Bad Advice / Good Advice
When I found myself single again at forty, I received a lot of awesome advice. Some of it saved me a lot of heartache. Maybe I’ll write about that some other time. Today, let’s talk about some of worst bad advice people give singles.
Get Right Back on That Horse
This is actually great advice … if you’re training for a rodeo. If, however, you have just been through a divorce or a breakup, it’s terrible advice. Some of the most heartbreaking stories I hear come from people who got right back on the dating horse too soon after a breakup.
Rebound relationships are the worst. Two people get together because they feel they ‘have so much in common’. In reality, mostly what they have in common is the pain they feel from their recent breakups. They help each other feel better and forget about the pain. But, the pain is always there – just below the surface – undealt with and unhealed.
Once they date a while, eventually, they discover they have little to nothing else in common. Then they break up and deal with that pain plus the pain from the last breakup that they never dealt with. Then they have a choice – deal with this even greater, compounded pain, or numb the pain with yet another rebound relationship. Many choose what they believe to be the easier route and go for another rebound. This cycle can repeat indefinitely.
Take Time to Heal
Healing takes time. Take a break from dating – a good, long break. If you broke a leg, nobody would tell you to get right back on that leg. Give your heart time to heal up. There will be a time in the future, at an appropriate point in your healing, when you do need to get back on that horse. That time comes later. Don’t rush it.
Which leads us to our next …
Time Heals All Wounds
While it does take lots of time to heal wounds, the mere passing of time heals nothing. This advice insists that if you just wait long enough your heart will magically heal itself. Does that work for physical wounds? It may sometimes, for a minor wound, but we are talking about a major wound, a broken heart.
For a severe wound, you would never just give it time to heal. It would take time, but the wound would also need to be properly taken care of. You may need something as simple as a bit of antibiotic ointment and a bandage. But, you may need that wound cauterized or stitched up. Then it might require months of special protection and special care.
Proper Care Over Time Heals Wounds
If your heart has been broken, that is a severe wound. It will require special, long-term care. You will need to do the things that allow it to heal properly. Keep it out of harm’s way for a while. Don’t expose it to unknown, potentially damaging people. Strengthen it by feeding your mind and spirit a diet of positive, uplifting words. And, apply the healing balm of the love of trusted friends and family liberally.
You’re Too Picky!
Anyone who has been single any amount of time has heard this one. The assumption is, if you are still single, it has to be that your standards are too high. If you would just lower your standards and expectations, you could be married.
There are a number of problems with this. How low should one lower their standards? How picky is too picky? Who gets to decide how picky is too picky? Is it wise to abandon your standards just to not be alone? Will lower standards lead to a happier marriage?
You may or may not be too picky. The thing is – what is it important to be picky about and what should you not be so picky about?
Decide What’s Important, Make a List
The best person to define your standards and expectations is you. That does not mean that you should not get input from people you trust. You should seek out advice from trusted friends and family who have strong, long-term marriages of their own. But in the end, you decide what is and is not important to you.
Of course, some things are naturally more important than others. Your standards for morals and character, for instance, should never be lowered. On the other hand, some things are just not that important in the grand scheme of things. Ask yourself what is important to you and why. Then make a list of five to ten things that you must have in a mate and five to ten things that are deal breakers. Talk it over with a few trusted advisors. Then, once you have a good and reasonable list, stick to it.
They’re All Alike!
Sometimes this advice comes from well-meaning friends and sometimes it comes from within ourselves. All men / women / white people / blondes / Latinos / ______s are alike.
This is patently not true. In fact, have you ever met two people who are actually identical? And yet, I know people who have sworn to never trust a particular body type, or hair color, or race, or religion again because of their ex.
This is especially bad advice when it comes to gender, race, or ethnicity. How do you possibly know that all whatevers are exactly alike? Are you exactly like everyone of your race, religion, gender, or hair color? Of course not. That’s just silly.
Let Each Person Prove Himself or Herself to You
Let each individual prove to you whether they are like your ex or not. Do not make assumptions. Looking like your ex does not mean they have the character flaws of your ex. And likewise, looking different from your ex is no guarantee that they are trustworthy. Let each person prove himself or herself to you.
This goes back to time again. It takes time for people to show who they really are.
To Sum It Up
- Get right back on that horse
- Time heals all wounds
- You’re too picky
- They’re all alike
- Take time to heal
- Proper care over time heals wounds
- Decide what’s important and make a list
- Let each person prove himself or herself to you
How About You?
What’s the worst advice you’ve ever gotten or heard other singles receive? And, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received? I’d love to know. I will use some of the best and most common ones in an upcoming post.
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