I advise my coaching clients to not begin dating after divorce or thinking about a new relationship until they have recovered from the old relationship…the one they have just extracted themselves from.
The emotional upheaval you feel during and after divorce is an opportunity to grow as a person. Consider the first year after your divorce a time-out that offers you to sow the seeds of your self-development. A time in which you give yourself the opportunity to emerge from the experience of divorce knowing yourself better and feel stronger and more enthusiastic about what the future holds.
In order to fully recover from a divorce and move on with your life, you need to understand what went wrong in your marriage, acknowledge the role you played and change negative behaviors that could interfere with future relationships.
It is imperative that you fully accept and understand that you made choices in your marriage that had a negative effect on the marriage. You made mistakes; learning from those mistakes is the best way to not repeat them in future relationships.
Some questions to ask yourself before saying yes to dating after divorce:
- Step back and look at the big picture. How did you contribute to the problems of the relationship?
- Do you tend to repeat the same mistakes or choose the wrong person in relationship after relationship?
- Think about how you react to stress and deal with conflict and insecurities. Could you act in a more constructive way?
- Do you accept other people the way they are, not the way you think they should be?
- Examine your negative feelings as a starting point for change. Are you in control of your feelings, or are they in control of you? Do you respond to circumstances based on emotions or logic?
I’m not suggesting you beat yourself up for mistakes you made or negative behavior traits but I do suggest you take an honest inventory and make constructive changes. The post-divorce healing process gives you an opportunity to learn more about yourself, how you relate to others, and the problems you need to work on.
If you are able to objectively examine your own choices and behaviors, including the reasons why you chose your ex, you’ll be able to see where you went wrong and make better choices in future relationships. When you can do that, you are ready to jump back into the “dating scene.” But when you do, beware that pesky rebound relationship.
This post first appeared on DivorcedMoms.com