-by Jontae Grace
At this age, most of us have had at least one serious relationship, and one good heartbreak. I mean the teary-eyed, runny-nose, Tyler Perry marathon, Drake-on-repeat breakup. It is traumatic, one of the most painful, emotionally draining experiences that a person can endure. You gave your body, your energy, and most importantly your time to a person, only to find out it meant nothing, a chasing after the wind. Forever became for-never. In a matter of weeks you experienced the entire range of human emotions, from withdrawal to relief.
But it’s over now; you’ve hurt, healed and decided to put yourself back on the market at a higher price. It is now time to re-position yourself to receive the best that love has to offer again. But before you can begin searching for another mate, you must mentally prepare yourself to properly receive affection. Emotional baggage and scar tissue can ruin a good relationship if not resolved, so take ownership of the renewal process from start to finish. It is not enough to simply let time pass; you must confront your anger and fear so that it does not hinder future success.
The only proper way to view an ex is with realistic honesty. The good times were good, the bad times sucked, but above all, it is over. You must accept that the failed relationship was not a complete waste of time, because if you spent three months or more together, you grew as an individual and mate. Take what lessons you can from the experience, because life goes on and chances are you will love again. With wisdom, you can isolate positive qualities that you liked and use them when searching for a new relationship.
In the awkward post-breakup period, we begin to reemerge from our shells. Fragile but stronger, our ex begins to symbolize a valuable lesson learned rather than an open wound. A key milestone of this period is acceptance that the relationship is over and will not be rekindled. No longer bitter or angry, you settle into a neutral indifference of the past; you wish them well, but you have to continue living your life without them. Whole again, you begin entertaining the idea of romance with a degree of optimism.
Re-entering the search for a mate is an interesting experience in itself. You may notice that you view life through a slightly different lens, and have little tolerance for people with empty intentions. Demand that anyone interested in you comes correct because you have no energy to waste on people who have no clear objective. It may seem curt and somewhat rude to some, but you must aggressively protect your heart and actively pursue your vision for your life. Otherwise you run the risk of yielding to the plans of others, who may or may not have your best interests in mind.
When courting and dating, avoid the trap of comparison: to an ex, a friend’s mate, Morris Chestnut, Zoe Saldana, or anyone else. Comparison causes us to overlook the fact that everyone comes with their own strengths, their own package. Take them for who they are, and decide whether or not they offer an energy that can sustain a serious relationship with you. The only comparison that must be made is between you and your romantic interest – whether you have a winning chemistry. Everything else is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Once you have identified an individual who has shown the potential to represent you to the outside world, you must clearly communicate your intentions with them. We aren’t high-schoolers having fun anymore; the life we now live must be carefully planned, as it has very serious consequences for negligence and recklessness. If you two are going to forge an alliance against the outside world, you must build a solid foundation on a clear understanding of one another’s goals, dreams, and current position in life.
I’ve always believed that new couples should give each other a full history of themselves and their families. I’m not only talking about relationship history, but the complete saga from A to today. You have to share every significant life event that has made you the person you are today, in order to give a complete picture of who you are. Your mate must know how you think, what drives you and what you truly value in life. Don’t gloss over the negatives either – sooner or later it will be discovered, so you must put it on the table to allow your mate the chance to decide if they want to be involved or not.
Also, couples should spend a lot of time alone together. With the demands of careers, friends and family, it can be difficult to get some quality one-on-one time. But you have to enjoy the person you choose for your life; your lifestyles must be conducive to one another, and there is no other way to discover whether or not you two are compatible than to share space whenever possible. Eventually, your mate is going to become one of the most important people in your life – best friend, confidant, and source of happiness. It is essential that you carve out space for them to grow into those roles.
In conclusion, a relationship is a responsibility that two people voluntarily accept. You agree to shepherd one another through the seasons of life with the utmost care and respect for the privilege. Many relationships fail because people fail to appreciate the magnitude of that responsibility. We are playing for keeps now, and if you decide to accept the task of loving another human being, you must be prepared for everything it requires of you. Along the way, you may lose someone. But if you allow yourself to become jaded by a failed attempt at love, you don’t deserve the rewards that come from a successful partnership. Love is eternal, not temporary. Peace and blessings to you and yours.
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