Starting a new relationship is an exciting time, and research has shown time and time again that good relationships are good for us. If you’re ready to start a new relationship, or have just started one, there are a few questions to ask of yourself — and of the relationship itself — before things progress. We’ve summarised a few of them below.
When is the right time for me to start a new relationship?
The simple answer is after you have fully come to terms with the end of your previous relationship.
It takes time, especially if you didn’t want the previous relationship to end. Being alone is not easy after being married or in a long‐term relationship, especially if you have children living with you.
In thinking about the best time to re‐partner consider:
- Are you emotionally free? Can you put all your emotional energy into a new relationship without allowing your feelings about the previous relationship to get in the way?
- do you find yourself thinking about your ex‐partner and do these thoughts still arouse strong feelings such as anger and resentment?
- Have you adjusted to being single?
- Have you regained your self‐confidence?
- Can you look back on your previous relationship and recognise some of the things that contributed to its breakdown?
- Cave you talked through all the issues that might arise in a new relationship?
Listen to any doubts you may have. Talking to a counsellor might help you resolve some of the past issues that are still affecting you. If necessary, wait a little longer.
What do I want from a new relationship?
What you want from a relationship depends on your situation. People at different life stages have very different needs in relationships. It helps avoid hurt down the track if you understand what you want:
- long‐term commitment and marriage?
- open to seeing what happens?
- a friendship or companion?
- casual sex?
How will I know this new relationship will work out?
Once you’ve begun a new relationship, you may be asking yourself if this will last for the long term. While it’s almost impossible to know how a relationship will work out, and nobody has a crystal ball to see into the future, there are a few key questions you can ask yourself to ensure you’re giving the relationship the best chance.
- Do we communicate well? Being able to have a constructive conversation is an important part of any relationship, and doing the groundwork from the start will lay the foundation for open and honest communication to continue throughout the life of your relationship.
- Do they show me respect, and do I respect them? Respect goes both ways. Ask yourself if you feel respected by the other person, and in the same way, if you feel like you can treat them with respect and dignity.
- Do I feel safe physically and emotionally? It should go without saying, but if you ever feel unsafe physically when you’re with someone new, then it makes sense to get support and reconsider the relationship. Red flags at the start of a relationship may turn into bigger problems later down the track.
Remember: all relationships require effort
You may need to give some thought as to the best ways to find the right person for you, or you might be lucky and meet someone you like through a friend, at work or through a shared interest. What ever happens, look after yourself and stay safe.
A new relationship can be magical from the start, or it may start off slowly, but in the end, all relationships need thought and effort if you are both going to remain happy.