Ugh Dating. That word used to make me shudder. I didn’t like the process when I was younger so I figured that my dating life was over once I got married. Surpise…. it came back.
Because I had lost or outright gave away so much of myself during the marriage, dating wasn’t even on my radar during the separation and after the divorce. I somehow recognized that I was the common denominator in all of my failed relationships and didn’t want to make the same unhealthy choices ever again.
I quickly came to realize that I was an oddity. So many people didn’t do any work on themselves before they began dating again. Either it was to hard, to time consuming or they didn’t see how important it was. Of course there were common complains that I heard a lot about. Why can’t I find a good and respectable guy? Why do they treat me so badly? There are no decent men out there. For me the answer was clear. You are still the same person on the inside attracting the same person on the outside. Of course you’re going to date the same type. It’s not them, it’s you and it made no sense to me.
So many people thought there was something wrong with me. You’re not dating? Do you hate men? Wow, you must be scarred. There wasn’t anything wrong. There was actualy something right going on. Fifteen years ago after my divorce I began the process of dating myself first before I dated him.
So why did I date myself? Simple. If at some point I wanted to have a new healthy normal relationship with anyone my relationship with myself needed to be healthy first. I had to figure out who I was, how I got where I am, where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be. I had to resolve my emotional issues and grow as a person so I could successfully date him when the time came. Otherwise it would be oops, I did it again. That was not an option.
Mental health professionals agree that the most important relationship we have is our relationship with ourselves. A healthy self-esteem transtlates into healthy relationships. I unconsciously took their wise advice. Now as a professional life coach, I ask my clients to do the very same thing.
So what is dating really? Dating is the art of getting to know somebody. It’s discovering their personality and what makes them tick. By dating myself I was reconnecting with me, my heart and soul. I was important. I dated myself well over 2 years after the divorce was final. It is the single most successful relationship that I still have today.
I learned a whole lot by by dating myself. I discovered who I am, warts and all, while deliberately focusing on my strengths. I recognized that the unhealthy stuff I did in my past could still have an impact in the future, only if I let it. I started the process of forgiving myself, and others along the way. BTW, that’s still a work in progress. I understood why I made certain choices and how to make better choices going forward. I totally gained a fresh perspective and a lot of new insights about who I was and what was truly important to me.
By dating myself I stopped blaming him, them, events and eventually myself. I took a hard and painful look and took responsibility for myself and my actions. I was now accountable. I also learned to like me and love all of me, that’s called self-esteem. At times it was painful and lonely, but I wasn’t alone. I now had me.
That period of dating myself set the stage for a healthing dating experience with him. Now my happiness started from within in me, so it wasn’t about him being responsible for my happiness. I grew my self-esteem and knew I deserved the same from him, and wasn’t going to settle for anything less. I knew what was really important to me which gave me the ability to attract and select a healthy relationship that actualy fit with me and my life. Spending that alone time to date myself enlightened me to what a healthy balanced relationship really is. It’s a combination of independent time and couple time. That allowed me to be happy with or without him.
By dating myself I mended past hurts, resolved old issues, and evolved into a wiser happier and confident woman. Then I brought the newly integrated me to a date with him. I had many dates with a lot of hims. I was perfectly fine with it. I was worth the wait. Then I dated him. I married him and have been happily married to him for 10 years and counting.
Are you learning to love yourself after divorce?
- The Swiss Cheese Personality: Own The Truth And Move On
- 7 Simple Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem After Divorce
- 5 Things That Make You Amazing
- We Are More Than Our Scars: Loving the Real Me – Bangs Not Botox
photo credit: chris zerbes via photopin cc
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