When divorce is inevitable emotions seem to be on a constant emotional rollercoaster. During this time, not only our emotions seem to be affecting our daily life but now our sense of self-worth and esteem all play a part in our psyche as we detach from our mate to begin a life of our own.
During my years of work with divorcing individuals, I have seen many individuals begin a new relationship immediately seemingly trying to fill the void of their marital mate and seek out what they were missing in marriage. Many experts say taking time for yourself after divorce to begin your new life, grieving the death of your marriage, and learning who you are as a single person with new goals you desire are needed before beginning a new relationship.
Often after a marital relationship ends, sadness that involves heartache is often referred to as the grief cycle. At some point, both spouses will usually endure this grief as each realizes that the dreams established for the marriage are no longer achievable. Goals for the future must be redirected to form personal goals as the marital bond is broken and will not be mended. During this time it is essential to take time for yourself to heal in every aspect. This can be referred to as a time to reflect on your life, what has happened, how you would like to proceed and to come to terms with not only the divorce but allowance for self-discovery.
After divorce, there are so many changes which are required for you to become accustomed. Allowing time to make the needed changes whether it may be moving into a new home, learning to return to an empty house in the evenings, acceptance that aloneness is acceptable and focusing on reorganizing your life in all aspects – financially, emotionally, and single identity. This takes different time for different people, but often proves to be a healthy option rather than getting in a new relationship before getting to know yourself and creating new personal goals. Knowing that the house will be empty, you can focus on the positives - you have control in choosing what to watch on television, discovery for new extracurricular activities that you may enjoy and even having dinner or going to a movie alone is perfectly “normal” and you are in tune to the new single person that you are becoming. This new self-identity will help form who you are now and reveal changes married life brought, increase awareness for new goals and extracurricular activities for your future. You are single now, have a future all to yourself and it is your choice of how you want that future to be. First, enjoying this new found freedom and becoming comfortable will broaden your sense of direction for your future.
Self-esteem during this process often plummets due to life changes, failure of the marriage, and the uncertainty of the future. Before beginning a new relationship, it may be wise to increase your own self-esteem by spending time alone and receiving approval of yourself. Before the dating game begins, creating acceptance of your strengths and weakness is needed. To achieve this, spending time with yourself to explore in what areas you excel, feelings of inadequacy and feeling positive of who you are as a person is a must. When marriage fails, self-acceptance usually fails too but by spending time alone and becoming comfortable with just yourself will increase knowing who you are without marriage. Becoming comfortable without others approval will create a healthier you as it will lessen the likelihood of becoming dependent on another for your sense of self security.
Once you have had time to heal and rediscovered your new sense of self-esteem, stepping out as a single may be somewhat easier. Your self-identity is more established and you may lessen the chance of becoming enmeshed with another person as a result of loneliness. Entering the single world is challenging and frightening to many. More than likely, most of your friends are married or if divorced, already dating someone, so where does that leave you? Taking small steps that are comfortable to you is perfectly alright to adjust to finding where you “fit in”. Exploring your employment to find other singles in an effort to find single friends, attending the singles class at local churches, researching community groups for information where singles usually gather will assist in finding of new friends who share the “same world” as you.
After the steps above have been completed, finding a friend to have dinner and possibly date will need clear attainable goals. Hopefully enough time has evolved allowing you to achieve the balance in the topics already mentioned and you are in control of yourself and emotions. This will allow you to be in more control of your life, define what you desire in a relationship and the feelings of neediness have subsided. When beginning to date, having goals for your own life should already be established and finding a dating partner that reflects or mirrors your goals for the future rather than you changing who you are is a must.
Although divorce can be devastating, it can be viewed as another opportunity to create a life of your own. The focus now that you have this opportunity is to spend time alone with yourself before becoming involved with someone else, adjusting and accepting single life, forming new goals for redirection and when deciding to date, searching for an individual that is suitable for plans you have established for your new life. One last point to ponder is how much time that you will allow a new person to monopolize your time. Yes, it may be nice to have someone to fill the void of loneliness but maintaining a balance of dating and keeping your identity to maintain those goals previously set is a must.
Divorce Tool Box understands the process of divorce and life after divorce. Visit our website @www.divorcetoolbox.comto see how we may assist you in this emotional journey of divorce.