Can you find love again after a divorce? The answer is yes! You just have to open your heart to new experiences. This can be quite frightening because of the emotional scars we all bear after a divorce.
Divorce may cause you to have doubts and fears about love, but the way to fight this back is to go out there and take some risks. If you don’t, then you miss the opportunity of finding the love you deserve.
I know it’s easier said than done. So let’s look at some tips to find love after divorce—the right way, and when you’re ready.
ARE YOU READY FOR A RELATIONSHIP?
You will be ready to move on and find love again when you can say the following and really mean it.
- You truly love yourself.
- You’ve healed from the hurt of your divorce.
- You have a clear sense of why you want to be in a relationship.
- You are prepared to put in the work and effort required for a new, healthy relationship.
Assess your emotional wellbeing first, before signing up for that online dating site. Be honest with your answers. Why risk hurting yourself and someone else if you’re not yet ready for a relationship?
Read Related: Dating After Divorce: How Soon is Too Soon?
Along with divorce comes grief. So if you must, wallow in self-pity until you’re fed up with it. It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself—for a while. Take your time, hit rock bottom, and then start afresh.
LOVE YOURSELF FIRST
No matter what method you use to help yourself heal—therapy, yoga, or crying—it’s only when your mind, body and heart feel connected and healthy once more, that you should start to search for new love—no sooner.
Divorce can make anyone feel like a failure. Accept your faults and embrace the person you are. Deal with your unresolved emotional baggage from your past relationship. Once you’re past the grief and self-loathing, you’ll learn to love yourself again, and you’ll be able to give love and be loved back.
To find meaningful love after divorce, you have to let go of your past emotional resentment and bitterness. That means you have to really let go of it, not just pay lip service to the idea. Anger, hurt and resentment are not recipes for finding new love.
It might be hard to recognize this bitterness in yourself. In his book, You Can Choose To Be Happy, author Tom G. Stevens writes that “anger prompts aggressive behavior toward other people and can permanently harm relationships, especially with those we love.”
How often have we heard of a recent divorcée sabotaging a new relationship because she still has unresolved issues with her ex? Instead of resolving those issues before she started dating again, she took them out on her new boyfriend, who just might have been a good match for her, had she not scared him off with her hostility and resentment?
If your friends—or even the men you date—tell you that they think you have unresolved hostility over your marriage, listen to them. They are seeing a side of you that you may be unable to recognize. Then, once you’ve let go of the hostility, and you believe that you can choose to be happy and move on…then you will.
DO NOT REPEAT SELF-DEFEATING PATTERNS
Like it or not, we all tend to have a “type”—a certain personality that we’re drawn to again and again. Examine what was good and bad about your last relationship, and let that be a guide for you as you search for new love. You don’t have to avoid a man just because he reminds you of your ex. But if he reminds you of the things you didn’t like about your ex, or you find the two of you have the same personality conflicts that made your marriage impossible, get out before you repeat the same mistake.
No one can draw a line in the sand and then say, “Okay, I’m ready to date!” once they’ve crossed it. And it’s hard to assess our own emotional health. But once you can honestly say that you love yourself, and that you’ve identified and worked through the issues that might keep you from forming a healthy bond with a new person, then you’re well on your way to creating a solid new relationship. You go girl!