"Before you're ready to date, you need to be in a place where, if the person leaves, you won't care."
That was some advice a friend offered not too long ago. At first, it sounds weird. I mean - if you don't care if a person leaves, then what's the point in dating him in the first place?
But I get what my friend was saying: Get to a place where you're okay with yourself, and being alone. Don't depend on anyone else for your happiness, for your security, for your self-esteem. You need to be in a position to keep those things in tact, should you suddenly find yourself without a significant other.
I agree. I gotta say - I thought I was there before I started dating Trooper. Maybe I was; I was certainly in a much better place than I'd ever been. The more I think about it, the more I wonder - can we ever really be in that place?
Rejection, no matter the circumstances, attacks your self-esteem. Personally, my own self-esteem finds no greater challenge than when someone says, "You're just not good enough" - even if that's not really what he's saying. Rejection feels like a hit to every good thing you once thought about yourself.
If the relationship made you feel good; if it was healthy, and you were happy, and you came to believe you could trust that person's feelings - you'll start to doubt yourself when those feelings are gone.
"Is there something wrong with me? Am I just not good enough?"
"Why didn't I see this coming? Why am I so stupid?"
"Do I not deserve to be happy?"
"How will anyone else ever feel that way about me - or make me feel that way about myself?"
I think it's natural to have these feelings (though some of us probably struggle with self-doubt more than others). No matter how much you know the issue is his, not yours; no matter how many people tell you that it's his loss; no matter what compliments your friends shower on you.
You still feel like it's all about you - not him.