You’re Divorced but are You Good to Date?

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Lakshmi Rebecca is a filmmaker, anchor and vlogger. She runs India’s first award-winning Youtube channel, is a travel vlogger, runs an audio podcast series called India Startup Chat and blogs about life. She is single girl and a creative entrepreneur. Check out her work at www.lakshmirebecca.com
I’ve been divorced 9 years now. The first year post my divorce, I really felt I’d been set free. I’d married someone against part of the family’s wishes and when things turned bad and a 3-year court battle for the divorce followed, it was tough… very tough. When it all came to and end, I really felt I was starting over in many ways. And that’s when I realized that I was finally making the right choices about who to date.
In hindsight I could see that trying to accept a date invitation during my separation was an emotionally confusing affair. But when the divorce came and the official paper was in my hand, I remember how much things shifted in my head. I remember having this startling realization a few months later that my mind wasn’t sprinkled with guilt, fear, anxiety or shame when I thought of dating or walking into a new relationship. The past had been officially put behind and life was now a clean slate to begin on. Scarier this time may be, yes, but not impossible. Well, it possibly helped me a lot that I am a diehard optimist.
It’s great if your divorce was simpler, but often divorces are very tough affairs, so it is important – VERY IMPORTANT – to give yourself time to heal and to wait for the calm to land inside you so you can hear yourself think clearly and are sure that your motivations are simple. Here are some situations that should raise red flags and what you can do about these in order to be truly ready for a new and beautiful relationship.
1. I am divorced and…
You go on a date and don’t stop at ‘I am divorced’ for a status introduction, but proceed to talk about the ex – what kind of a person he was, what he did or even what you loved and hated about him / her. Even if I were to consider the best case scenario here that your ex was a nice person and your divorce was amicable, you have to remember that the first date in your ‘single again’ life is a new beginning. Your new date is not here to hear about the ex or visualize how great, good, bad or ugly you and your ex were to each other. He / she is here in the present and potentially for the future. So, if you find yourself focusing backwards – either you are just not ready or the date weirdly reminds you of your ex or the relationship with your ex. Either way, time to walk away politely from the idea of a second date and reflect. Your next shouldn’t be a mission to find a shoulder to cry on about the past, but a genuine search for an equal partner for your beautiful and happy future.
2. Everything Still Reminds You of the Ex
You start dressing up for your first date in your ‘single again’ life and remember all the colours and styles your ex appreciated on your. You wonder if your new date would be similar. You pick the same scent you’ve worn for years… the one your ex used to oh so love on you. STOP right there. You are not over your ex yet.
As much as you might hate that last sentence, the good thing is that you are aware of how stuck-in-the-past you are, can now take control of the situation consciously, and do everything you need to do to get ex out of your system, i.e., truly an ‘EX’. You may have to move homes, find a new circle of friends that are not common to the ex, find a new job if that helps… do everything you need to in order to give yourself a brand new emotional start. It’s sounds like a lot to do, but sometimes we need all the fresh air we can get. Why punish yourself by living in the ashes of a fire accident that happened long ago?!
3. It’s Not Official Yet
The divorce is yet to officially come in and you think it’s okay to go on a date. Well, if you really have gotten over your ex and life has changed heaps: sure, go ahead. In my case though, dating during separation was a horrible horrible mistake even though I was already living in another home and was in another job. I thought I was doing fine, but I know in hindsight how confused I was about a lot of little things.  
Often people rush back into dating because they want to fill the void. Life after a marriage falls apart can feel quite lonely, so you have to fill it up with family, friends, work and pets… not a new relationship the next month because that’s just an emotional crutch that’s going to give way soon.
So, in your life, if there are still any confusions or constant reminders of the difficult past: think hard before you try a new relationship. You don’t to be running into someone’s arms because you are running away from something. You want to pick your next partner very carefully and in no hurry. You definitely don’t want the mistakes of the past don’t repeat themselves. You need to give yourself time to reflect, love yourself, forgive yourself, accept the things you did wrong in the past and feel content enough in your own self before you can try a relationship again.
4. You’re Hiding the Status
You’ve been on a great fourth date, you like this person a lot but you still haven’t told your new crush that you are divorced. You are embarrassed of the ‘divorced’ status or of the failed relationship. Okay, may be you’ve told them you were in a ‘serious’ relationship a while ago, but that’s just not the same as getting married and living together and then getting divorced, is it?
Dishonesty or the lack of simple honesty in such matters is not going to help the new relationship. You need to build trust and a strong foundation of openness for the future. So keep it simple and be yourself. Everyone has a past and has made errors in choices or reacted badly in certain situations. Forgive yourself, accept your past, lay it out in front of you and walk on over it and beyond… you’re going to be fine! And life is going to be great! And if this new person can’t see how wonderful you are even though you had a difficult marriage once or chose a wrong partner once, he / she isn’t grown up enough for you!
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