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5 Essential Tips to Ensure Happiness the Second Time Around

Learning What's Important in a Relationship from the Mistakes of the Past

Key points

  • Relationships often fail because people don't understand what relationships require to be sustainable, healthy, and satisfying.
  • The mistakes and missteps people make in intimate relationships is often a result of lack of experience.
  • It's totally possible to have a better, more satisfying, and happier relationship the second time around.
  • A happier intimate relationship requires introspection and honesty about your past relationship failure & knowing what you want moving forward.

So it didn’t work out. The relationship you’d always dreamed about. The person who was your forever love. You began your life together so full of excitement about the future you would build together. So many hopes. Forever happy—or so you thought. But for one reason or another it just didn’t turn out the way you thought it would. So in love at the beginning and at the end so full of hurt, disappointment, anger, and confusion. What went wrong? And what now?

When you fall in love it’s so easy to think that you’ll stay in love forever. So much of what you may feel at the beginning of a significant relationship is heavily colored by attraction. You can’t get enough of the other person. It’s that attraction that keeps the relationship so exciting at the beginning. But, as many of us have come to learn, life has a way of taking over. Sure, you may still feel that excitement and glow. But, life settles down and it becomes the business of making a life together—for better or worse.

So many factors may and do influence how a relationship unfolds. You become part of a larger family, and that’s often a good thing. But sometimes family members are intrusive in a relationship causing disharmony and stress. Sometimes, careers clash between partners. Life gets complicated when children arrive. Finances are often a burden and partners disagree. Sometimes the things that made you happy individually just don’t anymore.

Oftentimes, people just get bored with life and with each other. Sometimes, this boredom causes one or both partners to look elsewhere for the attention they’re no longer getting from their relationship. And sometimes, other people insinuate themselves into a relationship causing discord, disruption, and mistrust. There are just so many reasons why a once strong bond can become weak and fragile. When nothing more can be done to salvage what once was, there’s nothing else to do but dissolve the relationship.

Here are a few essential tips to help you navigate love the second time around. And beyond love, these tips will help you recognize those elements that are absolutely necessary for a happier, more satisfying relationship.

Don’t Jump in Too Soon. Take your time. What’s the hurry? First of all, there’s all the untangling that’s necessary when a relationship is over. Everything needs to be separated. There are legal and financial considerations along with the psychological, emotional, and mental ones. There are logistical changes—often leaving a home for one of your own.

You need the time to figure out why your relationship didn’t work out. Whose fault was it? Were both of you responsible for the demise of your relationship? What part was yours? Do you understand what you did that contributed to the separation and dissolution of your relationship? Have you come to terms with it or are you still overwhelmed by anger and confusion?

Before you’re ready to call the whole thing a failure, think seriously about the positives of the relationship—and there were. What did you get out of the relationship? What parts were satisfying to you? What did you ultimately learn about having a relationship?

Second of all, You need the time to be alone; to get back in touch with yourself again. You need the time to take care of yourself and to be without outside distractions. Sometimes you need time to lick your wounds and to feel sorry for yourself. That’s perfectly healthy as long as you know that one day the soul-searching and pain will subside and you’ll find the strength and the optimism to try to find love again—but better this time.

Create an inventory of do’s and don’t’s. This should include what worked for you in this relationship and what didn’t, which ultimately, contributed to the ending of the relationship. This may take you a long time to accomplish. In the process be very honest with yourself about what you may have contributed to the failed relationship. Knowing it is one thing but actually, sitting and writing it down clarifies and validates it.

Where did you and your significant other part ways? Did the important things that you agreed upon at the beginning change significantly? Did you exhaust all the possible remedies to get you back on track? When did these differences ( for example, changes in your individual values, and/or changes in the direction you had both planned your life would take) become irreconcilable and irreparable?

Include within this inventory, how you’ve changed during the course of this relationship and after, for example, how you meet challenges now as opposed to before. What strengths and coping mechanisms have you developed?

Commit to getting what you need and want in a relationship. What is absolutely non-negotiable moving forward? What values and goals can never be compromised? When we’re not aware, simply don’t know what to expect from a relationship, we may find ourselves giving into a partner even though it may be against our better judgment and our principles. If relationship has taught you nothing else it should have taught you what a working relationship is all about— its complexities on all levels.

Now that you’ve been through a relationship and have some idea about what is required to sustain it and, conversely, what patterns and behaviors lead to its failure, you should be very aware of serious red flags and make no excuse for them. What you see is what you see and love won’t change that. The bottom line—trust yourself; trust what you feel and what you know.

Have a life of your own. I know it sounds counter-intuitive but it’s essential that you keep your own personal, intimate life intact and thriving. A healthy relationship allows for time together but certainly time apart. Living for yourself, first and foremost, allows you to become a better partner. If you’re happy, your partner should be happy.

All too often, people become so enmeshed in each other’s life in a relationship that they forget who they are and what they need to have a happy, satisfying life. Sometimes, this leads to one partner becoming dominant in a relationship, so much so that their needs and wants take precedent. Maintain your own self and honor your own integrity.

Commit to work on your relationship every day. Have daily conversations. Make time for serious talks. Focus on each other’s happiness and satisfaction. Are you getting what you need and want out of the relationship? Are there issues that need to be aired, that need immediate attention? Don’t let time and life get in the way of working out differences, compromising when possible to please both partners. Checking in every day says to your partner that your honor and respect them; that what they feel and think is of the utmost importance to you.

Remember, a forever relationship is a work in progress. You don’t just arrive one day and that’s it. Life changes and so do we as individuals. A healthy relationship requires constant nurturing and tender-loving care.

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