I’m so excited to bring you this guest post - and how this came about is exactly why I love the internet!
A few months ago, I received a Facebook message from the author of this post, Jen. Jen so kindly expressed how much my work had resonated with her post-breakup and once we got chatting, it turned out she lives just up the road from me! So of course, we had to meet for coffee!
Jen has her own blog here (which you HAVE to read and bookmark!) and I absolutely loved the couple of hours that we spent together on that Sunday afternoon we met.
Jen is compassionate, fun, intelligent and on such an exciting path following her last breakup. She also radiates a beautiful healing quality. We had tons in common (there aren’t many people I can geek out about Human Design with!) and I knew I had to ask her to write a guest post.
From reading her blog and getting to know Jen, it was clear that her experience and insight will resonate with so many of you.
Jen decided to write about dating after a breakup and I love the wisdom she shares in the piece.
I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did.
Thank you so much Jen 💖
Why I've Scrapped the Dating Rulebook
Dating can disarm and debilitate even the most rational and secure of us, sometimes leaving us feeling downright insane. And when our hearts are still hurting, we can easily find ourselves overwhelmed with emotions, doubting our decisions, and questioning whether we'll ever be ready to move on.
Once I started dating after my breakup, it wasn’t long until I found myself re-enacting the same predictable patterns of behaviour that had left me heartbroken and hating myself more times than I could count. But when I really took the time to reflect on my destructive thoughts, to identify my innate habits, and to recognise my deep-rooted fears and beliefs, I realised that my lack of romantic success had had nothing to do with being unlucky in love, and everything to do with being unconscious in love.
For years, I'd been compelled by a complex cumulation of historic hardwiring and past programming that had me using my relationships as a means of righting my wrongs, fixing my unhealed wounds, and filling my empty spaces.
I'd been so caught up in seeking external validation, so consumed with trying to master the art of playing hard to get, and so intent on finding 'the one' that I'd been failing to acknowledge my own needs in the process.
With a bottomless pit of dating advice never more than a click away, it's no wonder that we often spend so much time obsessing over the 'dos and don'ts' of dating. But if we allow our love lives to be dictated by a set of predefined rules designed to get someone’s attention, to make someone like us, or to keep someone interested, we’re never going to find what we’re looking for.
Because dating isn't about playing games. It’s about being curious. Curious about getting to know ourselves and another person. Curious about finding what works for us and what doesn’t. Curious about what we want and what we don’t. And curious about how to love ourselves, how to trust ourselves, and how to be ourselves.
What about if, instead of trying to get someone else to like us, we learned how to like ourselves? What about if, instead of trying to make someone else happy, we learned how to make ourselves happy? And what about if, instead of trying to play by the rules, we stopped playing altogether?
So it's time to do things differently. It's time to scrap the rulebook that's done nothing but let us down, to drop the dating advice that's done nothing but diminish our sense of self, and rewire the thought patterns that've done nothing but damage our wellbeing.
It's time to shift our definition of success away from finding 'the one', and back to being at peace with who we are, what we are, and where we are.
Because all we really need to be successful are these three simple promises. And, unlike the conventional guidelines around dating, these promises are for our happiness, and ours only.
1. I promise to love myself.
For me, loving myself means putting myself first. It means creating healthy boundaries and sticking to them. And, most importantly, it means staying grounded in reality when confronted with the all-too-tempting black hole of fantasy and obsession.
So if you find yourself teetering on a cliff-edge, one misstep away from plummeting into the dark and dangerous depths of infatuation, bring yourself back to the present. Take a look around at what you already have. Don’t ditch your stable ground in favour of the murky and turbulent waters of a temporary escape. Because the climb back up is long and laborious, and who knows if those things that you left behind will still be waiting for you when you eventually return?
2. I promise to trust myself.
For most of my romantic life, I ordinarily and obediently overlooked the questionable behaviour of potential partners, convinced that their dismissiveness or disrespect was a reflection of their mood, rather than their character. Time and time again, I brushed off the sour crumbs left in their wake, and swept them neatly underneath the rug, never to be seen again. Or so I thought.
But the problem with living in denial is that those easily-ignorable pink flags eventually mutate into conspicuous and unavoidable blood-red canvases. And by the time they do, it’s too late. We’re already too invested in the fantasy. Too dazzled by the shiny newness. Too blinkered by our animal attachment drives. Too hooked on the delicious poison poured in through the holes created when our walls were torn down and our hearts cracked open.
So if you find yourself engaged in a painstaking war of the head vs. the heart - don’t listen to either. Instead, tune in to your inner wisdom. Connect with that omniscient knowing that resides deep within your gut. Trust your intuition. It’s there for a reason.
3. I promise to be myself.
As long as we’re always trying to hide, change, or conceal the parts of us that we don’t like, we’re never going to find someone who loves us for us. And we are lovable, exactly the way we are. Our mess is lovable. Our flaws are lovable. Our insecurities are lovable.
We are all achingly imperfect, devastatingly complex, yet beautifully unique. We are all human. And our anxieties, aspirations and afflictions - they make us who we are.
So embrace your quirks, your fears, your wounds. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Stay true to yourself and your values. Be unapologetically, unashamedly, authentically YOU.
And if someone doesn’t like you? Then they’re not for you.