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Between relationships? 5 creators who help you make the most of this time

Self-aware is the new sexy. Here are 5 experts on Instagram whose content can help you understand yourself better before you start dating again

...or at least consider it, to heal and do some inner work, before you start dating again.
...or at least consider it, to heal and do some inner work, before you start dating again. (Unsplash)

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It's been a season of weddings and, of course, Valentine's Day too, earlier this week. And yet, you find yourself irretrievably single. No roses or proposals on the horizon. The phone isn't buzzing. 

There is no need to re-install the dating apps in a rush, though, or worse, drunk-text that ex. It’s pretty cool to be on your own, if you can own your power. With some patience, self-love and perspective, you can really make this phase work for you.

It may sound daunting, but you don’t need to do this alone. There is a world of resources available, on and off the web, to help you look within, heal and nurture yourself in the aftermath of a breakup, or to understand yourself before you are fully ready to get back to dating. 

Here are five mental health experts to guide you through the process of inner work at this time. Watch the reels, tune into the podcasts, pick up that book. With any luck, you’ll come out of this stronger, wiser and better-equipped to handle whatever comes next.

Embace singlehood

The time period when you’re single after the end of a relationship is the richest soil for personal growth, says popular therapist, author and podcaster John Kim, strongly advising against skipping out on the work by jumping into another relationship right away. In his podcast Single On Purpose, Kim brings on board 20 wellness experts to talk about what it means to live a fulfilling, adventurous, purposeful life as a single person. Snippets of some episodes along with other writing by Kim are posted on his Instagram (@theangrytherapist). This, of course, goes hand in hand with his posts about attachment styles, healing the nervous system post break-up, managing self-defeating thoughts, etc. He also frequently answers questions from followers about their relationship struggles. Kim also hosts The Angry Therapist Podcast and has penned several books including It’s Not Me, It’s You and I Used To Be A Miserable F*ck.

Expand your understanding of intimacy

The break-up may not have been your fault, but there's still much you can do to up your game before re-entering the dating pool. You could read up on boundaries and how to give your partner space, you could learn how to offer and/or recognise a genuine apology, you could reinvent how you build intimacy, and so on. Why, you could go all out and experiment with different relationship styles, like polyamory or casual dating, if that’s what makes sense for you. Sex-positive, queer-identified, intersectional therapist Casey Tanner (they/them) takes to their Instagram account (@queersextherapy) to share fun posts to help demystify queer relationships as well as expand one's relationship skills. As a certified sex therapist, they also offer valuable advice on sexual health and exploration, especially in the context of previous trauma. For a more elaborate exploration of such topics, check out their fun podcast, Safeword.

Ask yourself some tough questions

Do you like mental health content but hate reading long-winded captions? If so, Oregon-based counsellor Jeff Guenther (@therapyjeff) is the one therapist you must follow. He breaks down psychological concepts and general advice into fun, succinct pointers and delivers them with such earnest cheer that is hard not to love. Some of his popular reels include: '4 things to know about devastating breakups', '5 questions to ask if you're thinking about getting back with your ex' and '3 questions you need to ask yourself before you start dating'. These are fun to watch, share and bookmark for later. Guenther also dives deeper into these topics in videos that are available for those who sign up on Patreon. If podcasts are more your style, he co-hosts one entitled This Changes Everything, available on Spotify as well as other platforms.

Self-reflect, consider therapy

Intimate relationships end for myriad reasons, and when they do, we’re almost always left with a shattered sense of self and reality. It becomes hard to not to blame ourselves for how things turned out or believe that better things might be on the horizon. It’s often at this point that many seek the help of a therapist to put themselves back together. Aishwarya Chawla (@thesemicolonspace), a trauma-informed, queer-affirmative therapist based in New Delhi, posts pick-me-ups and reminders that may benefit those nursing a broken heart. These kind words carry reassurance as well as calls to self-reflect. Chawla's posts also nudge the reader to build and/or bank on their chosen family, while normalising divorces and choosing never to get married. She further sheds light on what one can expect from therapy, so individuals can make an informed choice about entering the process.

Address your triggers and trauma

The conditions in which we grew up often determine the kind of lives we build for ourselves as grownups and by extension, the kind of relationships we choose. If left unaddressed, unmet needs and trauma from our childhood can wreak havoc in our adult lives, especially in our significant relationships. Behavioural scientist Sabrina Lakhani, creates valuable content on Instagram (@sabrina.attachment.specialist) that can help those who are interested in looking inwards and examining their own behavioural patterns. Born to immigrant parents, she was forced to come to terms with the trauma she experienced at home and leave her abusive marriage. She draws from her own lived experience as well as her knowledge in the field to create content on Instagram to help people come to terms with the reality of their lives. By bringing old wounds into consciousness and learning to accept and love ourselves as we are, we can overcome our triggers, says Lakhani.

Indumathy Sukanya is an artist and independent journalist based in Bengaluru

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