The Lost Art of Serious Relationships: It’s Too Easy to Meet New People in Today’s World

Let’s face it, the dating world today isn’t what it used to be. With all of the social networking and online dating sites out there, finding a partner has become too easy. So instead of taking the time to really get to know somebody, everyone is too busy expecting the next, better option to come along. It’s part of the instant gratification culture – put in little to no effort and the perfect partner will just fall into your lap.

Dating apps give us the illusion of choice.

You probably have more access to dating websites and apps than social networking sites. In fact, the last relationship advice you received was probably to open an account with an online dating site. When you wake up in the morning, you check your calendar, check your messages, and check your dating account.

This easy access to potential romantic partners is a problem. Why? Because it gives you the illusion of choice. How many potential dating matches do you see in a day, or even in an hour? Hundreds! And how easy is it to swipe right on by their picture and keep looking for another, better option?

Finding a significant other is not supposed to be easy.

Too many times I hear people criticize potential romantic partners that they’ve found on a dating app. “He has no motivation.” “I don’t like her personality.” “He seems too immature.” You can’t decide these things about somebody you have never met.

Take this relationship advice: you will never find someone who is a 100% match for you. That person doesn’t exist and finding them is not what falling in love and having a long-term relationship is about. It’s about finding somebody who is not exactly like you, loving them anyway, and learning to grow with them. Finding a life partner is not supposed to be a simple task; it takes effort and dedication.

You cannot just be yourself.

Being confident in who you are and what you want in life is a good thing. Deciding that everything about you is enough for a relationship and that you don’t need to change for everything to go well is not a good thing. The worst relationship advice you could ever listen to is to “just be yourself”.

It’s true to a certain degree that you should just be who you are with no dishonesty and pretending. Too often, however, people think this relationship advice means they never have to change and that simply isn’t true.

It takes compromise.

Long term relationships are all about change. You can’t expect to be with somebody for the rest of your life and that neither one of you will ever change. Each person in a relationship has to put in some effort. Effort to get to know each other, effort to understand each other’s likes and dislikes, and effort to make compromises.

Unwillingness to compromise means you won’t find a lifelong partner. If you want to share your life with another person, you have to be ready and willing to accept change. Making a lifelong commitment to another person isn’t about giving up when things seem difficult or when you have to change something about yourself. It isn’t taking a chance on the next best person to come across your computer or phone screen, either.

You don’t have to lower your standards.

Accepting this relationship advice doesn’t mean you have to lower your standards. It just means you have to be open to making changes in life and adapting to the wants and needs of another person. Because in a relationship, it’s about the happiness of two people.

Compromise, change, and adaptation means giving up that weekend spa getaway to go see the movie they’re really excited about. It means picking up the shoes they forgot to put away for the millionth time because they’re really exhausted from work. It means staying in for the night when your partner is sick.

You do these things because you are concerned for the happiness, well-being, and growth of your partner. And they do the same for you.

Don’t be tricked by the seemingly endless supply of available partners. Finding and keeping a serious relationship isn’t as easy as scrolling through a list of pictures. It takes much more effort than that.

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You Never Really Lose a Friend, You Only Cut Meaningless Connections

Do you ever sit back and think about your old high school friends or that kid you used to play with next door? Maybe you remember how much fun you had together and wonder what became of their lives or why you lost touch with each other.

Losing a friend is difficult. But are you sure it’s a loss?

Feeling nostalgic for an old friendship often makes us feel like we’ve lost an important part of our lives. Even the thought of losing contact with somebody we know makes us think twice. There’s just a certain sadness we feel when remembering a lost friendship. Have you ever looked at it a different way, though? Is it really a loss?

Your life and the people in it are constantly changing.

As the direction of your life changes, the people in your life also change. Not all of them, however. Some relationships, like with your family or your significant other don’t come and go easily. It’s your friendships that tend to change over time. You see, a friendship is a voluntary relationship that you choose to enter, not one that’s bound by formalities and rules.

So as the demands of your life start changing, like when you’re suddenly slammed with a full course load at the university while working a part-time job, or you work tons of overtime while trying to raise a family – it’s your friendship that will take less priority in your life.[1]

Some people just aren’t friends (or aren’t friends any more).

Growing up doesn’t only mean changing demands to your personal time, you also start to realize what you want out of life and the kind of people you want in it. Your old high school friend suddenly doesn’t fit your friendship needs anymore, and that’s okay.

Ending a friendship can happen for a number of reasons, and it’s not always a bad thing. Here are some of the types of friends we learn to let go of:

They have no compassion or empathy.

Maybe you’re feeling really upset about a recent disaster you’ve seen in the news, so you try to strike up a conversation with your friend about it. Their response? A slight shrug followed by a question about the latest celebrity scandal or what they should wear on their next date. You’ve tried and tried to find a deeper connection with this person, but you can’t. This is a shallow friendship, and it wouldn’t be a loss to cut this meaningless connection out of your life.

They never return the favor.

Are you constantly dropping everything to do a favor for your friend? Whether it’s take them to a doctor’s appointment, help them move out of their apartment, or just offer a listening ear after a terrible breakup – you are always there. Now, ask yourself a question: do they return the favor? Seems like they’re always busy when you need them, right? This isn’t a friendship.

They want to be the center of attention.

Constantly being interrupted so they can tell you about their terrible weekend or the fight they got in with their partner? It doesn’t matter what you have going on in your life, this person always has something more urgent or difficult to deal with. You either find yourself doubting the majority of their stories or constantly worried for their well-being. When you spend 90% of your friendship dealing with their issues and trying to calm them down or stop worrying, you don’t have a real friendship. It’s okay to admit that.

Letting go of a meaningless connection is healthy.

The first step toward coming closer to focus on what you want and need in life is realizing that friendship with these people is toxic. What you have with these types of people is not a true friendship, so letting go means you are only losing an unhealthy relationship. That isn’t a loss, but rather a gain.

Once you let go of a meaningless connection, you can focus on the important things in life. How can you cut ties with someone you once thought was a friend?

  1. Admit to yourself that it’s okay and healthy to stop hanging out with this person.
  2. Give yourself time away from them and gradually lengthen your time apart if you find it difficult to end the relationship.
  3. Try creating the friendship you want to have. Find a friend who appreciates you and helps you become the person you hope to be.

You don’t really lose a friendship because true friendship always stays.

Cutting unnecessary ties allows you to focus on one of the most important things in life: true friendship. Worry more about developing this relationship than the possibility of losing a friend.

Remember, you can never lose a true friend. You can, however, get rid of meaningless relationships. You get one life, live it surrounded by love and happiness.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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Love Hurts: How to Deal with the Pain That Comes in 6 Different Stages

How many times have you asked yourself, “What is love exactly?” You’re not the only one to wonder. It’s an age old question that has left many people questioning their romantic relationships and future.

So, what is love? Love is a process: finding a partner, falling in love, and sometimes falling out of love. It isn’t a permanent thing. It’s not something you find and have forever because it never changes. Instead, love is fluid. Its definition changes over time, depending on each couple. Couples who make love last have learned to change together and to support each other’s individuality.

Love is beautiful and sometimes painful.

Just as love is ever-changing, so is the pain it can bring. Pain from love occurs in different stages of a relationship . You’ve probably already experienced some of the various kinds of pain in love. If not, you’ll probably experience them at some point in the future. Let’s take a look at some of the different kinds of pain so you’ll recognize it when it happens to you.

Love and Pain Come in 6 Different Stages.

1. What is love? Is this love?

Looking for love can be pretty painful. First, there’s the issue of finding love, which means getting over emotional traumas from past relationships. You have to be ready to find love and know what you want before you can go looking for a significant other. You also need to have some idea of what love means to you, which might not be the same idea for everyone.

Once you think you know what you want and you’ve answered, “What is love?”, there’s the pain of figuring out how to ask the other person out on a date.

Just when you work up the courage to ask somebody out, you might be hit with the next great pain: rejection. In this case, what you have to do is learn to cope with unrequited love, or romantic feelings that are not shared. If you get through the date part and the feelings are mutual, now you get to face even more discomfort. You have to figure out if you’re really in love with your partner or just attached to them. If you think what you feel is love, it’s time to show the other person how you feel. Perhaps the most painful part of this stage is deciding how to tell them you love them.

2. I am definitely falling in love!

The second stage of love and pain is the falling in love part. The pain from this stage comes from the same age-old question: what is love? Except this time, you ask yourself, “Am I falling in love?” You can answer this question by paying attention to your actions. If you catch yourself doing any of the things on this list, you just might be in love.

To avoid some of the pain associated with love, it’s important to understand the science behind love. Remember, these strong feelings are due to the production of certain chemicals in your brain.

If you’ve confirmed that you’re falling in love and you understand the science behind it, congratulations! You can now participate in one of the best parts of being in love: holding hands. Holding hands results in a number of positive benefits for your health.

3. It’s official, we’re a couple.

The next step in the progression of love is usually that the two of you become a couple. If you’re not sure what step you’re in, start looking for signs that you’re in a committed relationship. Once you’ve determined that you’re officially in a relationship, you have a whole new set of potentially painful concerns. You might start wondering what to do now, how to act, where to go, and how to keep the relationship healthy. First of all, stop thinking so much. If you overanalyze your relationship, you’ll end up frustrated and anxious. Focus on being mature in your relationship to create and maintain happiness.

Much like a business, you need to think of a mission and vision for your relationship. Where do you hope to be in a few years and how can you improve on your relationship every day? To answer some of these questions, it’s important to learn what kind of personality your partner has. Take the time to really understand them. A highly sensitive person has different needs than a grounded and serious person, for example.

4. How did I ever love this person?

At this stage, one of two things can happen. You either continue your relationship forever in the classic “happily ever after” story, or you start questioning the decisions that got you here. “What is love?” you find yourself asking again. “How did I ever love this person?” Well, if you’re a guy, chances are you fell in love with some of the typical qualities that make men fall in love with women. If you’re a woman, you probably hold some of those qualities.

Looking back on why you fell in love in the first place and questioning everything can be painful. It’s one of the hardest moments you’ll ever go through in your relationship. Look for things that will give you strength as you go through this difficult time.

5. It’s over.

This relationship isn’t everything you thought it would be. With all the pain and effort of trying to make it work, you somehow lost yourself along the way. Now you need to question if it’s time to let go so you can fo cus on loving yourself again.

Once you’ve broken up, you’re left to pick up the pieces of a broken heart. Just because the relationship wasn’t healthy, doesn’t mean it’s easy to get over losing somebody that you once loved. Recovering after a breakup is hard – your entire future is now up in the air. Despite this, you still need to get over it and move on as quickly as possible. Take the time you need to learn the important lessons that come with losing love d ones, listen to all the saddest songs when you want to cry, and then move on with your life.

6. I’m single again.

Now that you’ve gotten over the breakup, you’re back out in the single world again. This can be fun or it can be painful if you start to feel lonely. Just focus on how to love yourself and look for the motivation to appreciate yourself. Embrace this moment in your lif e and true love will come when you’re ready.

Featured photo credit: Can Anh Khai via pexels.com

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How to Make a Relationship Last (Given That 50% of Couples End up in Divorce)

Seems hard to believe, right? If half of all marriages end in divorce, the odds seem to be against you and your partner (or future partner). Don’t start questioning everything just yet, there’s still hope.

Turns out there’s a reason relationships tend not to last.

When you meet somebody new or have a new experience, your brain releases opioids. These feel good chemicals make you feel like you’re on top of the world. Think about the first time you kissed your significant other – amazing, right? Now that you’ve kissed at least a hundred times, does it still feel the same? Probably not. That’s because that exciting feeling tends to go away after having the same experience time and time again.

The same thing happens in a long term relationship. In other words, the passion starts to fade.

You can stop boredom from happening in your long term relationship.

Don’t just start looking for a new partner. The same problem is bound to occur no matter who you’re with. Some great relationship advice is to learn about the 5 stages of love and why so many people never make it past stage 3. If you can make it past that stage, you hav e a chance at making your relationship last. This is only true if you’re willing to put in some effort.

Follow this relationship advice to make your relationship last.

Ask yourself some questions.

When you start to doubt your relationship because the spark has begun to fade, it’s time to ask yourself some very important questions. How did the relationship start? How often do you laugh together? Can you remember the most romantic moment the two of you have shared? Reflecting on these questions can help you remember what you love about your significant other.

Never stop pretending that you’re in a new relationship.

You’ve probably fallen into the rut of the same old routine everyday. Stop that! Remember when you’re relationship was new? Everything was different and exciting. It can still be that way. Recreate your first date or come up with some new date ideas. Don’t forget the power of holding hands. Take yourself back to the feeling of falling in love. Keep everyday fresh and new to keep the passion alive.

Remember all the little details.

Being in a long term relationship doesn’t give you permission to stop putting in effort. In fact, the opposite is true. If you feel like you’re getting bored with your partner, take this relationship advice: do things together. Whether it’s finding things to do on the weekend or coming up with cheap and fun date ideas – staying busy keeps boredom at bay. Are you low on cash? That’s still no excuse. You can find plenty of fun things to do at home. One of the most import ant details you can remember is your anniversary. Make it special with some fun anniversary ideas that will bring the two of you closer together and make a memory you’ll never forget.

Don’t forget about things outside of your relationship.

Even though you’re in a long term relationship, it doesn’t take away from the fact that you are an individual. Some of the best relationship advice out there is to never let go of your independence or who you were before you got together with your significant other. If you used to love painting, taking pictures, or hiking – make sure to keep doing those things. Don’t give up your hobbies just because your partner doesn’t like those things. Remember, you don’t have to do everything with them.

A lot of us tend to spend less time with our friends when we start a new relationship. That’s normal, but you shouldn’t forget about them completely. Try to make some time in your life to be with your friends. Just as romantic relationships take effort, so too do friendships. Tired of going to the same old pub with your friends? Try some great, low cost activities together.

Take the relationship advice mentioned here. You’ll feel better in your relationship and the two of you will stand a better chance at beating the odds.

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The Scientific Explanation on Why We Attract What We Are

Have you ever noticed a pattern in your romantic relationships? We tend to have very specific behaviors with our partners and these behaviors tend to repeat themselves. Maybe you’ve been called “clingy” a couple times? Or maybe you run from relationship problems rather than work through them. Whatever your particular relationship pattern, it can all be explained by attachment theory.

Attachment theory helps explain the attachment style we use in our adult relationships. Understanding this, is the key to finding a lasting relationship.

Your attachment style determines who you attract.

How can understanding attachment theory help you find a partner? Well, your attachment style affects every aspect of your romantic relationships, from being attracted to a particular person to how the breakup goes.[1] Learning more about your attachment style, helps you learn more about your personal needs and how to get those needs met.[2]

Attachment theory can help you understand what strengths and weaknesses you bring to a relationship and how you can make those traits work in your favor. The more you understand your attachment style, the more likely you are to find somebody that matches and complements that style.

We are all wired to one of the 4 types of attachment styles.

According to attachment theory, there are 4 types of attachment styles[3]:

1. Secure Attachment

If you experienced a secure relationship with your parents and grew up feeling safe to grow and explore independently, you probably have secure attachment. This means that you tend to feel secure and close to your partner, but still respect each person’s independence in the relationship.

2. Anxious Preoccupied Attachment

If you have an anxious preoccupied attachment style, it might be hard for you to feel satisfied in your romantic relationships. In fact, you might be described as clingy or possessive as you rely on your partner to make you feel happy or to help you overcome your fears. You might even spend a lot of time worried that you will lose your significant other.

3. Dismissive Avoidant Attachment

If you are a dismissive avoidant, attachment theory says that you tend to isolate yourself from your partner. You might come off as unconcerned with your relationship and may go so far as to say that having a romantic partner isn’t that important. You try to avoid emotional connection with another person.

4. Fearful Avoidant Attachment

If you have fearful avoidant attachment, you probably experience two kinds of fear simultaneously: the fear of letting yourself get to close to your partner and the fear of being too distant with your partner. Living in this constant state of confusion takes a toll on your emotions. People have probably told you that you’re emotional and unpredictable because your moods tend to change dramatically and with no warning.

According to research, around 50% of the general population has a secure attachment style, 20% has an anxious attachment style, and 25% has an avoidant attachment style.[4]

In the dating world, that is single and available adults, you’re more likely to find somebody who fits one of the avoidant attachment styles. Why? Because people with secure attachment have a higher probability of being in a committed relationship.[5]

So, you’ve looked over the relationship styles of attachment theory and think you know which category you fit in. So now how do use that information to help you find a lasting relationship?

Some people tend to be drawn to a specific type of people.

Attachment theory tells us that people with certain attachment styles tend to be drawn to somebody of a complementary nature. What does this mean? If you’re an anxious or avoidant person, you might find a secure person to be a little boring. You crave drama, mistakenly believing it is the same as sharing romantic chemistry. A securely attached person isn’t going to provide that.

As a result, avoidant and anxious people often end up together. Two avoidant people make for barely there relationship; both people spend all their time avoiding each other. Two anxious people make for an unpredictable and high stress relationship; each convinced the other is going to abandon them.

But an anxious and an avoidant person together? These 2 attachment styles complement each other in that an anxious person is willing to wait around for their avoidant partner to commit to the relationship. This anxious attachment actually validates avoidant behavior by letting the avoidant know their behavior will be tolerated.[6]

Securely attached individuals can be with any of the style according to attachment theory. This is because they can validate their partner’s feelings and help them overcome their fears. So how can you achieve a secure attachment style?

It’s possible to change your attachment style.

First, you need to accept your attachment type by being honest with yourself. If you are an anxious partner, admit it.

Then, ask yourself why. Think back to your childhood, write down all of your memories if you need to. Really look at what happened to you while growing up and try to make sense of it, try to determine how it is affecting your adult relationships today.

Making this connection can help you develop a more secure attachment style, which can help you find a lasting relationship.[7]

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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How Fear Is Deep-Rooted in Our Everyday Life and Controlling Us

Right now, you’re living your life in fear. You probably don’t even realize it, but fear is controlling you – your life, your relationships, and your decision making. Don’t worry though, you’re not alone. In fact, everyone around you is going through the same thing.

You see, fear is powerful and taught to us at a young age. You learn what you should do and what shouldn’t do to avoid punishment and discomfort, that things that naturally cause fear. Now that you’ve grown up, however, fear comes from a number of different sources. And if you don’t know the source of your fear, it is nearly impossible to overcome. In fact, it makes it easy for other people and situations to control you and your actions.

The Sneaky Ways Fear Controls Your Life

Settling Is a Sign That You Fear Your Dreams and Desires Are Unattainable

Maybe you have always wanted to travel the world. Now, you work as a travel agent planning other people’s trips and you think, “close enough”. Or, maybe you imagined yourself in a romantic relationship. Instead, you find yourself with somebody who is “nice enough”. Settling is a sign that you fear your dreams and desires are unattainable. You fear failing to achieve your hopes, forgetting your innate resilience to overcome failure.

You Try to Be Perfect to Avoid Criticism and Failure

Are you always striving to be perfect at everything? Ask yourself a very important question: Is it your definition of perfect or somebody else’s? Many of us drive ourselves crazy trying to have the perfect job, the perfect grades, the perfect body. Usually, somebody else has defined what is that perfect job, grade, body, or other achievement. So, why do you want to try so hard to be somebody else’s version of perfect? You have the fear of failure, of being left out, or of being judged.

You Get Sick Often Due to a Lot of Unknown or Unrecognized Fear

Living with a lot of unknown or unrecognized fear can cause stress-like responses in your body. One of the most common stress-induced symptoms is feeling sick[1]. Have you had a sudden bout of unexplained gastrointestinal problems? Gaining weight but you haven’t changed your diet and exercise routine? Maybe you’re just feeling an overall sense of tiredness, body aches, and headache? Fear is weakening the resilience of your immune system.

How to Win The Battle against Fear

It’s time to have faith in your resilience so you can face your fears. Think about your life and the things that make you worry or cause you stress. Write them down. This act will allow you to focus on what you need to fix to get control of your life.

You Have to Locate The Target to Hit it

If you don’t know exactly what your biggest fears are, you’ll never be able to conquer them.

Think of your worst dreams, the nightmares that wake you up at night. What’s happening in these dreams? Do you find yourself naked and terrified in front of people? This could be a sign that you’re self-conscious and afraid of what people think of your body. Focus on body acceptance and try to remember all the areas where you excel. This practice will help move your focus and fear away from your body insecurities and toward everything you should be proud of.

Another way to identify your fear is to think of the moments in life that make you most nervous. Is it when you have to speak in front of large crowds? Or maybe you’re nervous when you meet new people or when you have to work on a group project at school or work? Think about the root of this fear. You are probably most afraid of criticism or of being rejected.

Feelings Are Temporary, Resilience Is Permanent

Consider the worst cast scenario of any of your fears. So you stutter through the introduction of your speech or you accidently spill a drink on a new acquaintance. Maybe you’re passed up for a promotion at work. In the end, does it really matter or is it just a temporary discomfort?

As you navigate this process of identifying and overcoming your fears, remain confident that your resilience will see you through. You can and will bounce back from anything – including the worst case scenario. This is your life, you should be in control – not fear. Take the risks you need to find your happiness. You’re worth every bit of it.

Reference

[1] WebMD: Stress Symptoms: Effects of Stress on the Body

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Why It’s Still Hard to Move on No Matter How Many Times Our Hearts Break

Breakups are one of life’s most difficult obstacles. You feel like you’re left to pick up the pieces of a failed life together, wondering if you’ll ever get over the pain, the disappointment, the broken heart.

It’s hard because you’ve idealized him/her unconsciously.

You’ve just lost somebody who once played a major part in your life and now you have to get through the stages of grief to get over it. Getting over a breakup is never easy, and here’s why:

During your relationship, your brain switches off the ability to judge and feel negatively about your partner. At the same time, it turns on the areas that cause you to bond with and feel attached to your partner. It’s hard to get over your ex because your brain causes you to idealize them.[1]

Dopamine, oxytocin, testosterone – these are all the chemicals your brain produces when you’re first falling in love. They’re responsible for those butterfly feelings, the need to cuddle, the rapid heart rate, and the excitement that come with a new relationship. Addicting feelings, to say the least. What happens when you break up? The ventral segment of your brain activates, which is the same thing that happens when someone is addicted to drugs. You are literally going through withdrawal over your ex.

Breakups often happen suddenly, leaving you with little to no closure. It’s that feeling of unfinished business that makes it hard for you to get over your ex. You keep thinking about them because you were left with a void to fill, a hole to cover.[2] You feel like there’s something left to understand about the situation and you just can’t shake the feeling.

Unconsciousness is hard to control but it doesn’t mean you should just let it be.

So now you’ve justified why it’s okay for you to keep thinking about your ex. You’re just going through the stages of grief, right? Your brain is tricking you into miss them, right? So, this is normal, right?

Well, yes, sort of. You need to forget about your ex, though, so you can move on with your life. Somewhere out there is the right person for you and you don’t want thoughts of your ex messing up your future relationship.

Instead of letting time heal, take control of how you feel.

First of all, allow yourself to process the stages of grief. Your feelings are valid and deserve to be acknowledged.

Ask yourself how not to let that happen again.

Getting over a breakup is similar to recovering from a physical injury. To recuperate after hurting yourself, you have to identify the root cause. Why? If you know the root cause, you can stop it from happening again.[3] You can give your future relationships a chance at success.

Learn how to be alone gradually, but not right after breaking up.

The best thing to do right now is be around your friends and family. Surround yourself with community and the people you love. Doing this will help your brain produce more opioids, which are the feel good hormones. Definitely try not to be alone right now.

Get him/her out of sight.

If you’re having a hard time getting over your ex, you’re still in one of the stages of grief. The most common stage is denial, thinking that it really isn’t over or refusing to believe it. When you’re feeling this way, you’re way more likely to pick up the phone and call your ex. You’ll never be able to process your grief if you keep calling them every time you feel lonely. Do yourself a favor and delete their contact info from your phone and social media.

Keep yourself entertained.

In order to process the anger and disappointment that you’re feeling, you need to accept that one of the final stages of grief is to redirect your hope.[4] For your entire relationship, you had all of your hopes tied up in your future together. Now, you have to find that hope again and redirect it. Try keeping yourself busy with new sources of entertainment. Maybe there’s an old hobby you let fall by the wayside when the two of you were dating or maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to try. Now’s the time. Being busy keeps your mind off of the past and helps you redirect your thoughts to the future.

Moving on after a relationship ends isn’t easy. Just try to be patient with yourself, the pain won’t last forever. You’ll get through this and learn more about yourself in the process.

Reference

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