This time of year, as you de-clutter, organize and rid yourself of what no longer belongs in your home, you might also want to consider sweeping out the cobwebs from your love life.
Think about it: when your abode’s gross and messy, you probably feel that way about your life. You’re disorganized, you can’t find anything and you can’t get anything done. The same goes for your love life. Holding onto emotional baggage, tired dating habits and old preconceived notions of relationships is like holding onto the disgusting grime in your shower – you’ve gotta clean that shit out.
That’s why we chatted with Nicole McCance, a Toronto-based relationship psychotherapist, for tips on how you can dust off your love life and finally find that spick and span relationship you’ve been searching for.
Unload Your Emotional Baggage
Emotional baggage is deep shit (which is probably why the majority of us are still lugging it around). It can be anything from carrying a torch for your ex to having mommy issues. Having unresolved hurts can seriously damage your love life because it can lead to being easily triggered in the present, which can jeopardize relationships.
“The only way of releasing baggage is to feel it,” McCance says. “To slow down enough to think back to what happened and take the time to feel angry or sad. Once we feel, the emotions tend to dissipate, and we will be less triggered moving forward. We won’t forget what happened but we won’t be as reactive when we are put into similar situations.”
Sweep Away Old Dating Habits
If you’re having trouble connecting with women and forming healthy, committed relationships, chances are you’ve got some toxic dating patterns that need to be thrown out. Maybe it’s a habit of pursuing unavailable women or control freaks. Whatever it is, McCance says the first step is “you need to become aware of it,” says McCance. “Take time to reflect on what triggers the bad habit. The next time you are in that situation and you go into autopilot, notice when you are triggered and catch yourself before you react like usual.” Also good? Talking it out with a friend or professional.
Seek Out New Ways of Meeting People
If Tinder hasn’t been working out for you lately when it comes to meeting that special someone (surprise, surprise!), you might want to use a new tactic.
“New ways of meeting people will renew your energy in the dating field,” McCance says. Plus doing so will open you up to a new group of women who you may not have considered dating before. McCance recommends speed dating (“it’s a good way to meet a bunch of eligible women at once”), throwing a dinner party where everyone brings one interesting single friend, or trying a niche online dating site.
Remember: if you want to radically clean up your love life, it’s important to let go of your tried-and-true type.
“Attraction is based on type, but connection and closeness is based on other qualities such as personality and common interests and goals,” says McCance. “Try taking more risks when on a date and being more open, sharing more about who you are, your future goals, your family and what you want in a relationship. In general, whatever you are currently doing, try doing the opposite for a while. What you are doing isn’t working and you keep getting the same results, you have nothing to lose by trying the opposite.” Remember George Costanza? Basically, be like him.
Spruce Up Your Look
You know how getting a clean shave and a new haircut make you feel pretty damn confident? Right. So, go get one. It’s pretty much the most symbolic gesture of getting rid of an older version of you and welcoming in a new, fresher, cooler version. And while you’re at it, buy some new duds. “Throw out your old unused clothes,” says McCance. “If you haven’t worn it in a year- toss it. It will feel good to purge. Then treat yourself to a spring wardrobe. This will boost your confidence, the confidence you may need to approach that cute girl in the grocery aisle.”
Make Time and Space for Your Personal Life
Balancing work with working out and your personal life is, well, hard work. But do you want to get laid and have Lazy Sundays or not? If so, then you have to commit to it.
“Treat it like any other important project in your life, whether that’s a job promotion or bigger biceps. Success has to do with commitment,” says McCance. “I tell my clients to commit to one small thing everyday to move forward their dating life. Have a routine and stick to it. It could be sending a message to someone on a dating site or smiling at a cute blonde at Starbucks. But everyday commit to one small task. Life gets busy so if you can stay focused and opened during the day to meet someone; it’s more likely to happen.”