Used to having a partner to help you with bills. Someone to vent to. Someone to pick up your slack in… well… life. Either way, you have been out of the dating game for a minute and there are some things that you should really consider before beginning to date after a divorce.
Before him I was married to an abusive man for five and a half years and after divorcing him. The decisions I made after my first marriage and lack of healing time, bled over into my current relationship. So, let me give you my handy dandy post-divorce dating rulebook. Loneliness is uncomfortable and by far my least favorite feeling of them all. Who wants to lay in an empty bed, eat breakfast alone, grocery shop alone?
You start to miss those things that aggravated you. Their snoring, them stealing the covers, or just that other presence beside you. You put on your confidence, possibly a freakum dress, and go out into the world to find a replacement. Take the art class you always wanted to take. Keep at it until you like yourself. Tears are good for you. Allow yourself to purge, heal, and be vulnerable. There I go telling my age again.
This is another void that you will find yourself trying to fill. See what I did there? To resolve this, you need to go old-school. Remember when you were young and exploring your sexuality? Becoming familiar with yourself?
Tap into your inner teen and handle your needs yourself. You have everything you need to resolve these feelings in the palm of you hand or on the shelves of a novelty shop.
I found that it can be a lot less stressful than sex with a partner. You know your body better than anyone, right? The employees there are non-judgmental and very well-versed in the products. Working out helps, too. Go take your frustrations out on the treadmill or the weights at your local gym. Go for a walk or run in the park. Who wants to be the first one to tap out, right? There are all kinds of tools and tricks out there to help you deal with your urge to bust it open until you have gotten through the hard part of the divorce—the healing.
Wait for it… Now! It takes longer than you think to get out of marital habits and get into your routine as a newly single member of society.
It takes time to heal, think, discover the world all over again. My decision to date was based on the fact that I wanted to get to know the other person, not because I was feeling lonely. I had my heart crushed, spit on, set on fire, fed to the dogs and thrown off a cliff before I realized that enough was enough. And I made the decision not to let anyone treat her me badly. Be honest with yourself, too. Keep in mind, I was out of the game five and a half years the first time and nine years most recently.
So I was like Rip Van Winkle stepping out there. Had no idea what the red flags were. I was giving away all of the marriage benefits without the paperwork. But that was my conditioning. Again, this is the reason that you need to give yourself time to operate as a single you before getting back on the scene.
Do some window shopping, listen to your friends who are single, watch how people treat one another in day-to-day life. Women move men in after dating them for a couple of months. They switch up on you that quick nowadays. An issue that I find myself facing, and know that a lot of people do nowadays, is the child factor. I remember one time, my baby girl asking me if I was going to get her a new daddy, like I could just go pick one up from the grocery store.
In her five-year-old mind that may have been how she thought it was done, right? Trust me, that prompted a very necessary conversation between me and her father and we came to her together to explain things to her.
Gratefully, I have a great co-parent in him. Some may not be so lucky. Do you cut them off and try again? Are you willing to deal with that drama? Children present a whole other emotional and real life aspect to adjusting after a divorce. The first law of nature is self-preservation, so yeah, we look out for self first. Well, most people do.
There are still a few of those selfless unicorns wandering around, but sadly, they are getting closer and closer to extinction. What are they bringing to the table? Get some ROI on that investment of your time and energy.
He told me that he valued our friendship and would not want to take the chance of losing it by dating me right now. But in my mind, I saw that as a real man, seeing a woman in a vulnerable state and not wanting to take advantage of her. And I appreciated that and love him for that to this day. It made me appreciate the first friend even more. Nobody said dating after divorce would be easy.