This week’s Perspective Wednesday piece is a guest post from BeThatWoman from the Women’s Empowerment blog BeThatWoman.net.
Life after divorce can either be exciting or scary. It really depends. If you wanted the divorce, it may serve as a relief and an opportunity to start over. But if you were caught totally off guard you may feel devastated by the idea of having to date again. For me, it was a little of both. The reason for my divorce was that I got sick of the abuse. After the divorce a mixture of mental, emotional, and physical abuse left my self-esteem in the dumps. While I felt a sense of relief from getting away from that toxic marriage, I was also terrified and dreading having to put myself out there in the dating scene, especially with four kids.
I was given advice by several people to take at least a year to be by myself before I tried dating again. “You need to find yourself.” they would say. “I don’t want to wait. I have been through hell and I am ready to be loved. I want to meet someone who is going to treat me right and love and respect me like I deserve.” I would reply back.
This would be a great time for me to mention that I was typically a hard headed person. I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it! Needless to say I did not take advice too well. I’m here to tell you please don’t follow me! I am now a stronger believer that after a divorce it is absolutely necessary to take a year off just for you. I immediately started dating once my divorce was final. I had several phone conversations and a couple of dinners. Finally I met a guy that I fell head-over-heels in love with, only to realize that we did not belong together.
I found myself in a similar situation but without the physical or mental abuse. The relationship was just unhealthy. It drained me emotionally and made me feel less than a woman. I started to question whether or not there was something wrong with me that caused me to encounter two failed relationships. I have now learned that the answer to that question is “Hell No!”. I am fabulous and I deserve to be treated as such! If you don’t think I am, then we can’t do business! I finally realized what was wrong. I was missing my belief that I actually did deserve better.
The torrid affair from the relationship immediately after my divorce caused me to cry and be sad a lot and this affected my children. I did not realize how much until they told me that they could tell that I was not happy and they knew why. I used to think that I was so well put together that I could hide what I did from my children as long as I did not actively or verbally involve them. I was wrong! That is when I had my first “a-ha” moment. I realized I should have listened to all of the divorced women who told me that I needed to spend some time with myself and not date for at least a year after my divorce.
I have since ended that relationship and I am currently single and in the right place. Being single for awhile is the right place to be because you need time to do the following:
1. You need to CLEANSE post divorce
After you have been with the same person for so many months, years, days, you have inherited some of that person’s character traits. You have also collected a trunk full of memories that need to be erased, burnt, shelved, stored away. However you choose to get rid of those things, this is the perfect place to do so. Spend some mental time thinking about what you have learned from the past relationship. What are you not going to carry with you to tomorrow or to your next relationship? Empty your mind and thoughts of all negative, hurtful, or disappointment from the past relationship.
2.You need to TAKE YOURSELF ON A DATE
You are probably saying to yourself, this girl is crazy! How am I going to take myself on a date? Go to the movies alone. After the movies go to a nice restaurant and sit down alone and eat. It’s not going to kill you. It will empower you. One of the biggest reasons we stay in unhealthy relationships is due to the fear we have of being alone, the fear of other’s knowing we are alone, and here’s the big one, are you ready? The fear of other’s knowing that we don’t have it all! We would rather put up the front that we are happy in that relationship to validate our self worthiness. Wrong way to do it! It won’t work. You need to spend some time alone. Learn to be ok being by yourself. That way you aren’t desperate to fill that spot and you can take time “interviewing for the position”. Is Fear Your Biggest Barrier to Finding Love?
3. You need to THINK ABOUT YOUR KIDS after a divorce
If you have children take into consideration that they have just gone through a very traumatic event. They had to watch the two people they look up to and love the most split their family up. They had to watch and hear the bickering and fighting and fight with the thoughts of “Do I have to take sides?” If you don’t take the time of silence for yourself, take it for your little ones. They need it, to help them process their emotions and thoughts.
4. You need to UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE AGAIN after divorce
People fall in and out of love everyday. I don’t believe that this means that we did not ever really love those who proclaimed to be our soul mates. We were just wrong. We saw a couple of traits in that person and ignored the rest. A counterfeit. That’s ok. Hopefully, the relationship did not end with a lot of arguing and fighting. Hopefully you were able to split on good terms. But if that is not the case, just know that you can love again! Disposable Love: The First Cut is the Deepest
How long did you wait to date after your divorce? Why did you wait? What benefits were there in waiting?
The BeThatWoman blog teaches and empowers women to let go of their past in order to face their fears and find happiness by living what’s in front of them. You can follow BeThatWoman on Instagram at b.nthatwoman, or Twitter @bethtwomn