Relationships are hard. That is patently obvious to those who have been through a few. For young lovers exploring relationships for the first time, it is not so obvious. Their youth and beauty blinds them to one of the oldest and ugliest realities: Humans are hard to get along with. The worst pain inflicted on you by another person will be from the ones you most love and trust. That is the nature of intimacy. It also makes you vulnerable to disappointment and heartbreak.
It is almost universally understood that rushing into a rebound relationship is a bad idea. You need some time after a bad breakup to assess what went wrong and what improvements you can make for the next one. Unfortunately, relationships leave a void that demands to be filled as quickly as possible. We know we should wait. But we are compelled to ignore that better judgement.
How do we silence the voice of nature that shouts at us to rush in where angels fear to tread? How do we afford ourselves the appropriate time without going completely mad? Here are a few suggestions that will help keep you safely single until the right person comes along:
1. Rediscover the Joy of Pet Ownership
When it comes to apartment rentals, cats can often go places where dogs cannot. Cats are also easy to acquire and tend to cost a lot less than dogs both initially and over time. Cats are also more independent. So they better fit into a busy schedule.
Now that you are out of your time and energy-consuming relationship, try redirecting that energy into your cat who might be feeling a little neglected. Set her up with a better cat tree, new toys, and health-monitoring litter that can notify you when your cat is ill by changing color. Set up cat litter delivery on a regular basis so you don’t run out of the good stuff at awkward times.
It helps to be responsible for another person. And as any cat will tell you, cats are people, too. You will reduce the urge to jump into another relationship if you are already in a meaningful relationship with your pets. So use the occasion of your breakup to make the relationship you have with your pets more meaningful. It is not a permanent solution. But it will help you get through the toughest part.
2. Focus on Your Education
One of the best ways to survive your ex moving on when you haven’t is to use that time to focus on your education. Few things consume your time and attention like piles of schoolwork with deadlines attached. You don’t exactly have time to go out on dates when your midterms are due and count for a third of your final grades.
The best thing about focusing on your education is that you will reap the benefits for the remainder of your life. No one ever received fewer career opportunities by gaining more education. College grads earn considerably more than people with just a high school diploma. That benefit is far more valuable than any youthful, rebound relationship.
3. Take up a Hobby
There are a lot of things we give up when taking on a relationship. One of those things is a hobby or interest that consumes a lot of time and resources. One of the best things about being out of a relationship is having the time to go back to the things we enjoy and don’t have to justify to anyone.
Dig out those oversized binoculars and catalog every bird that happens to land on your neglected feeder. Buy another pack of the good paper and fold your way into origami bliss. Roll out that yoga mat and stretch like Elastigirl. Reignite your passion for the things that didn’t fit into your old life with that other person whose name you are already starting to forget.
Ending a romantic relationship is never easy. But you can get through it without making an even bigger mistake. Just focus on your pets who need you more than ever, your education that will benefit you forever, and your hobbies that will define you and get you through the tough times when they come along.