Change is a huge word, especially when it comes to divorce; even more so when it comes to moving beyond divorce. Some of us embrace change without a second thought, others go kicking, screaming and dragging our nails down the hallways of this new life we're about to embark on.
Some see divorce as an opportunity to rekindle all of those dreams we shelved when we got married, dreams like travelling to far away places, maybe adopting children, starting a career or maybe even becoming an artist. Others need time; time to think, time to look back, time to study what went wrong in order to move forward. And it's through this introspection and self analysis that we learn the most about ourselves, particularly when it comes to finding a new mate, post-divorce.
Oddly enough, but not so surprising, don't you find that once you’re divorced just about everyone around you seems to have plenty of advice about how to “get back out there.” And if you’re like me, you find most of it a bit shallow and useless. Especially if it’s coming from someone who hasn’t been through a divorce; it’s tough not to just ignore it altogether. It’s not their fault. They just don’t have the perspective we do. But it does get annoying listening to Pollyannaish rambling from people who just don’t get it.
So, I got introspective, and came up with a list of some of the important things I'd like to impart to you as you are hopefully wrapping up your divorce and about to step forward, perhaps towards finding a new mate:
- Learn from your past relationships and from your divorce. Learn from your mistakes, grow from the adversity and move forward observant of the knowledge you now have about yourself and your coupling habits. To me, learning about yourself is the definition of going through a divorce. If we don't learn from our past, we're bound to repeat the same mistakes twice.
- Avoid rebound relationships. Give yourself the time to emotionally distance yourself from your last relationship, and don't jump back into the dating game too quickly as an attempt to forget about your previous marriage, to make up for "lost time" or to compete with your ex by finding a new mate before he does.
- Consider a physical makeover. Ahem, who doesn't enjoy a mani, pedi, or redo to unwind, inspire and feel sexy again?
- Don't limit yourself to bars, online dating sites or speed-dating events. They're often dominated by youngish singles who emphasize looks over substance and experience. I wish I had a nickel for every time someone told me to try online dating, but it is a great way to narrow the playing field to your specific wants, needs, desires that you may have for a new beau.
- In lieu of meat markets, follow your passion by getting involved with an organization, a volunteer group or by enrolling in a class. Another good idea. But I think it works because it allows you engage in what you like to do, not because it’ll help you meet someone. If you go into it hoping to meet someone and it doesn’t happen, you’ll end up disappointed, and then potentially lose interest in the activity because things didn’t work out the way you planned.
- Develop friendships. This is arguably more important than lining up that first post-divorce date. I think it’s especially important to find friends who aren’t linked to you and your ex-husband. Hanging out with people who have a perspective on you other than one that’s rooted in your former, married life is a good way to start over.
- Open yourself up to individuals who aren't your "type." Just remember, the important thing is to be comfortable with just being you first and foremost.
And another thing, don’t let your loneliness get the better of you. You're not alone, especially here at FWW.