It took me quite a while after my former spouse moved out and the divorce was final to feel like I was ready to date again. Initially the very thought of dating or trusting felt way too threatening. I knew my heart would be tender and I felt too vulnerable to take the risk. I treasured the peace I gained through divorce and didn't want the drama. Then, I suddenly began to be aware of men again - everywhere! I started to long for companionship and I sensed a readiness.
Asking yourself these questions may help you decide when you're ready ~
- What have I learned are my weaknesses from my past relationship? Do I know how to improve these areas for the future?
- Do I have time to invest in a healthy relationship?
- How will I keep myself accountable and open to input from those I trust?
- Have I reached a place where I can handle rejection without letting it destroy the healing progress that I've made?
- Am I satisfied with myself? Do I have fulfilling relationships or am I attempting to fill and empty place within myself?
If you're recently divorced, widowed or out of a relationship then take your time before moving into another one. Consider what you may have gained, even through the loss. For me, it was peace. I treasured the peace that I now enjoyed at home and didn't want to bring any drama into my heart, home or life. I wasn't confident that I knew how to ward off drama or that I wouldn't jump on an emotional roller coaster of ups and downs, hopes and disappointment. I didn't want that. I needed my energies focused on healing and parenting well through a transitional time in the lives of our family.
For more than a year, I invested in myself. I made my home more mine. I scheduled regular girls' nights with friends. I focused on paying down debt, remaining healthy and healing from deep wounds through books, therapy and groups like DivorceCare. It was a necessary and healing time for me. I had opportunity to date, but I declined politely and was cautious about sending out a mixed message.
Some people close to me encouraged me to date right away, some tried to set me up, it was sort of a novelty and joke. I always reiterated how opposed I was to that idea! I think those close to me just wanted to see me happy and felt that coupledom was a sure way to that end. But I quickly established that I wasn't interested. I didn't even entertain the idea in my own head and heart. So the first obstacle to overcome was to admit that I would like to date and one day have a companion again. For a long time, I felt it was somehow admitting that what I had wasn't enough. I falsely thought it was less godly or being discontent to want more.
But the longing didn't go away, and even as I got to know myself better and revisited my early-self desires and girlhood dreams, I knew that I have always believed myself to be created for partnership. Once I felt the freedom to have the desire, the desire for companionship was there in full force. I became hyper-aware of men all around me! It was laughable to me at the time and even now. But this is one of the ways in which I became sure that I was ready, I was open to possibility and not closed off by pain as in times past.
So I began to pray. God knew my desires, but I got comfortable talking with Him about things before I was comfortable enough to share with others. That's what I discuss next - How did I know what I would want?
Are you in a place where you are dating again? Open to it? Just curious? Do you want to hear more of my experience or is this a discouraging topic? Are you happily married and just reading for fun - whatever your status, please say hi! I would love to hear from you today!
Next in the dating series: Decide What You Want
As I'm sharing, please take or toss - I'm not suggesting that what I did it what everyone should do, but it is the truth unfolding of my story.