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Guest blog: Kerry Forsell on dating after divorce - Being liked or being you

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Hello Upsiders!

Who would you be if you had never been hurt in love? How would it alter how you present yourself to the dating world?

Let me begin by stating that I don’t think we are better humans by not experiencing pain. Trials and difficult circumstances create resiliency if we are able to process them and grow from them. What I am referring to here is how the pain, failure and in some cases rejection from divorce can leave us wounded. This wounded self can bring with it a host of fears and insecurities. When putting yourself out into the dating world we may think we have our insecurities under wraps but anytime you start becoming vulnerable and opening yourself to liking another person the worries and doubts about your self-worth can come out to play. Let me give you a personal example.

I entered the dating world again at 41. To say I didn’t know myself, my worth, or even what I wanted was an understatement. I found that when going on dates I was more concerned with being liked than being myself. The underlying fear of being rejected again or failing again was motivating my actions. I was not self-aware enough to articulate this at the time. Dang hindsight!

I would be funny and interested and understanding. I would sweep blatant red flags under the table because I was easy going and nonjudgmental. This was what I was bringing into the date. I had a fear that turned into a belief that I was “too much” or “not enough.”

What are blatant red flags you ask? Let’s see….getting extremely drunk at dinner, severely criticizing their ex, making derogatory comments about stay at home moms, complaining the entire dinner about their job and coworkers…the list goes on. While I knew internally that these weren’t the men for me, I didn’t pull the rip cord and politely excuse myself. I stuck it out until the walk to the car where I quickly ducked my head inside as they said they would like to see me again. Success! But was it really?

When does having others like you override how much you like yourself? Hopefully never. I was exerting effort into caring more about being likable, then sending myself the message that I had my own back.

Being liked never made me feel better, but you know what did? Talking more to future dates via text or phone to ascertain if they were worth a night out and/or excusing myself from dates that weren’t working. This sent the quiet yet empowering message to myself that I have choice. I won’t ever leave myself hanging out to dry. I will never forsake myself ever again. This perspective significantly changed my outlook not only on how I felt about myself but I how I felt about dating in general. When I wasn’t on my own team dating was dreary and depressing with “no good men out there.” When I made the vow to never abandon myself dating became calmer, more interesting and there were significantly less bad dates.

So check yourself Upsiders and make sure you have your own best interests at heart because you are already so loved and don’t need validation from anyone but the beautiful, courageous and wonderful you!

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