According to a study by the National Survey of Family Growth, 43 percent of first marriages are likely to end in divorce. This may sound like the opposite of pep talk, but what the statistic says, loud and clear, is that you’re not alone.
The good news is that it can only get better from here on out. Embrace the new experiences and revive the old experiences that you thought were behind you—flirting, asking someone out, dating, and all the butterflies that go with meeting someone new.
In case you are rusty in the dating department, here are tips from family mediator Dr Elinor Robin, and relationship coach Luis Congdonon, for getting back in the game:
1. Wait Until It’s Official
Eager beavers, your attorneys will confirm that no matter how dead the relationship may seem, don’t make a hasty move and jeopardize your final settlement. A fling will prove too expensive if the court finds out about it. You can also expect to lose the car in the settlement if your image is tainted in court. Even your lawyer can’t save you here.
2. Give Yourself Time
Well-meaning friends might encourage you to get back out there. But don’t rush yourself. Take time to understand yourself, and deal with all the emotions that are running through your mind. It’s pointless if you go on a date too soon, and end up talking about your ex all night long. You need to let the other person see the happy side of you. But first, you must find it yourself. Start by spending time alone and taking up activities you might have wanted to, but didn’t.
You stand the risk of jeopardizing a potential relationship if you date before you are ready. For example, many women going through a particularly messy divorce, where the husband has cheated, transfer their anger on to other men. Don’t assume that all the men you meet will end up betraying you like your ex did. This attitude will only lead to pointless endeavors, leaving you more frustrated than before.
3. Deal With Your Issues
It will not be easy to put the past behind you entirely, when you do feel ready to meet someone new. You won’t be able to put a number on the months it will take for you to move past your ex either. Remember that closure is an ongoing process, but you have to be open to it. Again, persons who may have wronged the other in a relationship that ended will feel unworthy of love. These are larger issues that you might want to take up with a counselor.
You might not be looking for a long-term relationship as soon as you get out of a marriage, but try to avoid a spiteful rebound—it won’t help you get back at your ex.
4. Be Honest & Transparent
You don’t have to put it out there on your first date, but at some point in the relationship you will need to tell the other person why your marriage failed. It is important to be clear, and communicate your intentions about the relationship early on, especially if children are involved and you are looking for a steady partner.
You must also speak to your child and find out how they feel about you dating someone. Do not introduce them to anyone until your date has been around for a while, and intends to stay. It also makes sense to introduce the child only after you and the ex have lived separately for a couple of months.
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