If you are finalizing a divorce, this statement may sound very alluring. If true, it gives rise to a good reason why you should start to date as soon as possible. No one wants to be alone forever, so why not begin the search for love immediately? But here’s a word of caution.
Being thrown out of the bedroom is not like being thrown from a horse. There was a complex relationship between you and your spouse that must be understood, both the good aspects and the bad. It does not matter whether you were the one who filed for divorce or the one who received the jolting visit from the process server. Unwinding the mixed emotions will take time. If you are now enamored with a new date, proper emphasis is most likely not being placed on saying the emotional “goodbye” that needs to be said. Experts tell us this is the same grieving process that people go through when someone special dies a physical death. It’s the marriage that died this time, and both spouses must pay their respects.
It is hard to climb back on a horse if that horse is dead. Imagine your marriage as a horse. It had a life all its own. Both spouses invested a lot of time feeding and caring for that entity called a “marriage.” Those spouses now have to disengage from each other, from family members, from sex life, from daily living patterns, and definitely from common financial affairs. Most importantly, if there are children, both spouses have to re-establish new patterns of behavior around parenting. Jumping immediately into another relationship while working on all of the above could make post-divorce life more traumatic than the bad marriage left behind.
Do not hide from yourself by dating too quickly. Are you merely masking patterns that need change? Refusing to face and examine the old marriage may be the perfect setup for a repeat performance. Dating too soon may block the ability to make the right choice of your next life partner, should you choose to remarry. That is why “getting back on the horse” too soon is myth when it comes to dating after divorce. Reality calls for “staying on the ground” long enough to decide whom you want in your life before you actually meet that special one.
So be brave. Dare to face the fear of “being alone forever.” In doing so, you give yourself the best gift of all. Time to recover, refresh the spirit, and renew yourself for a future relationship that can be much better.
Martha Bourne is an attorney, a mediator, and a collaborative lawyer who is Board Certified in Family Law. Her practice, Martha Bourne and Associates, covers all aspects of family law and has seen many changes over the last 23 years in Houston. She qualifies for Martindale-Hubbell‘s highest rating for small practices.