Should I be starting a relationship so soon after ending one?
Hi Jacie! Thank you so much for asking this valuable question! I can tell that you are wondering about a plan to proceed with your next relationship. It sounds like you are debating whether or not you should be starting a relationship soon after ending your last relationship. Essentially, the answer to your question will have to come from you. I will do my best to provide you with some insight and guidance to help you make the best decision for yourself as possible!
I know that you mentioned that you and your ex were together for sixteen years until you had separated due to his recent deployment. I would say that sixteen years is a long time to be in a relationship with someone. What were some of the highlights or important memories of this relationship? Did you make the decision to separate due to the physical separation of his deployment? Was this a mutual agreement for you both? Was there a time in which you two had considered getting back together after the deployment had ended? I can certainly imagine that staying with someone who is at risk of deployment at any given point would be a significant challenge for a relationship. It seems like you made the best decision for yourself at the time and chose to end the relationship.
In addition, it sounds like since you have separated from your ex, you have started seeing someone else. Now that you have begun a new relationship, are you questioning whether or not you are ready to continue with the relationship with that individual? In what ways are your comparing your current boyfriend with your ex? How would you say that these two individuals are similar? What are some of their major differences? Take some time to contemplate some of these questions. I would like to encourage you to make a list of the qualities that you like to have in a partner. If you are comfortable with making a pros and cons list about each of these relationship experiences, that may be beneficial for you, as well. Perhaps you may also benefit from constructing a timeline of your relationship history.
If you truly feel like it is simply too soon to start a new relationship, then it is okay to take a step back, take it slow, take a break and spend time focusing on yourself. Your needs are incredibly important and it is vital to take some time for yourself, especially in between ending a relationship and starting a new one. I realize that sometimes relationships are back to back or even overlap. It is ultimately up to you to decide if it is too soon for you to be with someone new or if you are ready to start fresh with someone else once again.
I know that you mentioned that you have been trying to feel happy for some time now. What are some of the things that allow you to feel a sense of happiness? How would you describe your hobbies, interests and values? Perhaps you can begin the process of identifying your thoughts on happiness and create a brainstorm, write a bullet point running list or start a word splash of your ideals for happiness. I think it makes sense why you would seek happiness for yourself. Maybe you can come up with a flow chart or a step by step list on how you can achieve happiness now and in the future.
The fact that you would like to curl up into a ball may indicate that you are searching for a sense of comfort and security. I would like to recommend two different EMDR resourcing activities for you to try. The first one is the Butterfly Hug. The butterfly hug may bring you a sense of security. For this exercise, you cross your arms across your chest and envision your hands as butterfly wings. Gently tap your hands on your shoulders, arms or elbows and envision the flapping wings of a butterfly. This method is thought to bring physiological sense of calmness to individuals who are willing to try this tapping method.
Here is a link to the an article of the butterfly hug directive and a YouTube video on this technique :
I also think that it would be a good idea for you to try the inner peaceful place guided visualization activity. In this directive, you can imagine a personalized place of peace. What do you imagine seeing in your peaceful place? What sounds might you hear? What smells would there be? Take your time to imagine any tactile sensations or tastes that you would experience in this place of peace. No matter what you envision, remember that you can trust yourself to return to this place of inner peace at any time.
Here is the link to the script for the inner peaceful place strategic:
In addition to trying out some of these techniques, I recommend creating some art work that depicts your vision for yourself and the future of your relationship. One idea could be to draw an image using lines, shapes and colors to represent the feelings, hopes and dreams of your current relationship. Perhaps you might be willing to color in the shapes of a coloring page, such as a mandala. You can also create a small sculpture using clay or Model magic. Contemplate what symbols you might choose to represent your feelings and experiences in your relationship.
Lastly, I recommend that you begin attending individual counseling services on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. There is an option for you to attend a group or a groupinar on the BetterHelp platform. Trust in the healing nature of the therapeutic process. Thank you again, Jacie, for taking the time to ask this important question on the BetterHelp platform. I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey!