I am not claiming nor will ever claim that I am some relationship expert. I think if I was, I probably would have had many more successful relationships, or had avoided the unhealthy ones. With that said, I speak from my point of view and from my experiences only so please do not take this as “expert” advice because god knows I’m no expert.

With all that said, ladies and gents, if you are recently single, heed my advice, try to avoid at all costs the “rebound relationship”. Granted, not all rebound relationships are doomed, I guess its depends on a lot of different factors but for me personally, rebounding was always a HUGE mistake.

For starters, depending on how long your relationships were, if it was only a month or two, jumping into a new relationship might not matter much or maybe you’re one of those serial relationship people who goes from one relationship to the next without breathing in between, that’s okay too. Whatever your circumstance is, everyone is different but if you have been in a long-term relationship (especially if it was an unhealthy one) almost always you lose a part of your own identity. Many times you become so dependent on this one person that many times you lose yourself in the process. Your lives kind of morph into one after some time you pretty much forget how life was like before them. You get to a point in your relationship that you believe your own happiness is dependent on your partner and vice versa.

So usually when a break up occurs, one of you, or maybe even both, feel completely lost. Now you are in this world, alone, feeling like a little fish in a big pond. Kind of like the feeling when you walk into kindergarten for your first time and you’re forced to let go of your moms hand.

What the fuck do I do now? Who am I without this person?

We’ve all been there. We’ve all felt that feeling. Laying in bed with no one to text “I love you” to. Hearing that song that you two used to sing and dance to in the car and having your heart stop. Driving past places that you had good times at. You dedicated your life to this person and suddenly they are gone and you are left empty, alone, and completely lost without them.

My friends, this is precisely why it is a horrible idea to jump into a relationship too soon. Your brain is so fucked up with so many emotions you think that getting with someone else will ease the pain, which yeah it might for a while, but it is just a band aid. You took no time to heal your broken heart, work through the pain, or find your identity again. You are just taking all your baggage into the next relationship trying to fill the void your ex left. Granted, after a breakup some people can get over it right away, and if that’s the case you were not really in love with that person to begin with, or you were cheating (but that’s a whole other story).

Taking time to reflect on the relationship and yourself is the best thing you could do for countless reasons. For instance, when my ex and I broke up I got into a relationship about 2 months later. For some people maybe 2 months is a long enough time to heal, but after 3 years of being with my ex I knew that wasn’t enough time and despite what everyone said, I jumped into it head first. In the beginning I was having the time of my life, this guy was everything I was looking for and then some. He had a good head on his shoulders, attractive, loved the same things I did, and was just a genuine sweetheart. Our first date we hit it off really well, our first kiss was amazing, on paper he was the perfect guy. About 2 months into it I started to get that sinking feeling in my stomach. I started questioning myself and my relationship with him and began to distance myself. It finally hit me that I jumped into it too fast, I still was not healed from my last relationship, I still didn’t know exactly what I wanted. That’s when I knew I had to end it as much as I didn’t want to hurt him, I did.

As perfect as he could have been for me, it just wasn’t the right time and I feel horrible that he got sucked into it. I knew what I had to do at that point and it was to just throw myself into soul searching mode. At that point I told myself I’d wait an entire year before even considering getting into anything serious with anyone, and despite several people coming into my life, I have stuck by that promise.

Since then I have dedicated most of my time to doing things for ME. I started a diet (hasn’t been that consistent), went to the gym 6 days a week, spending a lot of time with family and friends. I began seeing a therapist (i’m telling you it works). I started doing things I loved again which I stopped doing for a long time. Hiking, writing, painting, photography and reading. I purged my room of shit I didn’t need anymore. I bought new clothes, had photo shoots for myself,  got a new tattoo, and changed my hair color twice (typical me). I made  a list of my biggest fears and decided to start taking steps to conquering them. One of those fears was to fly, which I’ve done tons of but never alone, so I took a trip and a leap of faith to England (to meet a guy), by myself. I’m going to blog about that later!

This is only some of the things I’ve been doing to rediscover who I am, find where my place is in this world, and to really heal my soul. I knew getting into a relationship so soon would have been the most unhealthy ways to cope with the loss of my ex. I thought for so long that my relationship defined me and my happiness that I truly lost who I was as a person. When you get out of a relationship the course of your life and future changes, you need to accept that new direction before starting on a new path with someone else.

It’s been almost a year since my ex and I parted ways and to say this has been a journey would be an understatement. I have discovered things about myself I never even imagined (things I liked and didn’t like). I am probably the most healthiest I’ve ever been in my entire life, and have  become the best version of myself through this process.

Looking back there are many things about who I was that I didn’t like. Had I not taken the time alone this past year to figure that out, I would have never gotten to this place in my life. I would have carried those negative qualities into the next relationship and it would be a vicious cycle. Taking the time to reflect on the past has made me see what I will no longer settle for, what I want and don’t want in a future relationship.

I am still learning to be okay with being alone, some days are easier than others. I know right now it is something that I have to do for myself and for my future. When the time does come, when that full year I promised myself does come around in July, I don’t know if I’ll be ready or not. Sometimes I think I am but I know there’s so much more I could learn about myself still. I used to be so hell bent on finding someone to be with that I lost focus on the most important person in my life, me.

I can finally say with 100% confidence that I do love who I am. I have finally found worth in myself. I know when the time does come when someone enters my life I could give them a version of myself that I could never give anyone in my past. I never took the time to soul search, to look beyond depending on another person for my happiness. The next person who I end up with will be loved beyond measure because of the love I have for myself. Until the universe sends them my way, I’m going to keep healing.

So heed my advice, take all the time you need to find yourself again. It will be a really difficult journey i’m not going to lie, but I promise, it will be the most rewarding one. Good luck and happy soul searching.