It may have been a long time ago, but once upon a time you fell off your bicycle.
It most probably happened while you were a child who was just learning how to ride. Perhaps you remember the exuberance of taking that bike down the street while staying in perfect balance, and the exhilaration of this wonderful new experience — all those great feelings, just prior to a fall!
Afterward, what you remembered was your fear and the awful pain that came upon contact with the hard, rough asphalt.
That incident may have been so devastating that your first instinct may well have been to kick your bike and vow to never ride again. Ending a relationship feels a lot like that first bicycle fall: it’s scary, it hurts, and you never want to experience it again. After all, how could something that once felt so good suddenly go so wrong?
Metaphorically speaking, to get beyond this pain, you have to get back on the bike. In other words, you can’t keep yourself from experiencing another intimate relationship.
Of course, this won’t be easy. You’ll encounter other setbacks, perhaps situations that remind you of your loss, or behavioral patterns in those that interest you which remind you of your ex. If you’re prepared, however, you can weather any emotional storm brewing inside you. Here are four divorce survival tools that will help you do just that:
Tool #1: Get out of the house. Whenever we feel bereft, we tend to cocoon: to stay indoors, stay in bed, to let the phone go unanswered — to close ourselves off from the outside world. Fight that instinct. The sooner you get back out into the world, the quicker you’ll be able to put your loss into perspective — and behind you.
Tool #2: See people. Contact old friends — even those who knew you as “a couple.” If they haven’t already been in touch with you, don’t assume that this is because they’ve dropped the friendship because of the change in your relationship status. They may just be waiting for a signal from you that you need their love, so allow them to do what friends do: give their support.
Tool #3: Take on new experiences. Now more than ever, it’s time to be part of a crowd. Have an interest? Then join a club. Or travel to a town — or a country — that you’ve always had a desire to visit. Whether this experience lasts one hour or one week, it will work like a mini-vacation by putting your life in a different perspective.
Tool #4: Start dating again. Don’t do so in order to jump into another relationship, or to find another partner immediately. And don’t do so because you want any acknowledgement of intimacy, because your heart may not yet be open to that.
Start dating again because you want to explore a possible friendship, or because interaction with someone who is saying or doing something you find interesting is one way to remember that the world is a big, wonderful place filled with many interesting people. By starting slow and letting this situation take its natural course, you’ll soon realize that, like that bicycle, relationships are nothing to fear, and can bring you a lot of joy.