I’ve dated around in Kingston since living here and am in my last few months in this city. About six months ago, the person I was seeing—and was excited to begin a relationship with—told me they didn’t believe in monogamy and didn’t want to see things progress romantically. Since then, I’ve cut ties with them and have been giving myself time and space to grieve so I can be ready for something real when I begin my next chapter. Though I thought I’d take a break from dating all together, I’ve started hooking up with an old flame, but I’m worried this will stunt my healing process.
What are your thoughts on all this? Can I simultaneously grieve for this lost relationship while still getting to a last little bit of fun?
Looking to move on
Dear Looking to move on,
What I find wonderful about your note is your eminent self-awareness. Having these conversations with yourself and your support system (and me) while being open to changing your circumstances is a great way to find what’s best for you.
I can tell you’ve been put through a slew of emotions recently. It absolutely sucks when someone you see a future with doesn’t share the sentiment—especially when they’ve shown otherwise through their words and actions.
Navigating a casual fling can be tricky when you’re still in the aftermath of a lost connection.
As much as I’ll try to give you a few words of wisdom, it’s important to acknowledge that healing and moving on is a unique process, since everyone copes with the end of a romantic connection differently. Some people prefer to take a break from dating altogether, while others might find comfort and distraction in casual hookups. While I’ve tried both strategies, I find myself preferring to be either single or in a committed relationship. The middle area has never been for me. But again, it’s personal!
If you feel engaging with your old flame provides you some enjoyment and escape from the heartbreak, that’s perfectly okay. Though I can feel you’ve reflected on this in your self-awareness, you must ensure your rebound doesn’t become a way to avoid addressing your grief or dealing with your emotional wounds. In the long run, avoiding feelings becomes detrimental, as you’ll end up carrying open wounds into your future relationships. A complete recovery where you’ve taken the time to patch up all your scars is crucial to avoiding similar situations, self-sabotage, and toxic relationships.
Regardless of how you choose to continue, don’t forget to prioritize self-care during this period. I know you’ve heard this a million times, but it’s important. Focus on activities that help you heal and grow, such as therapy, spending time with supportive friends, and exploring new interests. If the conventional stuff doesn’t help, try something crazy like smashing a plate on which you’ve written everything you’re having trouble letting go of, going to a rage room, or even taking a social media cleanse.
Give yourself some space to grieve—be it single or entangled in someone’s sheets—and get ready for your next romantic chapter as you move away from Kingston and leave all that’s holding you back behind. When you’re ready, open yourself up and let what you need find you. As you move away and begin your new adventure, write down your future relationship goals and make them as specific as possible. It’s like planning a vacation—you need to know where you’re headed and what you want to get out of it.
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