Tag: divorce

Suddenly Single: 8 Dating Tips for the Recently Divorced

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Suddenly being divorced can be a huge shock to anyone, making the thought of starting a new relationship an intimidatingly daunting prospect.

Depending on how long you were married, socializing may have changed since your pre-wedding days, creating many things to consider when dating after divorce.

Below are 8 helpful tips to guide you back into the single zone as smoothly as possible.

 

1. Seek Support—

Divorce is highly stressful, and those recently separated can use therapy to help process the guilt, anxiety, anger, loss and other strong emotions that may come with the end of a marriage.

Seeking guidance from someone professionally trained to navigate this labyrinth of intense feelings doesn’t mean you’re weak: it means you’re a strong, mature person trying to handle a traumatic situation in the healthiest manner possible.

Remember that everyone needs counseling or a shoulder to lean on sometimes, and anyone who thinks you need to “tough it out” isn’t being supportive.

 

2. Make Some Me Time—

If you can take a mind-clearing vacation or spend some time alone to get back in touch with yourself, this is a great opportunity for healing.

Hobbies you love or activities that bring you pleasure can be cathartic and soothing ways to work out your feelings.

Properly grieving the loss of your marriage and finding closure may also grant you the ability to trust and open up to future partners.

 

3. Swim Slowly—

Because everybody is emotionally vulnerable post-divorce, proceed very slowly when dipping a foot back into the dating pool. The water may shock your system if you dive in headfirst.

Be gentle with yourself, and don’t feel obligated to make promises or commitments you’re not psychologically prepared to keep.

The only thing you owe dating partners is honesty, so make it clear from the beginning where you stand and what you are looking for in a relationship.

 

4. There May Be Baggage—

Especially if there are children involved, the newly-divorced dating experience will be a completely different beast than the one you knew pre-marriage.

Be aware that if you have children, anyone you date will potentially be a part of their lives, and that anyone you date may also have children to be considered as well.

Be careful not to judge potential partners for what they bring to the table—and if you have children, immediately dismiss anyone who doesn’t respect your relationship with them. Your marriage may have ended, but you’re a parent forever.

 

5. Find Your Friends—

If you can find the time to bond and reconnect with your friends, this can be a great way to surround yourself with the support you need right now.

When you’re ready, your single pals can also be helpful guides to ease you back into the world of dating with insider knowledge of the local scene.

 

6. Try a New Type—

Many of us have a “type” that we tend to be attracted to and date over and over again. Thanks to the recent divorce, you now know that your usual suspect may not be the wisest choice, so consider dating someone completely unlike your former partner.

Sometimes moving out of your comfort zone can push you to grow in different and unexpected ways, opening your eyes to something—or someone—you never realized you might find appealing. Give different a chance: you may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

 

7. Be True to You—

There’s no point in faking it: the real you is going to come out eventually, so don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. You have nothing to prove to anyone, so don’t hide your personality or quirks.

The right person will like you for who you already are, so remain honest and relaxed to communicate in a healthy and authentic way.

 

8. Don’t Compare—

Avoid comparing those you date post-divorce to your ex-spouse. Everyone deserves the right to be judged fairly, and using your previous relationship as a gauge for future connections is a huge mistake.

Also be careful to not project the hurt, insecurities or other negative aspects of your previous relationship onto an innocent person.

 

The most important thing you can do when dealing with a painful experience such as divorce is try to learn from the mistakes you’ve made, give yourself time to heal, and move forward when you’re ready.

Use the tips above to move gently back into the world of dating, and remember that the right person is out there. Even if it takes a while to find them, you’re on the path to better things, so stop and look around, take deep breaths, and try to enjoy the adventure.

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Something Shimmering and White

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It was one of those transitional periods on the Timeline of Me. I was unhappily exploring the post-divorce state of flux through which 60% of all married people must statistically travel. Unoriginally as the thousands of country music songs on the subject might imply, I was using alcohol as my navigational system.

Having failed at what trendy writers would flippantly dub my starter marriage, I was looking for something; the next good thing. I didn’t really know what it was yet, so I hoped I’d know it when I found it, and wouldn’t be too drunk to say hello.

There was a party house in our smaller college town that my friends and I often called home. It was one of those lovely, interesting-but-crumbling Victorians with high ceilings and windows full of old glass that seemed thicker at the bottom, time-melted over the view of the past.

The homeowner was an older musician with a free spirit and a lot of weed. There was a steady river of alcohol moving through the house, along with the streams of young, searching girls, trying to find themselves by getting lost. In simpler words; I fit in perfectly.

On this night, a large group of us had watched a touring band play their music at a local bar. The band came back to the party house with us to drink and be merry. Cigarettes were smoked, music was turned up, neighbors were tolerant. I found myself sitting in a corner with the guitar player of the band, drinking beer and effortlessly talking. We were clicking as intellectually as slobbering drunks might click, and he seemed like a really nice guy.

While we chatted, we got on the subject of music. He asked me if I liked a band called The Church, and agreed when I enthusiastically told him that their song Under the Milky Way was one of my top ten songs ever. It is a wistful, moody, gorgeous song that I still love to this day.

This was mentioned in passing, one topic in a series of many, and we didn’t dwell. Conversation moved onward, and soon, he did too. Someone joined our discussion, and under the guise of getting another beer, the guitar player I’d been talking with left the party. His sudden disappearance registered briefly, but I kept drinking, and like most coherent thoughts, the event was washed away in the tide of alcohol.

The party wound down. The owner of the house had extra beds, and being in no shape to drive, I was offered one. I gratefully accepted and stumbled to the spare room.

I had just settled under the covers to pass out when I heard a knock at the door. I sleepily asked who was there as the guitar player from earlier poked his head in the room. He was holding an acoustic guitar and asked to come in. I said that would be okay, and he walked in, sitting down on the edge of my bed. I sat up against my pillow, the wall behind me nobly bearing my beer-relaxed muscles and hothouse flower demeanor.

It was one of those very moonlit nights when the world feels like daytime soaked in honey, and I could see his face clearly. He noticed my curious glance at the acoustic guitar and explained that after we talked, he had gone to the band van and learned a song for me. I somewhat numbly took in what he was saying, not really comprehending what was happening. He stopped talking and started playing the guitar softly.

Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty, sound of their breath fades with the light, I think about the loveless fascination, under the Milky Way tonight,” he sang quietly.

It was the song I had mentioned earlier; the pretty song I loved by The Church—now a lullaby for a lonely, drunken girl. The lyrics couldn’t have been more appropriate for me at that place in time; feeling small, meaningless and alone as one does standing under an endless night sky, wishing I knew what I was looking for, like the chorus repeated.

The subtle performance was a heart-wrenchingly earnest auditory hug. It didn’t feel like a flashy musician’s attempt to dazzle his way into my pants, it felt like an offering; like a little, hopeful flicker of candle light to hold inside when I was feeling dark.

After he finished, I slurred that it was absolutely beautiful. He smiled, tucked me back under the covers and told me to sleep well. He then left the room without attempting so much as a goodnight kiss, preserving the moment as something I would always remember fondly, rather than becoming just another groping stranger I would try to forget.

The next day we all woke up hung-over and rumpled to have coffee, with the friendly morning banter of people bonded through vices of the night before. Before the guitar player got in the band van to drive to the next town on tour, he handed me a CD of his band’s music. We hugged in silence, and they drove away.

I later opened the CD to find he’d written a message. It said, “You have the most amazing aura I’ve ever seen.” It made me cry, because at that point in my young, dysfunctional life, I couldn’t believe someone would say something so sweet to me without ulterior motive; with nothing to gain.

He had achieved the nearly impossible; he’d made a sad, insecure girl feel special and appreciated as a human being. This stranger I’d known one night had managed to do something more romantic, thoughtful and selfless than the guy I was drinking to forget had ever done in the years we were together.

I have kept the CD as a reminder of the worthiness of my soul all these years, occasionally pulling it out during moves to open, read, and carefully pack into my nostalgic belongings. I never spoke to the guitar player who gave it to me again, but when I think about that night, I smile, and sincerely hope he has had a wonderful life.

 

*The video for Under the Milky Way, by The Church:

 

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(Photo credit: “Milky Way Road” by Landolfi… please contact me for removal, or to share a link to this talented photographer. I think this picture is gorgeous.)