Whether you’ve joined the 5 million Canadians who suddenly found themselves single during the pandemic, or whether they’re thriving in a relationship, one thing’s for sure: healthy relationship patterns are hard to form and our patterns make us they follow wherever we go.
Our patterns, from who we choose as romantic partners to how we manage conflict, are deeply rooted in our subconscious patterns and beliefs. The good news is that thanks to neuroplasticity we can change old habits that no longer serve us.
Stop letting your ex occupy real estate in your head and heart
If you are still blaming, analyzing, or hoping to change your ex, you are still in a relationship with them. The emotional charge keeps you hooked. Sometimes we cling to pain because that is the last part of the relationship we have left. Let it go. Create a space for new energy to enter.
While this may seem easier said than done, the first step is to get hooked when you’re about to talk about your ex, or if you’re going through a spiral of rumination. Do something that can bring you back to the present moment. Making a change of state could help, such as doing a few minutes of jumping, shaking your body, or putting your hands in cold water. Then change the focus theme. If you’re with a friend, talk about a project or something that enlightens you. If you are alone, you can look around and start listing everything you see that you are grateful for and why. This will help your mind to change its thinking. It will take a little practice at first, but by committing to yourself that you will stop talking about your ex and let him occupy the precious real estate of your head and heart, you will begin to notice that it will become easier and easier. .
Try this self-warming hack
You sent a text message 5 hours ago and have not yet received a response. Anxiety begins to intensify. While not listening to your new friend isn’t necessarily a threat to your survival, your body is sure to think so. When faced with extreme emotion, your body is flooded with cortisol and adrenaline. Your body prepares for the fight / flight and the blood flow is directed to the main muscles of the body to prepare you for action. Instead of absorbing energy, try shaking your whole body for a couple of minutes to metabolize excess chemicals from stress. Then take long, deep breaths to calm your nervous system. Make sure your exhalations are longer than your inhalation.
Learn how to connect more securely
Bond theory suggests that at age 2 we develop a bond style that determines how we will relate romantically as adults. There are three main styles of affection: safe, avoidant, and anxious. Securely connected people are not afraid of privacy and are not co-dependent. Avoidants subconsciously suppress their bonding system and tend to suppress intimacy when someone gets too close. Anxious people have a deep-rooted fear of abandonment and rejection. When they perceive a threat to their connection, they cannot calm down until they are sure the link is secure. Becoming aware of your linking style is the first step, and the second is learning tools to be more secure. You can get a free attachment style questionnaire by signing up for the Renova newsletter.
Courtship is a waltz, not Zumba
If you have a history of codependency in relationships or relate to an anxious style of affection, you are likely to rush into relationships. Taking things slowly and playing in the gray area causes anxiety and causes you to put your foot on the accelerator pedal or self-sabotage. If this resonates, it’s important that you learn the art of matching.
The combination approach requires you to give a little, receive a little, and finally, over time, both people are investing and valuing each other at a natural pace and flow.
The courtship process is a dance. You take one step and the other takes a step. It is a gradual construction of relationship and connection. When I say dance, think of waltzes, not Zumba. There is a progression of steps that increase in vulnerability and commitment and you take a step, see how you feel, take stock of how your new romantic interest is emerging and, if conditions are positive, continue.
Matching means taking the time and space to feed a spark into a flame. It means that when you start, you also give space and time for the other person to start. It means not revealing your deepest, darkest secrets on the first date and allowing trust to be built before a revealing memory. It means that if you have sent text messages and have no response, you will not shoot five more text messages and increase your emojis game.
If you want to learn the tools to be safer on your link and create healthier relationship patterns, check out the workshops offered at Renew Breakup Bootcamp.
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