Zen + Sex = Starting Over?

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Zen + Sex = Starting Over?
Ready to get back out there? 3 things you need to know.

Men and women have to redefine themselves after a relationship ends and reinvent their lives. If they do it well, it can lead to the most satisfying and successful years they've had. Dating successfully after divorce or a breakup requires several steps to recover from the breakup.

Understanding what went wrong in the last relationship so you don't repeat the pattern. Identifying the kind of partner you're looking for and developing social networks involving these kinds of people.

Some people never date again, or don't do so for a long time. People who wait a long time, or never date are trying to avoid repeating old mistakes and having hurt feelings, loss, disappointment and grief. This is akin to not changing anything in your departed partner's closet, because you don't want to face the pain. A better way to do it is to work through the pain, and learn from it as you go. You can figure out what went wrong, what your mistakes were, and how to correct all that and re-think your idea of relationships. This may require the help of a therapist.

Once you've taken the steps needed to recover from a breakup, finding a new love is simple, because you've changed the odds to be in your favor. But here are a few tips to help you as you start dating again.

1. Don't Have Sex Right Away With Your New Partner

Keep in mind that, if you have sex right away, it usually brands the relationship as sex-only, and you don't get taken seriously. So, if you want to see if you can manage it, pick someone you're attracted to, but realize there's no relationship there. Also, if you're the type who bonds upon having sex, keep that in mind — your partner may not be, so make sure there's some bonding there before you try it.

2. Take Precautions When You Do Have Sex

Safe sex, of course. If you're female, don't just worry about pregnancy — make sure you're informed about disease as well. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) can be deadly and devastating, so always provide a condom and insist on using it unless you're both tested and in a committed relationship (with someone you can trust).

3. Deal With The Awkwardness Of Sex With A New Partner

I recommend the zen idea of a beginner's mind: Accept that everything you're doing now is new to you, and open yourself to learning about it. Wide-eyed wonder at whatever happens is very attractive. I'm not talking about being brainless or thoughtless — on the contrary, a beginner's mind is alert, observing, and open to new ideas. Your objective is to learn, about what people are doing, who they are, what the possibilities are, and how it all fits in to your goals.

Everything you've learned about relationships and dating in your past is certainly useful, and you’ll draw on it as we go along, but your general approach to this process is as a beginner — 'I'm new at this, I want to learn.' Because you're a beginner, you can open lots of conversations by simply asking questions about what’s going on.

More Dating Advice from YourTango:

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Tina Tessina

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Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
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Credentials: LMFT, MFT, PhD
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