Relationships are hard work, but the most important relationship of your life is the one that you share with yourself.
Many women dive headfirst into new relationships after divorce, but not all of us are quite ready to return to the party just yet. Perhaps you are like me and have already tried the dating scene, but have decided to take a step back. Healing takes time.
The year since my divorce was finalized has been a great time of self-discovery. What do I like? Who am I without a partner?
Here are four actions (instead of dating!) that have helped to redefine my outlook on life and love post-divorce.
1. Travel solo
Gasp! Yes, you can! Dust off that passport, contact a travel agent and book your flight. Sure, I had many reasons not to; finances, childcare, the fear of the unknown. I made it work.
I experienced my first international solo trip four months after my divorce. The journey was life changing! I met many interesting people, couples, families, and groups of women. I connected with so many awesome souls that I actually forgot that I was, in fact, alone.
Safety was my biggest concern while traveling alone and abroad. I recommend utilizing a travel agent to coordinate transportation and to securely plan all activities or excursions. My travel agent remained in contact with me throughout my stay to ensure that my safety needs and satisfactions were met.
I kayaked on the ocean, learned to enjoy meals alone, and I slept soundly on a king sized bed. I found my courage and rediscovered the woman that had been hidden inside for too long. I fell in love with her.
2. Invest in therapy
After divorce, some women may meet criteria for a diagnosis of adjustment disorder. This is temporary! After heartbreak, a significant loss, or a major life change women have healing to do.
Therapy can be expensive. Locate a therapist that accepts your health insurance and plan to be consistent with your appointments even when the healing gets hard.
Therapy can be painful at times, like ripping off a band-aid. We must clean out old wounds before we can truly heal. Covering our past pain with band-aids (like dating too soon to numb the ache) only delays healing.
You deserve to have a happy and healthy life!
3. Connect with other women
Since my divorce, I have been very vocal about my life changes and challenges. Women my age and older have reached out to me at work and through social media to offer advice and support. By connecting with other divorced women, I am reminded that even on my toughest days, I can survive and thrive too.
Most days, I struggle to believe that I will ever find love again. However, I know many women that shine like beacons of hope, beckoning me along the way. They have found love again. Maybe, just maybe, some day I will also know love.
Some divorced women may have lost time with the children through the sharing of custody. Other single mothers have to take on roles of both mother and father.
At times, there is no better person to share joy and sorrow with than another woman who has felt your pain and walked in your stilettos. Single mothers understand the struggles!
Make new friends. Share stories. As the Swedish proverb states, “Shared joy is double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow.”
4. Make a list of life goals
When we create a blueprint for our plans the chances of action becoming reality increases.
The summer that I separated from my husband, I sat in my new apartment by myself and constructed a list. I took on the challenge of listing 99 personal goals that I wish to achieve.
My list included places to visit, new activities to try, financial plans, and career visions for myself.
I have checked off over 30 items on my list. The list has helped me to organize, prioritize, and direct my ambition towards the most important person in my life. Me!
I still have work to do and my list is updated often. There have been instances where I was able to add an item to my list and immediately check off the box. Some of my goals will take years to achieve while others have been deleted from the page due to the natural flux of my life and my desires.
As a single woman, my list is all mine and I can change my mind as often as I so please!
I wish you success as you navigate your post-divorce journey. My hope is that whether you choose to begin dating or enjoy your precious time solo, you may try a few of these activities and fall in love with that beautiful and courageous woman you are!