Five Questions to Ask Oneself When a Relationship Ends

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Every person reacts differently when a relationship comes to a close. Some do not want to even think of another relationship and others want to start (or already started) a new relationship ASAP. So, the big question, when are we ready? Are we ever ready for a new relationship?

When a relationship ends, things may be very shaken up and it’s important to have some time to reflect on them and to allow ourselves to heal. Some questions that you might want to ask yourself to determine where you are in this process are:

1. How do you feel when you think of your ex?
Notice what happens when you think of your ex. Do you recognize any of the following feelings?
· Anger
· Hatred
· Guilt
· Shame
· Profound sadness
· Anxiety

If you answer yes to one or more of these, there are probably still things you need to work on before being ready to start something new.

2. How do you feel when you go out alone?
Take a look at what happens when you go out alone to grab a bite to eat or to the movies or to a concert. Do you recognize any of the following sensations?
· Uncomfortableness
· Embarrassment at being alone
· Missing your former partner
· Sadness, anxiety or depression
· Rumination over your ex

If you recognize any of these sensations, you have most likely unfinished grief.

3. How do you feel towards yourself?
When you think of yourself, what do you notice? Do you like yourself? Do you say positive things about yourself in the mirror? Are you critical of yourself? Do you sometimes feel that you are not good enough?

In order to be ready to start a new relationship, we need to be very aware of how we feel towards ourselves, what triggers us and how. We all have insecurities, and sometimes, our insecurities take different forms. We might put ourselves down constantly and feel bad about ourselves or we might become very defensive, protecting ourselves from any hint of feelings of vulnerability.

You know you are ready for a new relationship when you feel comfortable with your vulnerabilities.

4. What happens when someone approaches you?
When someone expresses interest in you, do you recognize any of the following?
· Excitement and eagerness to know the person. Are you quick giving out your contact info or get their information to start contact right away?

· Withdrawal and distrust of their approach.

Too much too fast or too little engagement are signs that you might not be ready yet. These feelings might be telling you that there are still some wounds inside that have not healed and that you might need to process.

Ideally, whenever we meet someone new, we assess how they are and if we have common interests and values. We go slow but feel calm and open to get to know them.

5. How do you feel about the thought of a new relationship?
When you think of starting a new relationship do you experience any of the following?
· Anxiety
· Fear of heartbreak
· Fear of revealing vulnerability
· Fear of the relationship not working
· Fear of failure
· Panic

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might not be ready to start a new relationship. Your gut is telling you so.

When you are ready, you will know it because it will feel right. You will feel good with yourself: calm and with a sense of confidence. You will be able to recognize your emotions. They will be manageable and not overwhelming. When you are able to listen to yourself and your inner wisdom, you will be ready and, you will know it.

About Carolina Castaños Ph.D.

Dr. Castaños is a marriage and family therapist with 20 years of clinical experience specialized in relationships and trauma treatment who works with individuals struggling with relationships due to depression, anxiety, and/or past trauma. She works with couples that are stuck in a negative cycle and wish to reconnect and improve their relationships. She also works with families that are hurting and have difficulty communicating and connecting, especially with those families that work together and own businesses. Dr. Castaños is the creator of an online program designed to help individuals that are struggling after the end of a relationship. This program is designed to heal from the pain caused from a break up while growing and learning about oneself.