yourself. Then grows with the understanding of what you need at the core in a relationship.
So first, define the real issue holding your love life back.
I would stop and pray here as well. Sometimes we don’t realize what the real problem is in our particular love life. Maybe most people don’t think about these things in an analytical way, but if you are not happy in love, then maybe you should give it a try. Do you keep picking the same kind of person or keep ending up in the same situation? Do you keep ending up in the same place with your spouse or partner? Define the real issue.
Then, verbalize the ultimate goal.
Is it a relationship, a better relationship, or a better self image that you need? Why do you feel unsatisfied or unfulfilled? Do you need a better relationship with God, your kids, yourself? Whatever you come up with, it starts with you.
I started with: No drama. I wanted someone who could talk things out without anger or throwing a fit. Someone who had a good relationship with their family, an adult.
Wherever you find yourself in relationship land, let’s take stock. Single, divorced, or married, the goals are the same.
Next, it didn’t take me long to see that my gut feelings or early gut checks were usually good ones and that I needed to trust my gut. (Trust Your Gut)
When you meet someone or walk into a situation, you get a check in your gut. If someone is not honest or if they are not FOR YOU you probably feel it early on. Maybe not immediately, but it will come up. Think back on your biggest mistakes and someone pointing out the probable issues or feeling uncomfortable about something. Trust the warning.
You may not trust it or acknowledge it, but most people come with a warning label. We just don’t remember it until we are devastated by their behavior.
However, the lesson I needed most to learn to improve my love life was that I needed many more boundaries in ALL my relationships. (You get what you allow.)
For instance, it is okay to restrict access and save time for myself.
In the beginning of being single again, I had not found a way to protect that I truly appreciated being alone sometimes. As the wife of a military pilot, I was used to long hours, sometimes weeks or months on my own. I learned to appreciate solitude. Not everyone needs solitude. It is a personality thing. If you expect others to accept your personal requirements for sanity, also accept other people will have different requirements for sanity.
As a writer, I allow myself to restrict access, so I can write, especially right now.
Working on a book requires concentration and too much outside stuff makes it difficult to write. Also, I have given myself permission to not spend time on the phone when it is such a chore, but I occasionally make the effort since there are some valued people in my life who have that need. Texting, calling, letters, cards, family milestones, and holiday gatherings are the ways we connect. But, each of us have different levels and prefer different methods to connect.
Another boundary I had to establish is that I didn’t need to put up with critical people if I had not asked them for advice. I am not only allowed to, but needed to definitively put distance between myself and the big critics in my life.
I tend to be open, an honest communicator, and black and white. Since I work daily on getting to the heart of matters, it surprises me that most people keep their thoughts, feelings, and personal beliefs so hidden. As a writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about what I believe and why. Pretty much any subject gets analyzed in order for me to discuss it, so being in touch with myself in vital.
Over time though, I have learned to keep a smaller circle of trust. With privacy, good judgement, and confidence in mind, I don’t share my personal life with anyone outside of my small circle anymore. Another lesson learned.
People may not realize they should not share everything about your life, so make sure your people are trustworthy. I gave people ammunition to shoot me down by sharing my own mistakes and failures. In fact, I was so open, people used me against me. I am still open, but I write about it and what I have learned, give my deep thoughts context, so people do not misunderstand.
It takes courage to accept yourself. However, it takes more courage to change what is not working, and line up your personal actions with your core beliefs.
I love to remind people to “Be yourself, own your beliefs, know why you believe them. If you find your beliefs and actions don’t line up, make a change.” You can’t stand for something when you don’t know why you believe it.
In hindsight, we can save ourselves a lot of heartache by choosing well. you will choose better if you recognize what doesn’t work for you.
In relationships, when I am in, I am truly in, and that scares people. Especially someone who is not ready for that themselves or maybe doesn’t know themselves very well. I learned to recognize those who were not ready for the type of relationship I was looking for and to end anything not genuine. This difficult lesson took years to learn.
Finally, if you are with a cheater, a moocher, or an abuser, end it and give yourself the gift of self respect. (When it is something serious that harms you or your children, get help. You are not alone, no matter how it feels. Someone will help you if you communicate with the right person.)
Married, divorced, single, or widowed, every relationship starts with the one you have with yourself, your God, and your family. Get those in order and love will find you.
Barefoot and writing,
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