Welcome to our first week of honest conversations about dating after divorce. I am on this journey with you and I have some thoughts. Some of my own, some from dear friends that are also here in this space with us. So let’s chat about dating and use this platform as a community to share our common experiences!
You’ve been hurt. That is the truth, yet inside of you is a burning desire that the pain and loss was not for nothing. This can’t be it? This marriage that ended? These vows that were broken? The loss of love and companionship? There must be a silver lining to all of this! Your partner must be out there! A love that will make all of this worth it. There has to be a person on this great earth that will love you just as you are. Regardless of your divorce story and who left who and what the particulars are, you were not loved as you are. So here you are staring down the idea of opening yourself up to the hope of something new.
Courage, dear heart.
Are you ready? Are you ready to board, lower the lap bar and ride the roller coaster of dating after divorce? You might be scared. I get it. I was terrified to get back out there. I didn’t know how to trust others or open back up enough to let another person see me. What if they didn’t like me? Would I go barreling down into an internal dialogue about my worthiness or lack thereof? What if I didn’t like them? Am I too picky? Do I have the strength to turn them down with kindness?
In the beginning things were so bleak in my life that I thought dating would be a fun reprieve. Friends kept telling me to “get out there” and “you deserve to be loved and treated well!” In honesty, I wanted to believe them and subconsciously I was needing a distraction from the misery of my never-ending divorce proceedings and my life in general falling apart. Upsiders, let me tell you, this is not the way you want to enter into dating. I had not done the work to get myself strong and ready. I had not honored all my feels and processed the loss of my former life. There is no such thing as a free ride out of pain unless instead of boarding a roller coaster you want the house of horrors. The only men I attracted were in closeted pain. It was like I was a magnet for every man that hadn’t processed a damn thing in his life. But honestly, who was a to judge? I was so desperate (yes, I said desperate. We will talk about internal and external red flags in a future post) to be seen. To be loved. For someone to rescue me from my own living hell. The men who needed to be rescued answered my call. I am sure you have heard some version of advice that you need to be the person you want to date in order to attract an equal. I am here as living proof that this is solid advice. My experience of the men I attracted made me bitter towards the dating scene. I thought all hope was lost. It wasn’t until I stopped looking for a distraction from my pain and actually gave it my full attention that it quietly left me. I found myself again, the true me, waiting in the ashes. Slowly, like Humpty Dumpty, I put myself back together again and reentered not only the dating scene, but the world as a wiser more fully realized woman.
How do you know if you are ready you might be wondering? My advice would be to truly sit with yourself and your unfolding story. Feel all of it. Have the courage to face the feelings that come up. Get clear on your intentions for dating. Is it for a distraction or a genuine desire to open up and get to know someone? This is important because the minute you think that you just want a free meal at a restaurant and the company is secondary, you will attract a man looking for the same thing.
And it will be a ride I assure you. There will be twists and turns and moments where you lose your breath as you get to know others and more importantly yourself. Be patient. Don’t abandon hope. Be true to who you are. Be as curious about learning about yourself as you are about the person sitting across from you. Curate what you are looking for and be clear on your intentions. And never ever question your worthiness of being loved. Have courage dear one because you are something special.
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