Finally, you’ve got the final decree of divorce in your hand – you’ve reached the end of a painstaking divorce process. Free again!!! So you keep your options open. New life. New beginning. New relationship? Legally speaking, yes. But when is the right time to enter the dating scene?
But emotion-wise? I doubt that.
Is It Time To Date After Divorce
You’ve probably heard your friends telling you to throw yourself out there and start meeting other people. Of course, they only want what they think is in your best interest. They want to see you happy and in love once again. They want you to move on with your life and start to date after divorce.
But moving on doesn’t necessarily mean finding a love replacement. Broken pieces inside of you need to be mended. Until you are ready, no amount of replacement will fill in those gaps.
In fact, you have to go introspective first. Dig deep into yourself and acknowledge whatever emotions you’re having at this difficult time in your life. Sure your friends don’t want to see you sad. But it’s okay to be sad. That’s part of living… loving… and learning. Once you’ve taken the courage to recognize your emotions, it will be much easier for you to release them.
So before you decide to hop onto the dating scene once again, you better make sure you’re emotionally ready to set your feet on the ground. Your emotional baggage needs to be taken care of.
But when do you know that it’s finally time for you to be dating again?
It may take two years or more for any person to get over the emotional struggles of a divorce. But what if you need more time?
Here are some signs to know that you’re ready to date after divorce:
1. You are much, much more decisive.
Following a divorce, your decision skills might seem lacking. You might be too afraid to make certain decisions for fear of being rejected and because you lack self-worth. You feel that you don’t deserve good things happening to you. But only when you reach a point where you begin to get clarity in the things you want and clarity in the things you don’t want, that you’re ready to toss yourself into the ocean. You’re able to say “yes” to the things that you want while you say “no” to things you don’t want in your life. At this point, you no longer want to settle for less.
2. The bitterness is gone.
Part of your emotional baggage is feelings of anger and unforgiveness. Harboring strong emotions such as these would be like dragging a heavy ball and chain wherever you go. When you’re no longer bitter against your ex, you have forgiven the other person. When the thought of him or her being with someone else no longer affects you and all you have left are well wishes for the other person, then you have released yourself from the chains of the past.
3. You found yourself again – now even better!
Being in a bad marriage and staying for as long as your breath can hold in the hope to preserve it, can sometimes leave you feeling like a deadbeat. You could lose your identity in the process. It’s like being lost in a maze. A divorce, while it marks the end of a marriage, can be the first step in reclaiming yourself. But it’s not an overnight thing. The process of finding yourself can be a long and winding road but you will get there.
How do you know if you’ve found yourself again? You will know it when you feel more empowered, when you feel more in control of your life now than in the past, when somehow you have re-discovered your passion, and when there’s nothing or no one that can stop you. Yes, it is time to date after divorce.
4. Guilt is no longer lingering.
It’s normal to feel guilty when you begin to date after divorce. It’s not surprising that thoughts of what other people might say or what your children might say could hold you back. But happiness is a choice. And it is solely YOUR choice to make. Only when you let go of this guilt will you be able to live free and love boldly. Know that harboring feelings of guilt is a sign that you have not forgiven yourself for everything that happened. Sure you might have forgiven your ex-spouse for the failed marriage, but you need to forgive yourself too.
5. You are okay being alone.
When the time comes that you no longer mind doing things on your own – watching movies, eating at restaurants, traveling to a new place – all by yourself… that’s a key sign that you are ready to begin a new life. You’re ready to be in a relationship when it’s already okay for you to not be in a relationship. It seems ironic but it does make sense. One of the major pitfalls of a relationship is over-dependence.
You depend too much on your partner that you lose your individualism. You feel that you are not complete without your partner. Sure, hearing your partner tell you that you complete them is music to your ears. But the reality is… a great relationship consisting of two whole, individual selves that are bound together. There is no one else that can fill in that gap within you except you.
Two years, three years, five years – take all the time that you need to prepare yourself for any relationship. You need to make amends with your broken self by loving yourself each day. Pamper yourself. Treat yourself to a spa. Take time to meditate. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Exercise and eat healthily.
In other words, take all the time you need to focus on yourself first. Because only then will you be ready to love other people when you have already truly loved yourself.