When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, a lot of people decide to make some goals for their love life. But rather than focusing on “meeting someone” or “settling down”, there’s a much better goal to set for yourself for 2019 — this is the year for becoming more empowered in your love life. Rather than putting your energy into the other person, on meeting them or finding them, it’s the perfect time to focus on yourself. Your dating life should make you feel strong, self-assured, and powerful.
But for many of us, that doesn’t come naturally. Maybe it’s been a string of bad relationships that has thrown you off your game, maybe you’ve never really gotten your love life started. And that’s before we even get into the fact that society treats women that they should do anything and everything they can to find a partner, shunting their personality and happiness to one side in the process. Basically, there are a lot of forces that can make you feel hesitant or insecure in your dating life — and it’s time to give yourself the tools to move past that.
So how can you feel more empowered and assured in your love life this year? Here’s where to start.
1. Let go of your past
The first way to feel strong in your love life is to let go of your baggage. Sure, your relationships will shape you and change you as you go along — that’s natural. But weighty baggage, that slightly twisted anger or resentment or fear that’s been following you around, it’s time to let go of that. It may just mean that you make an effort to catch yourself when you’re projecting past relationships onto a new partner — expecting them to be untrustworthy, unsupportive, or unkind when they’ve given you no reason to think they would be. If you have a lot of baggage or the wounds are particularly deep, talking to a professional to get a clean slate can make a huge difference.
2. Allow yourself to have deal-breakers
You are allowed to have non-negotiables. You are allowed to be rigid and forthright on the things you care about — you don’t have to bend to fit into anyone’s version relationship, just because they seem to show an interest. So if your career is a deal-breaker, if kids are an absolute, if you need a certain level of independence — that’s fine. It’s better than fine, it’s great — because it means you have a strong sense of self and self-awareness, which is crucial for a happy, functioning relationship. I’ve had friends who said their politics were crucial to who they are suddenly go off and marry someone with completely different views, slowly burying their own beliefs. I’ve seen people who swore they wanted to have children for their entire lives suddenly never mention them again. You don’t have to do that — and, crucially, you shouldn’t.
3. Admit when things aren’t working
One of the most empowering things you can do in your love life’s admit when things aren’t working. You save yourself so much time — and energy — by saying to yourself, “This just doesn’t feel right.” and moving along. Staying in bad relationships or trying to force something when there’s no spark is one of the most painful things you can do to yourself — no matter how much you convince yourself it’s “going great” or that you’re “just going through a rough patch”, when the rough patch is really the entire relationship. Going through the awkward honesty of admitting something isn’t right and allowing yourself to move forward, rather than waste time, is so important.
4. Experiment and explore
If you’ve always been after the same thing — the boyfriend, the wedding, the kids — there’s a good chance you’ve been following a fairly strict path to get there. But being empowered is all about knowing what you want — and sometimes that means taking a little detour to figure that out. Go on new types of dates with new types of people. Explore your sexuality and have fun in the bedroom. When you experiment, you may find a whole new facet to your love life — and sex life — that you didn’t know was there.
5. Fuck other people’s expectations
Finally, it’s time to let go of other people’s expectations — whether it’s your mother’s, your friend’s, society’s, whatever. Fuck. Them. All. If you’re happily single, what does it matter that your aunts disapprove? If you feel like your relationship is best when you live in different places, if you prioritize your career over marriage, if you want to go out and have a sexual walkabout and never go on a goodman date, that’s all totally fine. If you want to feel really empowered in your love life in 2019, it’s about getting down to what you really want — and saying fuck the rest.
As you enter 2019, make sure that any goals you have for your love life are ones that actually benefit you. It’s not about what you think you should be doing or who you think you should be with — make this the year of knowing what works for you and not accepting anything less. That’s empowerment.
Originally posted on Bellesa Collective