Let’s face it: most advice you read about breaking up and finding love again is geared mostly to women. That’s why I’m particularly open to various men’s views on the subject of relationships.
Being a man myself, this is what I know: breaking up is often both traumatic and confusing, and I routinely hear these queries from my male clients and friends, post-relationship:
“What do I do with myself now?”
“I can’t believe she left!”
“I thought she’d be with me forever.
“I’ll never fall in love again…”
Well, I’ve found, (including for myself), that most of us eventually learn to move on from a disastrous break-up.
With time, we usually get over the initial pangs of grief, and often come to a basic understanding of why our relationship didn’t work out.
The process may be painful as hell, but we endure it.
But finding love again can be a whole other story.
So, what can a guy do to prepare himself to find that new love?
Based on life experience and research, I’ve come up with a list, actually a little guide, for you battle-weary guys out there, on how to prepare for love again.
Ladies, please feel free to take notes!
1. Deal with the grief
Take the necessary time to deal with the grief of lost love.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, the brilliant grief expert, talked about the 5 Stages of Grief: Denial, Anger, Depression, Bargaining, and finally, Acceptance. (Shock and guilt were added later, more as dimensions than as predictable, orderly stages of grief.)
The point is, that when we can finally come to a place of true acceptance of the previous relationship, with all its ups and downs, emotional pain, and difficult ending, then we become more open and ready to love again.
But, until that acceptance actually happens, we’re probably not ready to enter into any new partnership – yet.
2. Partnership with self
A true partnership with ourselves (dare I say the gentle practice of self-love?) is usually the first step to heal our relationship wounds.
Too many of us just want to jump back on the horse and look outside ourselves for something, often a drug (or a woman), to fix our sadness, not to mention our broken egos—definitely not a good strategy, especially if we want future love success.
If we’re really honest with ourselves, sometimes we men need to turn our attention inward and work toward healing our fractured selves—that is, if we really want to love again.
I’ve written extensively about this idea of self-care, as it pertains to both sexes.
After a tough break-up, we need to take care of ourselves before we can even think about being present for another. And that means taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
In order to truly be ready for love, we have to be our own best friend, our own healthy best friend.
Simple idea, but it usually takes some dedicated work and deep self-searching – but always worth the effort.
4. Honesty with self and others
In order to let in new love, we have to practice, as the 12-Steppers would say, brutal honesty, especially if that old relationship involved a lot of lies and deception.
Now’s the time to keep it honest, to keep it real, especially with yourself.
If your goal is to love again, with “new and improved” communication, sincerity, and authenticity, then start being more honest with yourself and others.
In fact, strive for honesty in everything you do – that’s being a man! (Or a woman.)
5. Focus on self-improvement
Want to be ready for that new love?
Then do the work to improve yourself, in every way possible.
Make those life changes that will help you to become a happier and more loving person.
If you’re dissatisfied with the work you do, make a conscious decision to improve the situation or look for something better, something that truly resonates with your soul and leads to self-fulfillment.
Being of service to others also falls within the realm of self-growth.
Whether it means changing jobs, going back to school, moving away, serving others, or learning to take care of yourself better, always work towards self-improvement.
This move to self-growth may also include the difficult decision of when to end or begin a relationship.
Note: Self-improvement may involve seeking outside help for an inside problem. Rise above your male pride and seek out a counselor or some kind of support group – it’ll pay off.
6. Exercise empathy
Step outside yourself, to better understand life from another’s perspective.
Learn to view others through the lens of their own fears, hopes, and dreams.
See others as they really are, not as some “thing” or desired object, only to be used for personal gratification or some self-centered agenda.
Without the ability to truly empathize, healthy communication with your future partner will be close to impossible.
So exercise those empathy muscles now – you’ll need them.
7. Practice forgiveness
Have you forgiven your past love for things they might’ve done to hurt you?
Have you truly forgiven them for their lack of commitment and effort, those things that might’ve saved your relationship?
Are you still blaming them for what happened between you two?
More importantly, have you forgiven yourself for your part in the break-up?
Maybe it’s time for intentional acts of forgiveness, for your ex-partner, and for you.
This way, you can wipe your psychic slate clean and move on with your life – and a new love.
These are just some of the suggested ways to prepare yourself to love again, especially after a difficult romance – hope they help!
Not just for men
But, you know what? This isn’t just advice for men.
Like the Old Spice ad says, “It’s for girls, too!”
At the end of the day, its advice for anyone, man or woman, interested in loving and being loved again– at any stage of life.
What are some other ways to prepare yourself to love again after a traumatic relationship? Please leave your remarks in the comment section below. We appreciate your contributions!