3 Rules for your First Date after a Bad Breakup

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Lakshmi Rebecca is a filmmaker, anchor and vlogger. She runs India’s first award-winning Youtube channel, is a travel vlogger, runs an audio podcast series called India Startup Chat and blogs about life. She is single girl and a creative entrepreneur. Check out her work at www.lakshmirebecca.com
We all know it: life after a heart-break; after the one love you felt meant the world to you, suddenly picked up and walked away or you walked away from because there just didn’t seem a way together. Was it Carrie in ‘Sex and the City’ who said that it takes half as long as you’ve been in a relationship to get over it? I think sometimes it takes much longer. My first love took me over three years to get over, and we’d only known each other a year before we broke up. Ten years later, I still wonder if I have completely forgiven him for the way he broke up with me… you see, sometimes it is not the letting go of love that is difficult, but getting over being let down or letting someone down. Some wounds run deep. In any case, time and life heal one. And the first date after a bad breakup happens. And you hope that this time you’ll be making better choices, saying better things, and doing things in a much better way. So, here are three basic rules to help you go out and truly enjoy your first date after a bad breakup, and possibly set the tone for a wonderful second.
1. Ask Yourself This First
Are you Ready? Yes, whether it’s been 180 days of 18 months, it doesn’t matter. This is one question you need to have a crystal clear answer to. “Are You Ready?”
When you interact with available men / women, do you – at the first hint of getting to know someone a little – start to feel that you miss your ex, start to talk about your ex and generally relive moments with your ex? If your answer is “Yes”, then you are simply not ready. You need to either get back together with your ex or at least have a face to face talk and see if there is still potential where your heart and hope are. But if your answer is ‘No’, then you’ve moved on! You are ready for the next real deal.
2. This is a Whole New Game
It’s simple enough to read that statement above and understand it, isn’t it? But this statement is often very hard to put into practice. It is so tempting when on that first date you are sitting across from the possibly nice new girl or guy and mentally comparing this person with our ex. This comparison game could begin in many ways and in various situations, but each time it rears its ugly face in your head you need to stamp on it! It doesn’t matter if you are comparing clothing styles or the way they pronounce ‘tomato’. Please! Stop! This new person is a whole new ballgame. Nothing old here (unless you are dating the twin and there’s a lot of shared context between the two people in question). This new person comes with their own experiences, personality, choices, reactions, tastes and more. Do not try things you did with the ex because they oh-so-totally-worked back then. Blinkers off. See this new person for who he or she is. Good, bad, blah or wonderfully made for you.
3. Keep it Easy
It is not easy to go from being married or almost married, to being completely single and seeking to be in a meaningful relationship again. Often one has a strong desire to just get back to where one stepped off on that road. And with this new date, you may begin by projecting your unfulfilled dreams on this new person without really listening to what they are saying. You can easily interpret their “May be I would like kids one day” as being similar to this sentence in your head, which is “I had planned to have my first child next year”. You may also interpret “I don’t eat ice creams everyday!” as “I’m a very health-conscious person like you / your ex”. Go back and read those two pairs of statements again: those are very different sentences in the same context, those are very different intents with similar hopes. So, keep an open mind. Keep it easy for yourself and the other person. Expect nothing and take no pressure. Enjoy this first post-breakup date and every date afterwards for what each of them really are. May be you’ll just make a great friend in one, may be you’ll meet someone you won’t really grow to like for another 10 years, may be you will discover that someone you met is just not ready yet, or may be you just want to meet a few more people before you really know who you would like to go on a romantic fifth date with.
A fresh start is a beautiful thing. Happy first date again!
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