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Dating After Mending: 5 Considerations When Beginning a New Relationship

Steven Losardo, MFT 

When beginning a new relationship, remember to consider your own character as well as theirs, and be aware that this new love interest has their own unique story. Keep in mind, too, that your prior experiences will not match theirs. Whatever your past history, however, whether you were burned in your past relationships, or you betrayed someone else, it is still possible to enter into a healthy new relationship. 

How will you know? Have a plan. Don’t rush it.

Taking it slow can assure that you are ready and won’t be carrying baggage from your previous relationship into the new one. It is easy to become carried away during the honeymoon phase, but your relationship will be healthier if you go slow and develop self-awareness in the process (Lewandowski, 2017; Sherman, 2013). Having a plan helps you avoid getting drawn into a relationship for the wrong reasons (Cloud, 2005; PsychCentral, 2021). 

Phase I (Cloud adapted 2005): Enjoy the excitement at the beginning, but also consider why you like the person

Having fun together is an essential part of a good relationship, and it is a key feature at the start (Cherry, 2020). However, you should consider why you are attracted to this person: Is it just because they are showing interest in you, or do they remind you of a former partner (Cherry, 2020)? Do you actually have common values, interests, and lifestyles? Does the person bring out the best in you, and vice versa? 

Phase II (Cloud adapted 2005):  Ask yourself if you are overvaluing appearance

When entering a new relationship, try to determine whether your physical attraction to the person is the only reason you are drawn to them. Physical attraction can wax and wane, but individual personalities are unlikely to change fundamentally. In the early stages of a relationship it is easy to overvalue personal appearance. Be honest with yourself to make sure you like the person for who they really are.  

Phase III (Cloud adapted 2006):  Become aware of how the new relationship is influencing you as a person

Before getting too involved, take time to reflect whether the relationship is allowing you to grow and learn about yourself in positive ways. Are you falling into unhealthy patterns similar to those in a previous relationship? Are friends and family noticing undesirable changes in you since the new relationship began? 

Phase IV (Cloud adapted 2006):  Each of you should be accountable

If problems are emerging in your relationship, you need to consider accountability. Are you causing the current relationship difficulties? What is the role you are playing? Or perhaps the other person is mainly the cause. Be honest with yourself, take responsibility for your own actions, and aim for clear communications. 

Phase V (Cloud adapted 2006):  Character counts more than anything else

The most important consideration in any relationship is character: Are they a good person who supports you emotionally and helps you grow? Or are they dragging you down, manipulating you, or being selfish? Look beyond simple physical attractiveness. But sometimes incompatibilities or deficits in a person’s character are too big an obstacle: if that’s the case, just realize it’s time to move on (PychCentral, 2021). If you maintain your personal and emotional integrity during a relationship, you will be better prepared to navigate the next one if that time comes.  

References

Cherry, K. (2020). How to know if you are in a healthy relationship. Retrieved from

         https://www.verywellmind.com/all-about-healthy-relationship-4774802

on June 30 2021.

Cloud. (2006). How to get a date worth keeping.  Zondervan.

PsychCentral (2021). 5 things not to do in your new relationship. Retrieved from

         https://psychcentral.com/blog/5-things-not-to-do-in-your-new-relationship#1 on June 30,

2021.

Sherman, J. (2014). Making relationships last past the honeymoon period

Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/ambigamy/201409/making- relationships-last-past-the-honeymoon-period on June 30, 2021.

Lewandowski, G. (2013). What physiological changes can explain the honeymoon phase of a relationship? Retrieved from

         https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-physiological-changes-can-explain

honeymoon-phase-relationship/ On June 30, 2021.

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