It can be fairly easy, if not perfectly natural, to swear off love after a painful divorce.
There is nothing I can say to extinguish the pain that stems from a divorce or a long-term break-up. I won’t tell you that I’ve been there because ‘there’ is a different place for each of us based on our different experiences.
Even two people that have both been cheated on faced different circumstances and emotional tolls. I also will not tell you to suck it up and put yourself back out there. Those who decide to take this route suck up the life of everything and everyone around them, to include their future self. There is little gained from forcing comfort and satisfaction that can only come from time and the individual healing experiences.
All of this said, I can tell you that there is love after divorce. Seeing the possibility of new love after divorce is important, even if it takes you a bit longer to re-start your engines. The alternative to this is relationship R.I.P. Although thankfully not common, I have had a couple dozen clients that decided it was better to give up and not pursue love again after divorce. Some of their rationale has been tied to the desire to not get hurt again while others simply believed that there no good men left to attach themselves to.
On a road trip in Ecuador, I had the pleasure of riding with a 65-year old woman that believes she is the sexiest woman in the world and refuses to give up the possibility of finding her forever man. When the conversation got around to what happens when people decide to close the door on love, I cited three distinct things. We become resentful, insular and pre-occupied; when we swear off love, hence my term, relationship R.I.P.
The Resentful You:
It can be fairly easy, if not perfectly natural, to swear off love after a painful divorce. You hear about the woes of your friends and their dating experiences or the hubby that doesn’t do his part. Who wouldn’t give up on love?!?! If all you hear are negative stories about other’s experiences with love it makes sense you’d give up on the idea. Not to mention your own personal experience with the pain love has caused in your own life.
Sooner rather than later, however, lonely nights will get to you. Although your friend complaints about how much her husband works, you notice she still has her hand on his thigh and he lightly smacks her rear in a playful way as they exit stage left to partake in what you are sure is something you won’t be doing that night.
“Screw her!”, you think. And, then you have another friend who can’t go to happy hour because she has a third date with that guy she’s been talking non-stop about. “Fine then, my bubble bath and snuggles with pooch are better than uncaring friends and a certain douche anyway!” This is you two months into swearing off dating, sex or anything of the kind. This is the resentful you.
The Insular You:
Sooner or later, you decide to give up on your girlfriends. You don’t want the discomfort that comes with seeing Marlene and Jason stand together at the BBQ. Long lasting talks on the phone with girlfriends are now texts with one-word answers. Those hobbies that required socializing with friends? Gone. You’ve replaced them with surfing the internet or going to the one restaurant that is not occupied by people you know or who know you. This insular you, it’s not the real you but you’re comfortable in the moment, mainly because you don’t want to spend another moment in the presence of those who have what you subconsciously wish you did.
The Pre-Occupied You:
The kiss of death, of course, is that you are so pre-occupied with being pre-occupied with anything other than the fascination or experience of love that you forget what it means to feel it. What’s more, you don’t even realize that you’re pre-occupied. There is a new you that has been alone and ‘fine’ for so long that you start to believe that all is well without love. Eloise really wants to set you up with Mark and your declination is so quick and to the point that it seems right to you. Like answering two when the question is “what is one plus one?” Unfortunately, your pre-occupation will ensure that there is never one plus one in your life and so the math will always be easy.
- One you that is temporarily hurt and turned off by love that becomes a permanent party of one? OR
- One you that is temporarily hurt and turned off by love that puts one six-inch heel on at a time and throws herself into the throes of dating before eventually finding that plus one that means two people tearing up the floor at your work’s holiday function?
Which of these two sounds like the better math equation to you? Right on my dear. You are the stronger one.
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