Going through a divorce – even when you’re the one that wanted it – is not easy. It typically feels like a roller-coaster ride with a flimsy little safety bar. It’s not unusual to feel a roller-coaster of emotions, such as both hopefulness and hopelessness in the same day. You speak to your best girlfriend and you’re feeling hopeful and optimistic. Then you get a call from your attorney and hopelessness and defeat sets in again.
There’s also quite a bit of emotional healing you need to do before dating after your divorce.
- If your husband left, you may likely feel abandoned or
- If your husband cheated, you may likely feel betrayed or
- If you left your husband, you may likely carry some guilt about your decision.
- If you left, after years of disconnection and loneliness, you may feel unwanted or
- If the marriage ended because you consistently put everyone else’s needs before your own, then it’s time to learn a different way of being, because clearly, that doesn’t work.
And until that inner work is complete, it’s not a good idea to begin dating or opening your heart to love again.
Here’s why it’s in your best interest to not date after divorce until you’ve healed
Because we essentially attract what we are, you will likely attract men that are hurting and haven’t healed their own emotional wounds. Or conversely, you could also attract men that are drawn to women that are hurting because they’re more likely to overlook bad behavior and settle for a less than healthy relationship.
Also, if you haven’t taken time for yourself and made the effort to sincerely heal the wounds from your marriage when you actually meet a quality man, you might unintentionally sabotage the relationship. See, what we don’t heal and release, we carry with us. This means we’re carrying old baggage into new relationships and making future loves pay for the sins of past loves.
Here’s how this works
Let’s say your husband cheated on you and is now building what looks like a happy, perfect life with someone else. You could be mad as hell and beating yourself up for placing too much trust in him.
In the above example, the belief you’re either consciously or unconsciously carrying is that either men aren’t trustworthy or you have been too trusting. It wouldn’t be unusual for you to be a little hesitant to trust a new man. You may ask more questions than normal. You may appear hesitant and guarded. You may even need him to over-accommodate to squelch your fears of being deceived again.
But none of that is his to carry; it’s all yours and you will carry it with you into your future relationships until you finally heal it.
Avoiding and Numbing
Sometimes women will jump into dating too soon in order to avoid feeling negative emotions that accompany divorce: loss, fear, blame, anger, sadness, doubt, frustration, jealousy, insecurity, or disappointment. We don’t like feeling negative emotion – we avoid it at all costs.
So, we run from it and numb it. Sometimes that looks like drinking too much. Sometimes that looks like spending too much. Sometimes that looks like serial-dating as many men as possible. It’s all valid. It’s all real. And it’s all another version of numbing the negative emotion that we don’t want to feel.
If you’re in that place, you’re not ready to begin dating. Slow down. There’s no rush. There’s no finish line. There is no man you can find that will be able to dissolve the pain you’re running from.
How You Feel is Everything When it Comes to Dating After Divorce
What if you feel like you are completely over what happened in your marriage and not carrying any baggage about it….then is it time to start dating?
Here’s the one indicator that will tell you with absolute certainty whether or not you are personally ready to begin dating again and that is how you feel about dating.
If you feel like it’s something you have to do, like a means to an end,
If it feels heavy and complicated and scary,
If it feels like a part-time job.
You’re not ready to date.
But if it feels light and fun and easy,
If you’re genuinely curious about and interested in getting to know new people,
If you’re feeling hopeful and optimistic and excited.
NOW is the perfect time to start dating.
Because now, the men you’re going to attract are happy themselves and emotionally healthy.
Now the experiences you’re going to have will be fun and interesting.
Now the opportunity for real, loving, and lasting love can find its way to you without having to navigate all that emotional clutter.
Think about dating and the whole process of finding love. Check in with how you feel. And if it feels good, DO IT. There’s someone out there that’s been waiting for you to be ready.