As you continue to lay motionless across the bed, you now realize that you are truly alone. It’s a cold place… a real place…a bad space. At some point during or after your divorce, you will eventually pick yourself up and move forward with reconnecting to the outside world.
The first steps are difficult and the prospect of dating again could be daunting. Interestingly, statistics show that 75 percent of divorced people get married again within five years. This means that at heart, many people remain true believers in the idea of love and marriage. In fact, many divorcees maintain the attitude that they will “get it right” the second time. However, when you finally decide to pursue a new relationship, it’s important that you know within yourself that you are fully ready to begin this next phase of your life.
Being “ready” involves several important factors. First of all, you need to be sure that you are completely over your ex-spouse. In some situations, the ability to move on depends on who actually filed for divorce. The person who did not file for separation usually has a longer healing process than the one who filed. It’s critical that you work through those feelings first, to ensure the remnants of your past do not cheat future lovers of a genuine opportunity to connect with you. No matter how you were treated in your last marriage, it’s not right to deny unsuspecting potential partners the chance to build something new with you.
Next, you must be totally honest with yourself that you are ready for what I call the “divorce-after-life”. This means that although you may be over your ex-spouse, you are fully open to starting new experiences, meeting new people and enjoying fresh feelings. If you have any hesitation or uncertainty, then you must first complete the emotional healing process before you start pursuing a new relationship.
Here are five important steps to Finding Love after Divorce
Step One – Bury the Bones in your Closet. Over the course of a marriage, it’s understandable that one has accumulated a stash of skeleton bones. These bones can range from deep dark secrets to videos, pictures, special jewelry, specific clothing, gifts, etc. It’s important that any leftovers from your past relationship are buried and forgotten. Remember, your old life is gone… and even small mementos of it should be thrown far away, and never considered.
Step Two – Finance before Romance. Divorce can be difficult on your finances. However, you need to organize your financial situation before you allow someone into your new life. The last thing you want to communicate to a future partner is a level of desperation or dependency. Remember, no romance without finance. Get your money right, before you start dating again.
Step Three – Learn from the Past but Don’t Relive it. It’s a do-over’! This is your chance to use the difficult experience of a previous marriage and apply it to a new, fresh relationship. Take time to review everything that went wrong. The nagging, missed opportunities, horrible moments, etc. Use them as “lessons learned” to guide you moving forward. Remember, if you don’t learn from the past, then you’re destined to repeat it.
Step Four – Spend Quality Time with Your Kids Family and/or Friends. If you have kids, they must be afforded all of the love and support you can give them. Do not deny them access to you and your heart. Like you, they have suffered as stakeholders in your divorce. Make sure to start a routine that includes regular quality time with your children. However, do not introduce them to your new partner (s) until you are confident that the relationship has potential.
Step Five – Start Moving Forward. Once you have addressed steps 1-4, it’s time to move forward. It’s now time to take the critical step to make “dating after divorce” a reality. Go out into the world and make yourself accessible. Explore clubs, sports bars, events, church, etc. Find places where the opposite sex (or same sex) are present and begin mingling and socializing.
You can’t win in the game of love, if you’re not playing it.
G. Anthony Knowles