Spring Clean Your Relationship Clutter

Spring is here! This is the time of year when people clear out their closets, clean their homes, and refresh their wardrobes. But what about the other stuff? The stuff that actually matters? The stuff that you bury in your heart? The stuff that you are too scared to face?

Yea, that stuff.

I call this relationship clutter. It’s old baggage from past relationships – baggage that we either consciously or subconsciously cling to. This clutter is the reason why you’ve found yourself in a cycle of mediocre, awful, or toxic relationships. If you feel as though your relationships seem to embody the same theme… it’s because they do. When you hold onto your relationship clutter, you’re holding onto those stories; you replay events over and over again, driving yourself to insanity. Then you find yourself going out on another date with another mistake because you have yet to learn your lesson.

It’s time for you to spring clean your relationship clutter. Let go of the stories, release the past, and make room for healthier, more fulfilling relationships. You can do so by following these 3 steps:

Recognize Your Clutter

Ask yourself: “What old relationship stories am I holding onto?” Are you holding onto stories of being cheated on? Being dumped? Or feeling neglected? Take some time to reflect back on your past relationships… What did you walk away with? How were you left feeling? Recognize each and every single one of these stories so that you can finally accept their presence in your life.

Acknowledge The Clutter’s Affect On Your Life

How does your old relationship clutter affect you? What type of impact does it have on new relationships? I’m going to assume the impact isn’t positive. When you hold onto past relationship stories, you’re allowing those stories to hold power over you. They will seep into every new relationship experience, tarnishing it from becoming something different. For example, if you’re holding onto stories of being cheated on, you’ll probably find yourself living a ‘victim’ mentality and won’t be willing to trust a new partner. This is how you end up in a toxic relationship cycle. Go ahead – take note of how each past experience holds power over your current life. If you want to gain your power back, you’ve got to clean out the clutter.

Release The Clutter

This step is all about your willingness to move forward. It’s time to release your old relationship clutter. This is where you start dropping F-Bombs, aka FORGIVENESS. You’re probably cringing at the F-word, but that’s because you don’t fully understand how forgiveness serves you. Forgiveness does not condone another person’s actions; it’s about allowing yourself the freedom to let go. The more anger and resentment you hold against another human being, the stronger the bond. Think about it… Remember your ex? The one who cheated on you? How many times a day do you think about them? How have your thoughts about them negatively impacted new relationships? You’ve basically rendered yourself powerless to this person! It’s time to let go. Forgive them, forgive yourself, and cut the ropes that keep you tied to your past. Clean out every single piece of relationship clutter from your subconscious knowing that by doing so, you’ll create space for healthier, more positive relationships. FYI: If you’re having difficulty with this step, I would question your willingness to actually create change.

Relationship clutter is comprised of all our old wounds, hurts, and scars. But guess what? These things heal! You just have to allow them the opportunity to heal. It’s time for you to get rid of that stuff. It’s time for you to rid yourself of these old wounds. And Spring is the perfect time to begin cleaning out your relationship clutter.

Two Ways To Break Up Without Breaking Down

Kevin’s voice and hands shook as he told me how he yearned to break up with Sheila, his girlfriend of three years. The trouble was, the thought of leaving terrified him. He was beset by what-ifs: What if he didn’t find anyone else, or anyone better? What if he’d been with Sheila so long, he should just stay? What if he couldn’t make himself hurt her this way?

But the most important question of all was one he didn’t ask—and one we all need to. What if you stay with the wrong person?
Part of dating is hurting others—as painlessly as possible. How painlessly? And how worded? That depends in part on the seriousness of the relationship.

What to say

If you’ve just begun seeing someone, or you are turning down a first date, you can do it over the phone and say:
“Thank you for asking me, but I don’t feel like we’ve got enough in common” or, “Thanks so much, but I’m just not interested.”

And if it’s a more serious, longer-lasting relationship—like Kevin’s–, you can meet in person (unless you feel unsafe), and use this script:
“I’ve really enjoyed _____________ about you. But I don’t think we have enough in common to continue, and I don’t feel the way I’d need to for us to move forward together.”
Repeat either script as often as needed, like a broken record, until the break-up meeting is over.

Why this works

When I conducted a break-up survey that asked people, “What words would you most like [your partner] to use when they break up with you?” men and women of all ages and backgrounds overwhelmingly wanted honesty, but not brutality. Respondents strongly preferred their former date to say something worthy about them, and then to proceed to an honest but kind reason for the break-up. The most-desired reasons reflected the theme of a poor match: “It’s just not going to work out,” “I don’t think we’re right for each other,” “We don’t have enough in common,” and/or “We’re not a good enough match.”

Factually speaking, they’re on the right track for long-term happiness. Dozens of studies show that similarity is the best pathway to the widespread goal of a happy union. So saying, “I don’t think we have enough in common to continue” is not only clear and brief—it’s Truth, a reason deeply rooted in the reality of what makes for a happy permanent relationship. Other studies show that kindness in our actions is a rock-bottom requirement for happiness with anyone. So avoiding character assassination and focusing on our own feelings instead works. And bonus! This method is unassailable: You feel how you feel, period.

Did Kevin break up? You bet. And he told me the pain of worrying about it was far worse than how he felt afterwards; afterwards, he felt free to find a better match.
The price of finding the right one is bypassing every wrong one, including everyone who’s almost-but-not-quite what you need. Nobody ever said, “Thank you for settling for me!” Set yourself—and this other person—free.

Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., is the author of Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do (2015). This is a partial excerpt, copyrighted by the author. You can get a free chapter and read more at http://www.lovefactually.co

Top 5 Date Ideas For Someone Working The night shift

It’s taxing enough working the night shift – add being single into that equation, and a whole new set of challenges is brought to the table.  It may be significantly more difficult to meet new people, plan creative dates, coordinate schedules, and prevent yourself from intermittently dozing off, but never fear! We’ve found some surprisingly sweet early morning and late afternoon date ideas that may leave those run-of-the-mill 5-9 workers more than a little jealous.

Here are 5 new date ideas to cultivate any relationship, even if it has to revolve around the graveyard shift:

1) Watch the Sunrise: Most people rarely get the opportunity to observe the quiet understated beauty of a beach-front sun rise. Alternatively, an early morning park stroll while watching the sun reflecting dew on foliage is infinitely more romantic than spending your evening in a crowded restaurant. If you don’t live near a beach or park, you can still enjoy the beautiful sunrise coming up over the mountains or desert.

2) Walk through a Museum: Museums are usually relatively empty after 4 pm  providing a stellar opportunity to bond with your date in a more intimate setting. If you really want to impress your special someone, read up on the exhibits in advance and play tour guide. Many people view museums as a highly cultured date, but don’t be discouraged or feel it’s above you. There are museums for every taste – like modern art, wax, sports, and natural history, so let your mind wander to some of your most unexplored interests and start researching options in your area!

3) Play some Golf: Mini-golf, or even a game of pool is a fun late afternoon activity that will allow you and your date to interact and engage even when the conversation stops flowing. Make it even more fun by adding some friendly competition to the game ie.  the winner has to buy the loser a drink after the game or the loser has to make dinner for two on your next date.

4) Go Swimming: Every major city has a water park, but most adults view it as a place for kids. If you head to the water park when most kids are at school, and you’re out of work, you will practically own the place. And the best part: you don’t have to stand in line or cut in front of 6 year olds who aren’t paying attention. Swimming in a crowded pool can be stifling, making it hard to communicate, so you will need to make an extra effort when it comes to conversation by the pool. Make sure you leave the reading material at home.

5) Relax at a Quiet Cafe  Most 9 to 5 workers don’t like to drink coffee in the evening because they have to sleep, but for those on the overnight, this is prime time to recharge. Enjoy a quiet conversation at your favorite local cafe or bistro before you go to work. Many cafes and bistros offer board games and puzzles while you enjoy a cup of your favorite Joe or tea. An evening coffee is a low-pressure environment that will let your date see you can sustain a relationship, despite working on the overnight shift.