You finally pulled the trigger for a divorce, and you desperately long to feel loved again.
I know because I’ve been there, too. And I can tell you… you need time to heal.
The hard truth is that you can’t heal if you are in another’s bed – even if that bed is temporary. You can’t heal if you are trolling the dating apps – even if it is just conversation.
You need to be by yourself to heal. Why?
I have 20 years of experience as an Oregon divorce mediator helping couples through divorce mediation. In my experience, my clients need about a year to heal before they start dating again.
What’s Going to Heal You vs. What’s Temporary
Yes, feeling loved will temporarily fill the void left by your divorce, but it won’t heal you.
Why am I going on and on about healing?
I see too many repeat divorce clients (I call them “frequent flyers”) who didn’t take the time to heal and therefore quickly found a new partner to engage in the SAME dance they did with their former spouse.
They might think this new relationship is different, but it’s not.
How do I know? Because they didn’t change. They didn’t take the time to learn that you determine your happiness and not another human.
You are whole without another person. You are enough, and you are everything.
What to Keep in Mind Before Dating Again
Of course, every situation is different, and there are no hard-and-fast rules about how to date after your divorce.
But in my experience, there are some important lessons to learn before jumping back into the dating pool.
- Think about where your marriage went wrong.
- Take some time to grieve what you’ve lost – and celebrate what you’ve gained.
- Watch out for people who want to take advantage of your vulnerability.
- Be honest about your past.
- Determine what your standards are.
- Do the inner work and learn to value yourself.
When It’s Time to Start Dating Again After Your Divorce
The best advice my therapist told me while I was through my own divorce and wanting desperately to date and, therefore, to feel loved again, was that I needed to understand the difference between being alone and being lonely.
If you are feeling lonely, then you aren’t quite healed. When you feel lonely, invest in yourself by doing activities that bring you joy. At first, you won’t feel that happy… and then something magical happens. You realize you are happy. When this happens, then you are alone, not lonely.
Once you do the work of healing, and yes, it is work, by practicing understanding that you are the only one who can make you happy, then (if you want), it’s time to start dating. It will be an easier and less painful process because you know that you are already enough. You won’t be looking for someone to fill that hole because you already did.
Instead, you will be looking for someone who compliments you and your lifestyle.
When that happens, you have this moment and you realize, maybe for the first time in your life, how easy romantic relationships can be if you are whole before you join with another! It’s a magical feeling.
So, give yourself the gift of one year.
Contact an Oregon divorce attorney-mediator to discuss your options
If you are considering divorce mediation, our boutique Oregon divorce mediation firm can help you assess whether mediation is the right choice for your situation. Mediation can be an excellent option for many couples.
At Mediation Northwest, we have no desire to drag our clients through a long and unnecessary court proceeding. We are honest with our clients and advise them to use the process that best suits their needs. Click here to schedule a consultation to get started.