Falling in love is exhilarating, but picking up the pieces after experiencing a broken heart can dissuade even the most hopeless of romantics from wanting to try again. No one wants to face loss and rejection in their dating relationships, particularly when they have already been hurt in the past. There are a few ways to protect your heart, however, once you decide to re-enter the dating world.
The first step to avoiding a broken heart is listening to what your potential mate is telling you, according to Rita Watson, MPH and associate fellow at Yale’s Ezra Stiles College. If your new love interest is upfront about not wanting the same things in life as you do, don’t make the mistake of thinking that will change. Give people the benefit of the doubt in terms of knowing what they want, and be honest with yourself about what you are looking for as well. Listen for clues that your lifestyles and desires may not match up and be willing to get out before you get too close if you notice serious differences.
Don’t Let Love Blind You
Just like trusting your gut instincts is important, so is listening to your head. Hindsight does not mend a broken heart if there are obvious signs your guy is playing games, better to be aware than let it go on and lead to a broken heart. Ignoring the truth only makes the inevitable harder to bear.
Settling for less may seem like one of the easiest things to do, but it can actually lead you to a higher chance of unhappiness. Settling for less basically means we’re settling for less than we deserve, less than we want and need in order to feel happy and comfortable in a relationship. It’s almost as though we’re setting ourselves for disappointment right from the beginning.
Kathleen Hardaway, author of “I Kissed a Lot of Frogs: But the Prince Hasn’t Come,” explains that one of the biggest components of a good relationship is respect. If you want to prevent a broken heart, you need to first have respect for yourself. Acknowledge that you are worthy and deserve to be treated well. Next, you and your potential partner need to show respect for each other. If that mutual respect doesn’t seem to exist, this is not a relationship you want to proceed any further with.
Do Not Expect Every Man To Be “The One”
A good way to set yourself up for heartache is going into every relationship thinking he’s the man you’re going to marry. It’s also not healthy to go in feeling it’s going to fail, but there is a healthy medium between the two. Go into it and enjoy it for what it is. If it goes further-great! If it doesn’t-well at least you anticipated it from the get-go.
Work on finding happiness on your own before setting out to find someone else to provide it for you, suggests Karen Stewart, President, and CEO of Fairway Divorce Solutions and author of the book “Clean Break.” If you are relying on another person to fill up the holes in your life, you are setting yourself up for heartbreak. Don’t expect anyone else to make you happy. Instead, spend time becoming a whole and complete version of yourself, focusing on your own hobbies and interests while still single. Invite potential suitors into your life, but don’t mold your life around those new love interests.
Take It Slow
Only show other people the parts you feel comfortable with them seeing. Remember that getting to know someone is a gradual process that takes time, so don’t tell them everything about you when you first start talking. Take it nice and slow, do things at your own pace and only when you feel ready.
Setting boundaries is a really good way of remembering what you’re comfortable with in a relationship and what you’re not. This means that if something happens that’s past your boundaries, it’s easier to recognize when you’re feeling uncomfortable and inadequate so that you can draw it back into a place inside the boundaries where you do feel comfortable.
Listen to Your Gut
If something feels off about a new relationship, trust your gut and get out, Watson explains. Have faith in yourself to make those determinations, and don’t question the feelings you may be having. Making excuses or discounting behavior you know is unacceptable will only get you further invested in a relationship that is likely to hurt you more down the line.
Learn To Walk Away
Heartache can often happen when we know a situation doesn’t feel right but we choose to pursue it anyway. But not everything in life is worth taking the risk for, some things are better off left alone if we want to protect ourselves. Be brave and learn to walk away from these kinds of situations, just to be on the safe side.