How to Let Your Guard Down When You’ve Been Hurt Before

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By Anastasia Amour

To experience great love is to also open yourself up to the risk of experiencing great heartbreak. For those of us who’ve had our hearts broken previously, it can often be difficult to open up to a new partner and let our guards down. Whilst the prospect of fresh heartbreak might make it tempting to pull away from the dating world or avoid getting too close to our new partners, if you’re looking for love, you need to open yourself up to all of its possibilities.

It’s natural to want to protect the most prized of all our possessions – our hearts – but the walls that we put up can eventually end up holding us back, keeping not only the bad guys out but the good guys, too.

If you want to learn to let your dates in, try following these four tips:

Tip #1: Get out of your comfort zone
There’s no need to rush into a new relationship, but by the same token, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find Mr or Mrs Right by staying firmly placed in your comfort zone. To strike a balance, experiment a little with what works for you. Challenge your expectations of who you think is a good match for you – if you click with someone online but aren’t 100% sure, go on a date and give them a chance. You never know who could surprise you and be an amazing match.

Tip #2: Be true to who you are
Many people feel that the ‘real’ them might scare off potential dates and so they keep a part of themselves under lock and key. If no one can see the real you then the real you can’t get hurt, right? Wrong. By protecting your identity, you’re only denying yourself the chance to be completely open with someone. Your potential dates want to see YOU and when you give yourself permission to be fully yourself, you’ll grow to feel more comfortable letting your guard down.

Tip #3: Embrace vulnerability
There’s a misconception that to be vulnerable is to show weakness, but it’s quite the opposite. To show vulnerability is an act of trust, honesty and bravery. Vulnerability requires risk, and can also reap great rewards. Dating, in itself, is a game of risk – when our hearts are on the line, there’s always a possibility of hurt and unfortunately, most of us don’t meet the partner of our dreams in the very first person we ever date. It’s trial and error, and there’s going to be hurt and heartbreak sometimes. But you’ll get back up, and you’ll be okay.

Tip #4: Follow your own timeline
There are countless “rules” available about how quickly or slowly a relationship should move – right from when the first kiss should be and down to how soon you should get married. Whilst those “rules” can be used as a general guideline if you choose to, ultimately you’re the one who needs to be comfortable in your relationship. Don’t put stress on yourself if your relationship is moving a little slower than the typical relationship timeline. As long as you and your partner are communicating about the speed you’d like to take things and you’re both on the same page, then the “rules” don’t matter.

To love someone is to show great vulnerability; giving them the power and knowledge to hurt you but trusting them not to. That person is out there… if only you open yourself up to the possibility of letting them in.

Do you tend to keep a guard up when dating? How do you let people in? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation @eHarmony_AU or on Facebook.com/eHarmonyaustralia.


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