10 Ways to Give Your Love Life a Spring Cleaning

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10 Ways to Give Your Love Life a Spring Cleaning

Ah, springtime – the quintessential time to get in sync with nature’s warm and sunny renewal and revamp your own environment. It’s refreshing and revitalizing to raid your closet, haul out a pile of clothes to sell or donate, and use the freed-up space and money to buy items that reflect the new you. It’s a satisfying breath of fresh air to snap on the gloves, grab the Swiffer and Clorox wipes, and give your place a deep cleaning. Why stop at merely revamping your physical surroundings? Give your love life a spring cleaning! What’s the point of basking in your freshly washed sheets if you’re dripping mascara tears onto your pillow? Sweep away the insecurities and take the emotional trash to the curb for a fresh start this spring!

1. Snap on the metaphorical gloves and assess the situation

It’s the difference between doing your makeup looking into a dimly-lit, steamed-up, grime-smeared bathroom mirror and a clean, polished, well-lit mirror. When you’re using a grimy mirror where you can only see the vague outline of your features, you think everything is okay. It’s only when you’re shocked by the clarity of a clean mirror that you see your unblended concealer, patches of missing foundation, and mismatched eyeliner wings. Much like wiping your mirror clean, wipe away the grime from the lens with which you view your love life.

2. Assess the situation and mess

Be honest. Some aspects will be like grime that’s tough to remove, and you’ll try to deny things or validate them. But it’s springtime, baby, so put on some cleaning gloves and face the dirty facts. You can’t shove things under the bed or throw things in the closet and claim cleanliness any longer. You can’t say, “Well, I’m a big girl, I can handle a certain degree of a-holery” or “I’ve always liked the bad boys, it’s just my type, so I can deal with them.” Really be honest with yourself. You can’t improve or achieve the full potential of a rewarding, satisfying love life if you have dirty dishes and trash piled up everywhere and say, “Oh, it’s okay, I’m used to this, so this is fine for me.” Uh-uh, honey. Do you settle for guys that don’t treat you well because you grew up watching your mom tolerate a subpar husband, so you’ve internalized that as normal? Do you stick with deadbeat boyfriends because hey, it’s better than being single?

3. Unpack the suitcase of emotional baggage

You know how sometimes you just dread the arduous cleaning that awaits, so you just avoid it altogether and instead open a family-size bag of chips (no bowl since they’re all dirty) and watch TV in bed (after you plop the pile of dirty clothes from your comforter to the nearest chair)? Your valise of emotional baggage is sitting there, waiting. Yeah, it’s going to be painful. And difficult. And embarrassing. And too real to handle at times. But it’s necessary, and after the uncomfortable work is over, it’ll feel good. Sit down with a nice mug of your favorite tea and think about your love life thus far. If you need help, sit down with your best friend and a bottle of wine (you know your best friend will be only too happy to finally be extremely frank).

4. Sort out and fold all the issues

What has been unsatisfying? What caused all the times you crashed and burned? Why do you have a track record of going for deadbeats? Why is it that you’re always the one that gets dumped, and never the other way around? What would your ideal relationship be like, and what have you been doing so far to prevent it? Maybe you’ll realize that the cliché of daddy issues actually does explain why you have an inexplicable need to always impress and go overboard with your partners because you’re seeking the approval that your father never provided. Maybe you’ll realize that the time you got cheated on in college deeply affected your ability to trust, and that’s why you always end up sabotaging the relationship so you’re the one who ended it before they could hurt you. There are many underlying issues or past events that have shaped you, and you may not even be aware of them. Realizing, acknowledging, and addressing them will give you new insight into yourself and clean the slate of your love life for a fresh start.

5. Ask yourself why you’re cluttering your phone

“Manipulative Assh*le,” “F*ckface Liar,” and “Stupid Jerk Bootycall!!!” These aren’t strings of words that I just tossed together; over the years, they have been actual names for contacts in my friends’ phones. Now ladies, tell me this – would you keep yogurt that’s five months past the expiration date in your fridge? Would you let last night’s fettucine alfredo leftovers sit on the counter for eight more weeks? No! You diligently toss away the trash after you cook. You never fail to empty the bathroom trash. You don’t keep trash – except emotionally. Take a look at those contact names again. You probably shouldn’t have someone who is a “manipulative assh*le f*ckface liar” in your life. So why do you keep them in your life?

6. Sweep out the garbage in your phone

Take out the trash. Empty the garbage. Those voicemails and texts that you’ve saved because you can’t resist rereading them and tasting a fantasy where they suddenly shed their douchebag exterior and admit their love for you? Delete. The contact that you always assure your best friend that you’re going to block because all your girls are sick of wiping your tears after every time he dependably upsets you? Delete. Delete the negativity from your life. Delete the temptation to let bad people treat you poorly again. Delete the delusions (that you very well know are delusions) and free yourself to be open to good people. Don’t let the trash pile up and make you feel bad with their stink and germs. Free up space in your mind and heart for the good.

7. Toss out the ex memorabilia

After cleaning out your phone, it’s time to turn to the big leagues of trash – the ex memorabilia. It’s one thing to delete the texts and contacts of guys who stood you up or only call you at 2 AM for some late night lust. It hits much closer to home to actually bring yourself to toss away the physical remains of a real relationship. Whether it was a good relationship that ended amicably or a bad relationship that ended explosively, you once truly cared about that person and shared good times with them. To throw away the relics of a past relationship is to truly admit that they’re over and move on. You can call yourself single and loving it during the day, but at night, you’re wearing your ex’s sweatshirt and feeling single and miserable with your thumb hovering over the “call” button next to their name. Be honest with yourself. It’s fine to keep any gifts of jewelry that you really love or the blender they gave you that you use every morning, but throw away the things that lure you into that state of mind when you see them – nostalgic, remembering only the good times and forgetting why you broke up, lonely, and needy.

8. Cleanse your social media

It’s the guilty pleasure we all indulge in and it’s the guilty pleasure we all hate to admit partaking in. Your ex is your ex. Unless you remained friends (actual friends, not just “but I want to break up with you but this is awkward, so hey, let’s remain awkward friends that avoid eye contact and any mutual social situations” friends), there’s no reason to keep an ex in your social media networks. In fact, there are plenty of reasons not to. Back in the day, you’d press friends for details – “You work by his office! Have you seen him? Does he look happy? Or are all his shirts wrinkled and he hasn’t shaved in like a week and he looks like he misses me?” Today, we can view their lives updated by the minute, which is an easy way to torture yourself – “Oh my god, he just checked into that nice Italian place downtown. Is he on a date?! That’s a romantic restaurant. What is this?! He was tagged in a picture of Steve’s birthday get-together last weekend and who is that woman that’s all up on his arm?! And his tweets all sound happy…. Except for this passive aggressive retweet about the bachelor life being the best!”

9. Dump out the unrealistic expectations

White knights riding in on beautiful white horses in shining armor, holding chocolates in one hand and flowers in the other. A tiara on your head as you make demands, getting your every whim catered to. A man who will bow down to you, his queen, about everything and anything. Nope. Relationships are 50/50. You give and you take. Little girls are raised to idolize princesses, and doting fathers who love their daughters actively encourage a diva mentality by calling them Princess and always talking about how no man is good enough for his little girl, because she deserves only the best. Your unrealistic expectations are bringing you and your love life down. Would you like someone entitled, demanding, and high maintenance? Would you be happy with someone who expects you to always concede to them and believes that their opinion is the only one that matters? Sure, a gentleman should treat a lady like a lady. But ask yourself – are you acting like a lady?

10. Dust off your self-esteem

It’s been hard work so far. You’ve unpacked the emotional baggage and sorted through your issues. It’s been sweaty, painful, arduous work. You’ve cleansed your phone and swept out your lingering ex memorabilia. Now, it’s time for some dusting and polishing. You’ve probably been surprised and disappointed in the things you’ve discovered about yourself as you’ve spring-cleaned your love life. Take an ultra soft microfiber cloth and start dusting yourself off. Maybe the past has given you reasons to collect a thick layer of dust on your self-esteem. Shake off the cobwebs. Then, take some polish and shine up the good parts. What makes you a valuable partner? What qualities make you a great catch? What do people love about you? Consider your thoughtfulness, the way you love making coffee for your partner in the mornings, the way you make someone else feel special, and the way you give the best shoulder massages when they’re stressed about work. You have an abundance of good qualities that make you a good partner and person. Be aware of them, love yourself, and love deeply.

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4/02/2015

  • http://www.alphabetsalad.com Laurel Regan

    Love the analogy spring cleaning your love life – too fun! I particularly appreciated the point about unrealistic expectations – that can cause a lot of clutter. Thanks for sharing!

    • http://datevitation.com/ datevitationblog

      True about the clutter, Laurel!

  • http://www.giveaways4mom.com/ Victoria H

    This is a great article.
    I like how it is down to earth and love how you kept it real in the “ask
    yourself while your cluttering your phone section”. When Spring Cleaning takes,
    place relationships should be accessed as well.

    • http://datevitation.com/ datevitationblog

      Definitely, Victoria. Clean house, mind, and soul!

  • Karla M. Davis

    All great points!! One of the greatest quotes I’ve heard is that in a relationship, instead of looking for Mr. or Miss. Right, it’s more important to be the right person than to find the right person. It’s essential, especially after a breakup to take the necessary time to spot patterns that may exist in our past relationships as well as emotionally take time to heal and properly move on. So many (women especially) tend to jump right into a new relationship but it’s actually the worst thing that we can do.

    • http://datevitation.com/ datevitationblog

      Those are such accurate points, Karla! We should all focus on being the right person instead of obsessing over finding the right person. Too often, we hold our mates to a higher standard than we hold ourselves and forget to make sure that we deserve them. Those are great things to keep in mind!

  • Jordyn Sifferman

    I think the social media point is spot on! I watch so many friends freak out over what an ex posts and I don’t necessarily blame them (it can be hard to see an ex moving on or even just being happy without you) but I know myself and know I can’t do it. I don’t delete an ex after a break up to be dramatic, I do it so I don’t go insane and drive myself psycho.

    • http://datevitation.com/ datevitationblog

      Good for you for being self-aware, Jordyn! We all see so many friends torture themselves by stalking an ex’s social media.

  • WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion

    What a fantastically creative post! (says this English teacher!). I second the social media cleaning; it’s way too easy to get our stalk on with Facebook!

    • http://datevitation.com/ datevitationblog

      It’s an honor to receive that praise from an English teacher!

  • http://www.notentirelyperfect.com/ Stephanie

    “Stupid Jerk Bootycall” I am cracking up! I was guilty of some of these in college, thankfully with age comes wisdom.

    • http://datevitation.com/ datevitationblog

      Ohhh, there were some other true gems that were too long and obscene to mention, but they were hilarious!

  • Carla WorkingMommyJournal

    This is fantastic! It is so true how we cleanse every other area of our life but we let our emotional and love life linger on and hurt ourselves in the long run! This is a great idea for everyone to use (I could use some spring cleaning on my social media accounts!). And those names too funny!!

    • http://datevitation.com/ datevitationblog

      Clean away, Carla! Haha, the names are hilarious but all the tears behind them were a drag.

  • Kristin Wynder

    I just started my Spring Cleaning list for my home. This is definitely something I never thought of before and love these suggestions. I feel like some of these can relate to married couples as well. Out with all of the old crap, get over things that are holding you back, and let you really love really love each other!

    • http://datevitation.com/ datevitationblog

      It’s a good new idea to try out! Clear out the crap, agreed!

  • http://www.1000threadsblog.com/ Laicie Heeley

    I love the idea of a spring refresh for your life (love and otherwise)!!

    • http://datevitation.com/ datevitationblog

      A spring refresh in all aspects of life is always good!

  • http://2justByou.com/ 2justByou

    Spring cleaning the love life…Something we might not always think about doing, but it’s probably needed for most of us. This was a really fun post to read!

    • http://datevitation.com/ datevitationblog

      Thanks! You’re right, most of us don’t think about it, but we need it.

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