Being ready for love is more than just wanting and saying you are ready. Regardless if you have been widowed, going through a bad break up or single for a while you still need to have a clear dating and relationship vision. You still need to know about red flags, have healthy communication and listening skills. Know how to work with your triggers and know how to be – and look for – the right person.
I was married for 14 years and my husband passed away five years ago. I started to travel, and I met a man overseas only to discover he wasn’t a faithful man to me. I was with him for four years and although I have left him and communicated to him my standards, this man continues to pursue me. I have tried to date other men, but none of them make me feel the way my Dominican lover makes me feel. I have my walls up but I am looking to connect with someone I can truly love. Can you help me get connected?
I don’t know if you realize it or not but the beginning stages of letting your walls down are first acknowledging it and asking for help, so you are on your way. One of the things I would ask myself is did you give yourself enough time to grieve your husband and heal prior to getting into a new relationship? Based on the loss and the length of the last relationship, it seems like a year or less. Only you know if that is an adequate amount of time to recover from the loss of your spouse. What happens when we are not completely healed or ready for a new love, we meet someone who suddenly makes us feel alive and loved is very exciting. You may think no one has ever made you feel like this and you can’t help but be amazed at the chemistry, or electricity between you and this new person. However, sometimes these spontaneous loves cause us to let our guards down, ignore red flags and we find ourselves in a relationship we had no business being in, hence your Dominican ex who on the surface made you feel great, but proved by his actions that he wasn’t good enough for you. I commend you for being strong enough to recognize that and let him go.
Now here comes the hard part, you’ve got to really let him go. If he is continuing to pursue you, you could possibly be giving him some type of indication that there is a chance at reconnecting. If there isn’t, you need to cut off all contact. As long as you keep responding to his messages, or giving him a way to contact you, you are blocking yourself from finding the right person for you. In addition, if you keep comparing your level of love to that person, he will set the standard and prevent you from moving forward. Letting your guard down takes time, but it also takes work. If you are serious about really finding someone, the first step is cutting him completely out of your life because he has already shown you that he can’t set healthy boundaries and just be your friend. The next step would be to make sure you are relationship ready. If you are, learn to strike a balance somewhere between trusting someone and setting boundaries to protect yourself. Of course, you hope for the best outcome of any potential relationship but if it doesn’t work out, know that you will be okay. It is healthy to have walls, but the only way to truly take a new relationship to the next level is to be vulnerable and your most authentic self. So, let down your guard with the knowledge that the risk you’re taking is worth it. By challenging yourself in these ways you will get stronger and start to trust your natural instincts once again.
Jennifer J. Hayes