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Taking that leap back onto the dating scene after a breakup or divorce is a courageous step. 
It’s taken a lot of time to rediscover yourself again and get yourself back to a place where you feel confident. But this often means there’s a sense of apprehension that comes with opening yourself up again to the dating game. 
So, what steps can you take as you reenter the dating game to protect yourself and your sense of self? 

Meet your fundamental needs first. 

There are many fundamental needs that, as human beings, we need to maintain in order to survive, thrive and feel satisfied, including; 
Getting 8 hours of sleep per night 
Maintaining a safe and tidy living space 
Drinking water 
Eating a balanced and nutritious diet 
Regularly getting outside the house or office 
Doing laundry 
Showering daily 
Brushing your teeth twice a day 
These are all things we should be doing regularly but don't necessarily think - they’re just part of life. But when we enter into relationships these are commonly the things that we deny ourselves or break our routine with. How many times in the past have you got into a new relationship and noticed the laundry piling up in the corner of the room? Or felt tired because you can't sleep at their house but find yourself regularly making excuses and staying over theirs. 
When you say yes to fulfilling your basic needs you're showing them how much you (and they should) value your self worth. 

If you can do a task without them, do it. 

Nobody likes doing the weekly foodshop alone. For many, it's a necessary evil that's made that bit more tolerable by the company of your significant other. Doing tasks like this together is a great way to spend bonus time together, but be careful not to fall into the mindset that they need to come along with you on every trip to the supermarket. 
If they can’t make it or don’t want to come along, don't use this as an excuse to put the task off until another day when they are up for joining. When you do this, you tell your brain that you aren’t capable of completing this task alone. You can also find yourself becoming codependent on that person for simple tasks that are needed to meet your basic needs. 
Completing these tasks by yourself will give you a massive confidence boost when you prove to yourself that you can do this task without them. It will also give you the confidence to take on more challenges alone like a new hobby or skill that will help you to build and maintain your individual sense of self. 

Don’t rearrange your plans to fit in with your partner's schedule. 

In this same sense, if you already have plans - whether they’re with friends, hobbies or just some planned me time - stick to them. The same goes for rearranging plans to fit in with work pressures but that's a whole other article! These are the people and activities that make up your important parts of identity, yet they always seem to be the first things a lot of people detach themselves from when entering into a new relationship. 
It might feel like you’re showing your partner how much you care for them and value their time and commitments. But cancelling your plans to fit in around your new partner's schedule can undermine any boundaries you have set (or are in the process of setting) regarding your time and your self worth. 

Don't expect your partner to read between the lines. 

There’s nothing more attractive in a romantic novel or movie than a significant other who just seems to “instinctively know” what their partner wants and needs without being told. In reality though, none of us are mind readers. They might make some good guesses from time to time but if you don't tell them exactly what you need, how can you expect them to know? 
Communicate what you need and want from them clearly and effectively. And keep those communication channels open by allowing them the time to tell you what they want and need from the relationship too. 
These are all small changes you can make when entering into the dating game again that are vital to protecting yourself and your identity. But these aren't always easy to implement at first. If you’d like some support setting the best foundations, book a free call with us today to find out how we can help. 
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