1. Don’t Do It! Just kidding. Not really.
I lead a Divorce Recovery Group and the materials give some really difficult but real world advice on dating after divorce. It compares Divorce to open heart surgery. If you were a marathon runner and you had open heart surgery, you would not be up and running another marathon the next week or month or (possibly) even year, would you? Yet, after Divorce people will tell you to “get back on the horse” or go to clubs/bars/restaurants and meet new people. This is a very bad idea. After Divorce, you are wounded and lonely and feel rejected. These are normal feelings and we have to sit through them. We cannot deny those feelings by medicating with a new relationship. I have heard the formula that for every 4 years you were in a relationship, it takes one year of recovery. If you were in the relationship for 12 years, sit tight. It’s going to be awhile (3 years, yikes!) until you’re ready again.
2. If you have children, it isn’t just about what you want anymore.
When we choose a partner, we are molding and shaping how our children will treat others or be treated in their relationships. Really think about this one. Is the man you are dating the kind of man you want your boys to be? Is your man treating you how you would want your daughter to be treated? Thinking of it this way, it is really hard to excuse some of the things people allow in their relationships. We might “want” that exciting mess of a person who is deeply troubled and wildly hot. Those days are over. I hope you got your fill in your 20s. It’s like chocolate cake, we could enjoy to excess back when our metabolism was high and we danced all night at the club. Now that we are older, we have to step away from the temptation.
3. Don’t work too hard to make it work.
You are not married to this person. If it isn’t working, keep it moving. Often we have worked so hard in our marriages. There were problems and issues that we labored tirelessly to try to fix. We really wanted to stay married so we went to counseling, compromised, swallowed our pride, and on and on. I think we become so accustomed to “working” on a relationship, that we forget that relationships should be easy in the beginning. Step out of your rut of difficult unions and wait for someone who is compatible. Wait for that person with whom things just flow. You have the rest of your life to “work” on a relationship. For now, enjoy one that is easy. Step away from the relationship that is troubled from the beginning. Truly, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!”
4. Listen to your family and friends. Oh my goodness! I know, right!
Think back to when you were dating your former spouse. Were there red flags? Maybe someone who loved you even pulled you aside to say that maybe, just maybe you were making a mistake. We didn’t listen, did we? We thought we knew our spouse better than our family. We thought love would conquer all. We thought we knew stuff about life and people. Now that we’re a little older and ions wiser, let’s listen to those who love us. We agree they want the best for us. We agree we don’t want to go through that Divorce disaster again. I am sure my friends were just as exhausted by my Divorce as I. With maturity comes humility. With humility comes the ability to admit we don’t know anything. And when we’re “in love”, we know even less. Go ahead, right now, while you’re thinking clearly and not in the fog of romance, and give your friends permission to tell you the truth about that next “love”.