Dear A to Z,
I just got out of a relationship and I’ve been through the requisite months of self-loathing, depression and weekly (actually, let’s face it … daily) Ben & Jerry’s pig-outs. I haven’t even been attracted to (let alone intrigued by) anyone until recently.
How do I get back on the horse, especially when I have all this baggage? This new candidate is a shy guy, while my ex was really outgoing. Should I ask him to lunch? Should I tell him about my recent break-up? Please help!
Dear Single Again,
We are glad to hear that you have a new prospect. You must be getting “back on the horse” already. New attractions are always the start of new developments, and new developments are the best way to move on from the past.
If your prior relationship took such a toll on you, do your best to establish exactly what baggage you are carrying, and what you can do to make sure it doesn’t affect you or your future relationships in a negative way.
Break-ups can be a great thing for your own personal development, even if they are devastating on the surface. They give you the opportunity to step back and look at your role in the romantic, sexual and social dynamics of a relationship. You might not have gotten A+ marks across the board in those realms, but pragmatic introspection should help you gain the insight you need to bring your relationship GPA up for this semester. By transforming your self-loathing into self-assessment, you can effectively turn your baggage into a positive. Break-ups suck, but they aren’t the end of the world. When one door closes …
As for getting back on the horse more literally, asking him to lunch might not be a bad idea if he is particularly shy. The context of your first date isn’t nearly as important as your composure and communication.
Coffee dates can be boring or noteworthy. Romantic dinners can be awkward or game-changing.
Take it slow and get to know him before you take it any further. You never want to enter into a relationship with the intent of changing a major part of somebody’s personality. Make sure that his shy personality doesn’t bother you. Also, there is no need to tell him immediately about your recent break-up.
If it stems naturally from your conversation, go for it, but only drop a brief, “I’m just getting over a serious relationship,” because he does not need to know any more. Otherwise, it shouldn’t hang over the earliest part of your new relationship, so feel free to seize the day and hop back on the horse.
Last but not least, ease up on the Ben & Jerry’s. Spring Break is right around the corner and Cherry Garcia doesn’t look great in a bikini.
A and Z