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Exploring Womanhood > Relationships > Articles

Opening Up to Love After Being Hurt
By Natasha Munson

The worst thing you can do is keep yourself in an endless cycle of relationships. You have to take a breather between relationships. That time in between is necessary to let go of any anger and release the baggage. No one, besides a therapist, wants to deal with you and your problems.

If a relationship even has a tinge of "I'll get you through this," it is fated to fail because it will be based on neediness. He'll need to help you. You'll need to be helped. You'll hurt him with your words and actions. He'll stick it through because "he loves you." He'll start hurting you. You'll stick with him because "you love him." And it becomes one vicious mess that you could have avoided.

You are fully empowered to take a break between relationships. It's like a breath of fresh air for your spirit. You get in tune with yourself so you don't become jaded, disillusioned, or embittered. If a man has hurt you in any way in a relationship, do not immediately enter another relationship. Do not even begin to fool yourself and say it's just sexual. That's just a relationship diversion. You have to deal with yourself before you can give yourself, in any capacity, to anyone.

It's best to know why and what you want from a relationship. Don't try to replace the last man with a new man. Don't try to hurt anyone because you've been hurt. Don't become bitter because the last man was a jerk. What you perceive will become your reality. If, based on your experiences, you think all men are jerks and ain't about nothing, guess what type of men you're going to meet. Your perception is your reality.

This is not to say that all relationships end so badly that you need time to heal. But even when one ends well you still need to take time for yourself. Comparing your new man to your ex is just as bad as being bitter -- it will ruin the relationship eventually. So always take time for yourself before dating or entering new relationships.

Once you have allowed yourself to heal and you're no longer thinking about your ex or comparing other men to him, then you can consider dating. But always go into a relationship fresh. Leave behind the baggage and don't expect the new man to be a jerk or a dog.

Expect the best treatment. Expect the best relationship. Don't become intimate immediately and don't start thinking this is the one. Get to know the man you're dealing with. Get to know him as your friend. Learn how to trust. Learn how to love. But do it slowly. Don't rush. A solid relationship needs a foundation of friendship, trust, respect, honesty, and love. It takes time to develop those qualities in each other.

You can open yourself up to love, but know that love must be reciprocal. You will love him and he will love you. You will not need each other, but you will want each other. Love is not needy. Love is not possessive. Love is something that makes your life better and makes you feel happy.

LESSON
Take a breather between each relationship to renew your spirit. It will give you time to know yourself and empower you to make better choices in relationships.

Reprinted from the book Life Lessons for My Sisters: How to Make Wise Choices and Live a Life You Love! by Natasha Munson. Copyright 2005 Natasha Munson. Published by Hyperion; May 2005; $11.95US/$15.95CAN; 1-4013-0805-8.

Author: Natasha Munson is a motivational speaker with a focus on empowering the community one spirit at a time. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, please visit www.sisterlessons.com.

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