- Do you feel paralyzing fear at the thought of dating, or as you start dating a new person?
- Do you compulsively compare new potential partners to your former one(s)?
- Are you concerned that the new person is going to behave or treat you like your ex?
- Do you worry that you’ll fall back into unproductive habits, patterned while you were in your previous relationship?
- Are you thinking too much about your former relationship(s), much more than just having occasional memories pop up in your mind?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you might be energetically stuck in a past relationship, maybe one that has ended a long time ago.
For some people, it's not that easy to transition from a relationship that has ended to a new one that is just starting (or even just to the idea of a new relationship). Having once been intimate with someone at the emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual levels can leave you with some energetic leftovers preventing you from approaching dating and the creation of a new relationship with a new person in a fresh way.
Sometimes, what's in the way of finding your special someone to build a happy and healthy relationship is indeed... a former partner (or several ones) that you are no longer dating but to whom you are still energetically attached, maybe unconsciously.
When your intention is to create a new happy, healthy and long-term relationship with a new kind of partner and with new ways of being and behaving, it is essential that you let go of past attachments once and for all.
Emotionally and energetically, the end of an intimate relationship involves a grieving process. Because it's the death of the intimate relationship that must be grieved and not the death of your former partner* it can feel appropriate or even desirable to continue a relationship with the ex, as acquaintances or even close friends.
* Note: In this post, I’m limiting myself to relationships that have ended by decision of one or both partners, not because one of the partners passed away.
Transitioning seamlessly from being intimate partners to close friends while resuming dating and building a new relationship with another person is possible for some people. For others – maybe you - such direct transition does not allow the completion of the grieving process and the energetic reset needed to approach dating and a new relationship in a happy, healthy and effective way.
Therefore, if you have been struggling with letting go of a previous relationship (or several previous relationships), if you feel pulled back into old patterns when dating a new person, or if you realize that your energy system has not been reset yet, the best way to make progress and get the fresh start you need is to take a step back from dating for now and complete your grieving process by cutting the leftover energetic cords that still bind you to your ex-partner(s).
Here are a few ideas for you to get started:
1. Commit to NO contact… for now.
Going NO contact consists of stopping all contact with your ex-partner until all emotional and energetic connections have been completely cleared. If it’s easier to commit to, you can decide that it’s a temporary measure and imagine the possibility of reinitiating contact in the future. Chances are that once your old attachments will be cleared, you no longer will need to reinitiate contact because you will have completely moved on. You’ll be able to simply wish them well from a distance.
Regardless of what you end up doing later, for now NO contact means:
- No calling and no answering calls (block number if needed)
- No texting and no responding to texts
- No emailing and no responding to emails (block email address if needed)
- No messaging through any kind of apps (remove ex partners from your contacts)
- No following on any social media platform or website (remove ex partners from your lists of friends and connections)
- No frequenting locations where the former partner(s) go (to the extent that it is realistic)
- Defining clear boundaries with common friends by asking them to refrain from talking to you about your former partner(s)
If you’re currently involved in a friendship with your ex, you may want to announce your change of mind so that there is no misunderstanding or (too) difficult feelings. Communicating something like this would suffice: "For the time being, I need to stop being in touch with you, so please respect my decision by not contacting me. This is a self-care practice and nothing personal against you. I wish you well." And then, commit to your decision and go NO contact.
Note: Full-on NO Contact is of course impossible if you have children with your ex partner. However, you can define strict boundaries for your interactions with the parent of your children by limiting the methods of contact, the frequency of communication and the topics discussed.
2. Get mental closure.
Clear your personal space of all photos, items and souvenirs reminding you of your ex. Put them in a box and hide it from sight. Again, this can be a temporary measure but chances are that it will become permanent as you clear these old attachments for good.
To my experience, beyond the break-up conversation attempting to get answers and/or analyze what happened with the ex rarely brings more clarity. If clarity was possible, the relationship would have survived or you would not feel stuck after the break-up. Do you know that you can get interpersonal closure by "talking" with your ex in your mind or by writing letters that you do not mail? Yes, you can have whole conversations that do not involve the actual person! You will be surprised to realize that this way of expressing everything you need to while “they listen" can bring you more peace and clarity and generate less additional baggage than having actual conversations with your ex in real life. I called these conversations "conversations between spirits".
3. Cut the energy cord.
If you still feel attached to an old partner, it might be because you still have an “energy cord” bonding you to your ex partner. Such leftover energy connections lead to major leaks of your energy.
Reclaim your personal power and precious energy by engaging in a daily ritual where you imagine cutting all the energy cords still connecting you to your ex. You can even do physical movements as if you were slicing through cords connecting your heart with the person visualized. You may choose to end your ritual with a short wish of well being for the person from whom you are working to separate yourself energetically. Energetic separation does not mean not caring; you're simply practicing loving from a greater distance.
4. Take yourself on awesome dates!
At least once per week, take yourself on a date all by yourself. This might feel easier to introverts who enjoy time alone than extraverts who thrive on social interactions, but this is a wonderful and essential practice to do regardless of whether it feels easy to you or not. Learn to commit to your own Self, find pleasure in your own lovely company, learning more about yourself and intentionally doing things you like. By the way, some dates can be very simple and take place at home, but you must be deliberate and call them “dates” : )
5. Get a fresh start.
As you work through these steps, at some point you will realize that you no longer think so much about your former partner and your memory does not get triggered by random events as often as it used to. At that point, you might be ready to date again!
Do a little "back to dating" ceremony. How about getting a new haircut or buy a couple of new going-out outfits? Or maybe consider creating a vision board of what your next relationship will feel like and how you are going to navigate it this time around.
And if going back to dating feels daunting, if you're not sure how you're going to navigate the sensitive process of vetting prospective partners and going from the first hello to commitment, consider getting the personalized support of a Dating & Relationship Coach.
I'd love to assist you in developing your most authentic and effective dating strategy and support you as you build the happiest and healthiest relationship of your life!