I got his email from Sara last week.She finds herself in a common situation seeking dating advice for women after divorce.Because this is a story that so many women will relate to in one way or another I wanted to share this with all of you.
I had been married for 11 years when my husband, Jack, told me that he was no longer happy in our relationship and wanted a divorce.In that moment I felt shocked and blind sided.
I felt frantic to fix the problem in our marriage.I was unclear about the problem at the time, but whatever it was I wanted to fix it.Perhaps marriage counseling could make everything all better I thought.
Or if I could become a more perfect wife I could make Jack happy.Those are just a few of the thoughts that raced through my mind.
My husband was of a completely different mind set.He said he had been thinking about this for a long time and he was clear he wanted a divorce, no more discussion.
Looking back I can see how for several years in my marriage I had put my head in the sand like an ostrich.It’s Time To Get Your Head Out Of The Sand
I did not want to face the reality of the problems in our relationship. It is amazing how I deceived myself for so long.
In the last 4 years of our marriage I had suspected that Jack had been cheating on me. I just could not face it straight on.
I ignored my feelings and convinced myself everything that I was probably my imagination.
I refused to face the reality that we had become two strangers living in the same house in the last 2 years of our marriage.
Jack moved out, 8 months ago and filed for divorce.
I was terrified of being alone.How could I manage on my own I would ask myself?
Would I have enough money to live on?
Where will I live?
What about the house who keeps it or do we sell it?
What about all our stuff in the house who gets what?
These and many more questions tormented me day and night.
The process of getting the divorce settled and the papers completed seemed to take on a life of its own.I felt overwhelmed and exhausted from worry during the whole process.
As strange as this may sound, I would have this ridiculous notion that maybe the marriage could still be saved.
That we really could live happily ever after just like in a fairytale. As you can see, I have struggled with letting go and accepting the reality of my circumstances.
My divorce was finalized one month ago.
So here I am.I can no longer call myself a wife and I cringe to have to say I’m a divorced woman.
I feel scared that I will spend the rest of my life alone.I blame myself for being in this situation and wonder why I did not do a better job to save my marriage.
I have so much regret and can not see how to move on with my life.
My friends and my family tell me I need to start dating and that will make me feel better.
But I feel so disoriented and unsure of myself that the idea of dating is over the top for me.
On the other hand I do want to be part of a couple again.
The loneliness I’m feeling is so painful that maybe dating right now is the answer for me.
My question to you is, are my family and friends right, should I take their advice and try to start dating?
Or should I do something else to move forward?
Sara , Confused in Portland
Dear Confused Sara,
Wow, you have really been through an emotional roller coaster.But hang in there I promise you will heal over time and you will be whole again.
I want to tell you that you should not underestimate the pain and challenge of going through a divorce.I know for myself (I did it twice) it took a much bigger toll on me than I was willing to admit.
So in answer to your question, now is not the time to start dating.
No doubt your family and friends care about you and want to see you happy.Be grateful that you have a support system of caring people and let them know how much you appreciate them.But for right now dating is not your answer.
Time is the keyword in this situation.You must take the time you need to be ready to begin the next journey of your life.
Do not allow yourself to dwell on the negative and past regrets.Time does heal but you have to participate in the healing.It is now that you’ll begin to write the next chapter of your life.
Start today and make a list of all the qualities you respect in yourself.Ask friends and family what they respect about you and add that to your list.
Look at this list every day, read it aloud until you believe and know this is who you are.
You may feel inclined to say I can’t do this I don’t feel ok about myself.Or, if I do this I will feel like it is all lies and what good would that do?
I promise you if you don’t do this you will stay stuck where you are for a very long time if not forever.Move past your resistance to this exercise and you will be amazed at the positive results you will experience.
Also, during this transition period let yourself think about the values that you want in your next relationship. Do not compromise or question those qualities you know are most important to you.
Get real clear in your mind the men you want to date.
As an example, would you consider a long distance relationship or would you require the person to live in you area so you can get to know that person in a face to face setting.Values & Compatibility Are ‘Relationship Success Factors’
I believe that it is difficult to really get to know a guy if it is a long distance relationship.There are just too many challenges.
Is it important to you to be with a man that is good communicator and willing to be self reflective?
Is religion important to you?
What about coming from the same culture?
How important is age to you?
Do you want a guy with a great sense of humor?
Get the picture?
These are just a few examples of what might be important to you when considering your next partner.
Get clear on all the details right now.
If you do this before dating I guarantee that you will save yourself a lot of frustration disappointment and grief and wasted time.
Here’s the best advice I can give you.Don’t put yourself in the position to make a mistake the second time around.
I speak from experience and now I know the 2nd divorce will not happen if you get your head on right and never compromise on your core values before getting involved in another long term relationship.
You don’t need to ever settle and let me tell you why.
Counter to what you have probably heard from others or read about on line, there are plenty of good fish out there, and the fishing is plentiful, you just gotta know where to fish.
When you are ready we will give you the maps to the best fishing holes and the best bait for catching your prized guy.
Sometimes the simplest dating advice for women after divorce is the best.
Have a dating after divorce question? Drop me a line with your comments and questions.
P.S. Are You Tired Of the Lousy Dates You’re Getting Online?
Getting emails from guys you don’t care for and sending emails to men you think might be a match, but not getting many replies, then watch this Video!