..or will you?
Can you fall in love again after the pain of divorce? If your partner left you, you may be currently focused if the ache of being discarded will ever go away. A new romance is the not the cure to that ache, but it can make for a useful distraction. Even deciding to date again can be a challenge.
Could you start dating again?
When: There is a time that you might contemplate dating again. I divide the stages of divorce into phases, and certainly the earlier phases are not the time to start dating.
Contemplating: this is when you are wondering about your relationship, if you should split, if you should stay. This phase can last several years. It is not easy to decide if you should end your marriage. The attached article might help. https://reddoor.hk/2019/10/28/considering-divorce-key-prep/
The next phase – Declared involves the early stages of your divorce process. You might have verbalised the desire to divorce but have not actioned the divorce paperwork yet. In this stage you might even resolve your relationship issues, potentially with counselling. Dating during this stage might actually end your marriage, so perhaps wait until you have started the next step.
Filed. This means that you have started the divorce process and your partner has been formally informed. You may find dating at this time makes the process rather muddy, but at least you have said that, for you, the marriage is going to be over.
Who: Do yourself one favour whilst you are divorcing and conduct a self-audit on your strengths and weaknesses before you jump into dating? Know yourself as well as you can. If you have explored what role you played in the ending of your marriage. This is not about accepting or attributing blame for the end of the marriage, this is a mature reflection on your role in the end of this marriage. If you accepted too much criticism, if you gave and gave of yourself – only to be unappreciated, take a cold hard look in the self-accountability mirror. Have you started to change those elements in yourself that will prevent you falling into the same trap for a second time? Can you honestly say that you love yourself yet? If not perhaps explore self-love first. https://reddoor.hk/2020/02/14/self-love-first
It is natural to look to date someone very different from your previous partner, it’s a natural response. Just take your time to explore if that is a good fit for you.
How: There are a number of apps on offer to meet up. If you use apps, remember to take to the process with an open mind, and a sense of humour. Rather than looking for love specifically explore if a person might be a potential friend or contact. It doesn’t hurt you to meet a bunch of new people. Meet for coffee rather than a drink or dinner. Coffee can be a short introduction and can lead to a potential second meeting. If your meet up is painful, you can orchestrate an urgent text from the office so has to escape easily and leave. From the women in our divorce groups, they commit to meeting many new people, and sometimes romance blossoms. Many times, they, at least, make great new friends.
Woops: There are some woops behaviours you might like to pay attention to.
- If you see warning signs – listen to your antennae. Step back, take a breath.
- Do not introduce the person you are dating to your kids, until you have been dating for a few months at the very least.
If you feel tempted to dive back into the pool of possibility, go ahead. Remain open minded, have a sense of humour, and just have fun.