So many people place value on the lessons learned from their previous relationships. Though they do hold significance, the time in-between relationships is arguably more important. How you react to your relationships helps form the way you will go into relationships in the future. This reaction is only seen in the time between relationships, and not taking advantage of this valuable learning experience can end up hurting you in the long run. Rather than looking at what was wrong in the relationship itself, you can now look inwards and think solely about how you are handling the aftermath. Taking the time to do the internal work so that you can recognize your boundaries, limits, wants and needs is more important than we give credit for.
Everybody reacts to breaking up differently. Some people jump right into another relationship, some people sulk and some people try to block it out. However you are reacting, even if it isn’t in one of the ways I mentioned, figuring out why you are reacting in such a way will help you better understand yourself. What actions lead you to react in the way you are? How are you when you are single? What parts of yourself changed while being in the relationship? How did that person change your viewpoints? Were these changes for the better? Moving forward, what do you think you will need from a partner? What aspects of yourself would you like to work on? All of these questions and many others will help to make you recognize what internal work you should be doing before going into another relationship. Otherwise, you will be doomed to repeat the same patterns over and over again.
You should also be using this time to deepen your relationship with yourself. The better you understand yourself, the better you can communicate what you need to your future partners. Moreover, it will help you to better find what you’re looking for in a partner. For example, I have learned that negativity is something I cannot do in my relationships. I don’t react well to negative comments as they tend to bring me down. So, going forward, I have made a commitment to myself to not be placed in a situation that I know will make me unhappy. Thereby, positivity and a positive outlook on life are something I now look for in my partners. If I didn’t take the time to self-reflect, I would have never learned that this was something I truly needed. Understanding your limits, needs, wants and boundaries will help you be more successful in your future relationships. You can grow as a person and find someone who is meeting you at your new level of self-understanding, as opposed to finding a replacement for the person you lost. This will ensure that with each and every new relationship, you are moving forward rather than being stuck in an insufferable loop.
The time spent in-between your relationships can be more telling than the actual relationship itself. It’s a great time to practice mindfulness, growth and self-understanding. Furthermore, it’s a great opportunity to reconnect with yourself. Just as you should always be working on your relationships with others, it’s just as important to work on your relationship with yourself.