As you can probably tell from the title, the ebb and flow of this article will be relatively light-hearted. But there are dangers and pitfalls to be wary of along the way that can lead to hurting both yourself and others. I don’t want to spoil the fun entirely, so I’ll mention those in passing (let’s be realistic). After-all, the transition from emotional rags to figurative riches is almost always rewarding, fun and empowering — though only if and when you’re ready.
Knowing when you’re ready
Two weeks after my latest breakup I brandished my new singledom with ferocious self denial. After years of relative introversion and calm, you’d suddenly be hard-pressed to find me outside of a club or social gathering. I was someone new, and at least at the time, this sudden and extreme polarity from my usual self seemed to make a great deal of sense (hello, this is my broken self-esteem calling). I began to passively attract a new host of friends and flirts, all of whom erroneously thought of me as a witty, jovial extrovert (bear in mind the reverse may be true as well. I.E an extrovert will suddenly become intensely obsessed with a new TV series).
Needless to say that sooner rather than later the house of cards came crumbling down (and with a profound crash — I may add). In this case, a particularly strong person sensed the charade and refused to be a part of it. It was quite a wake-up call, and in retrospect I ought to thank them. Thanks D!
The bottom-line is this; if you can accept and are content with being single as is, you’re ready to move on to point number two. You don’t have to be completely over someone in order to move on, but carrying a truck-full of baggage into a new relationship will doom it before it starts. A summer fling is something else entirely. And that, ladies and gents, is enough of the bad news — for now.
Get out there
Being the pro-active person you are (you’ve taken steps to improve yourself by *ehem* reading this — or at least that was your intention), the first step should be both the easiest and the hardest to achieve. Simply put yourself in a position where change can literally bump into you.
I do not advise, like many “dating experts” do, to segment the target sex into categories and become their dream partner. You don’t need to put on a show or haul yourself into a yoga class in order to meet the woman of your dreams, you don’t have to get a part-time job in a library to meet geeks and you certainly don’t have to go out everyday looking like Crudelia De Vil in order for magic to rain on your shoulders.
The entire notion is counter-productive because you are erecting damaging and absurdly improbable false expectations, constantly setting yourself up for dissapointment everytime you get home alone empty handed — despite having tried! Instead, live your life normally and fully, keep an open mind, improving every other area of your life. The better your life is, the more you have to give, and the more attractive you will be. Ironically, as a common truism dictates, when you’re not looking for it, it’ll bite you in the donkey. Getting out there is easy, being patient isn’t.
Hotter than ever before
Turning previous insecurities into strengths can build self-esteem and confidence incredibly rapidly, and we all need all the help we can get in those departments. Dealing with rejection will have taken it’s ugly toll both on our minds and on the monster-in-the-mirror.
I don’t care who you are, you can improve. If you profess to be a model of perfection then change your look. Shakin’ up your persona will help purge you of previous insecurities, create the idea of a fresh start and (incidentally) improve your overall chances. If you have no idea where to start (hey guys), squander some of that cash reserve that was just freed up on getting some semi-professional tips. It’ll pay off. Avoid attempting to show-off your newly emerged six-pack to your ex, it’ll only make you look spiteful and fragile. It may get a squeak out of them, but getting your ex back is a problem for another day (if that’s all it took to make them contact you, laugh — you just dodged a bullet friend). Right now, focus on you.
A little swag goes a long way
Now that you’re done with being a victim, it’s time to become the predator. Your bumps in the road will have streamlined your future expectations and taught you valuable lessons. Combined with the self-improvement we’ve discussed, you will have a palpable amount of value.
Re-align your standards by being objective. What do you really, really want? Only one word should echo through the halls of your mind. Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade! An emotional quick-fix relationship will land you end-wise in the gutter. If you’re going to aim at something, aim high, but be realistic and know that quirks will become irritating weaknesses in the long-run, passable looks will turn into porridge and a needy person will end up suffocating you. It took you awhile to fix yourself, and a lot of strength — expect no less.
When it’s time… Strike!
If you’re sure you’ve found something, the dumpee will have a huge advantage, they will have the strength to pursue and win it. Rejection, once confronted, will cause less and less pain. Let’s be honest with ourselves here, the pain of having a particularly engaging flirt turn us down or go AWOL is nothing compared to we’ve already gone through. And guess what? We came out swinging! Pain is relative, the ensuing upwards curve (because it can’t and won’t last forever) will have given us the strength to frown, digest it, take a quick sip of Johnny Walker’s finest and laugh.
Bring. It. On.