The months and even years after a divorce can be rough. You are redefining yourself as a single person after being one half of a couple. Depending on how long you were married, it has possibly been a long time since you dated. Soon after a divorce the prospect of finding a new partner or “getting back out there” may be daunting. It is important to realize that you do not have to start dating again until you are ready.
Mental health and relationship professionals agree that individuals should give themselves time to mourn the loss of their marriage just as they would mourn a physical loss. How will you know if you are ready? There are a few clues experts say to look for, including:
- You Stop Ruminating About the Past: There will never be a time that you forget about your ex-spouse completely but thinking of him or her less often is a sign that you are healing emotionally. In the immediate aftermath of a divorce you may be consumed with thoughts about your former partner, feeling emotions like anger, sadness, and disbelief. You may fantasize about how things could have been different in your relationship. Many people find that these feelings and thoughts diminish with time. Eventually, you will be ready to stop living in the past and instead live in the present and look forward to the future.
- You Begin to Have Increased Feelings of Self-Esteem: Divorce can take a toll on your self-esteem and feelings of worth. If you are the person who ended the relationship, you may feel guilty that you could not make the relationship work or that you “broke up the family.” If you were not the one who ended the marriage, you may worry that you are unlovable or that no one else will ever want to have a relationship with you. Over time, these feelings are likely to change. You may be introduced to someone who you find attractive and realize that they are interested in you as well. Just like Ralph Mouth from Happy Days, you may think to yourself, “I still got it!”
- You Are Not Trying to Replace Your Former Spouse: You will know you are ready to start dating after a divorce when you are not trying to replace your spouse. Rather than attempting to hold onto the past by finding a replica of him or her, you realize that you are actually moving forward looking for a fresh experience with someone completely new.
- You Have Worked Through Your Feelings With A Therapist, Friend, or Family Member: Everyone needs someone to lean on during tough times. For some, this is a trusted friend or family member and for others, it may be a professional therapist. If therapy is not the right choice for you, it is still good to work through your post-divorce emotions in a healthy and constructive way. Many people find that divorce support groups offer a great deal of help and guidance as well.
- You Can See the Opportunities That Being Divorced Offers You: Perhaps you can now pursue a hobby or goal you always dreamed of starting. Perhaps this was a dream that you felt selfish for pursuing as a married person, or maybe you just did not have the time to pursue it.
If you have taken an objective look at your situation and have realized that divorce is your best option, contact an experienced Geneva divorce attorney to discuss your next steps. Call 630-232-9700 for a confidential consultation with The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today.