Getting back into the dating scene after a divorce can be a grueling experience and one that many well-meaning friends and family members will try to push you into. They mean well, but you really have to focus on first finding yourself before you get back in the game. You know how they say “You can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself first”, well guess what, it’s true.
After a divorce we are generally not in a great place as is, and starting to date when we are in that frame of mind usually leads to more of well, that frame of mind. Think of it this way, you are not going to enlist in a marathon right after you took off a cast from your leg, will you? No I am sure you would take time to recover, do therapy, allow your leg to heal and get back your strength. Now that you are divorced, people will try and push you into the dating world again, or you might even want to do so yourself. You are lonely and are looking for ways to connect with someone who will make you feel better. The only problem is that you will most likely attract someone that isn’t in great shape either and it won’t evolve into an unhealthy relationship. So why subject yourself to more pain? Instead focus on dating yourself. Yes you heard right, dating yourself.
You might wonder what does it take to date yourself? The same ingredients it takes to date another person; develop a good understanding of who they are, a physical connection, learn about their hobbies and what makes them tick….
And what does it mean to learn to fall in love with yourself after your divorce? You will need to find that same spark that hits you when you find the “one”: see the positives, have fun together, excited to be with one another, and reaffirm that love. And this all applies to you my love, the woman you should be dating after your divorce, before you find your prince charming.
Connect with your Body
I know you must have heard this a thousand times, exercise is super important, and yes I will say it once again. Exercise is a great feel good outlet that allows you to relieve stress and get your endorphins going which release feel-good hormones in your body. It doesn’t matter if you run, join a dance class or do yoga, they all give you the same benefits.
After my divorce I joined a yoga class for the first time in my life. I will admit it took me some time to really feel comfortable (since I was sooooo unfit), but ever since it has become my lifeline, the oxygen I need that keeps me going. I look forward to the classes like a little kid looks forward to ice cream. It is my safe haven where no worries exist, and I get to recharge my batteries.
Rediscover who you truly are and want to be
When we are in a relationship we often lose ourselves and adapt the habits or desires of our spouses. Did your ex make you watch sports on Sunday? Would you have rather joined a dance or painting class but never did? Now is the time to get really clear with what YOU want in your life, what you enjoy, what you would like to explore. Truly take the time to rediscover yourself, think of who you were before you got married, what changed during your marriage, who you are now and where you want to go from here. One of the things I realized after my divorce was that I had stopped drawing and painting, something I was very passionate about when I was younger, and something I picked back up. I realized that I was so consumed with trying to work on a marriage that was beyond repair that I had stopped living and having fun. Now is the time for you to learn to have fun again on your terms. Do what makes you happy.
Become more introspective.
Well, you might not like this one so much because you will have to take a look at yourself in the mirror so to speak. You know how when you meet someone you will spend time analyzing what bothers you about the other person? Like do I like his lifestyle? Do I like the choices he is making?
Ask yourself: do I like the woman I am today? Are you happy with your job, your lifestyle, your friends, your parenting skills…? Take the time to think about the changes you need to make in your life for you. Maybe you will discover that you need to end some friendships because they are too negative and are holding you back from growing, maybe it’s a change of lifestyle, like getting healthier or quitting smoking. Be really honest with yourself, switch off all your distractions. Do you like who you have become?
You are a victor
We are our own worst enemies. Seriously, stop a moment and listen to the negative voices in your head. I noticed that most women are really good at criticizing themselves, and don’t give themselves any credit for all the amazing things they do.
Years ago while doing my own inner work I was asked, do you ever celebrate your victories? My initial reaction was like “celebrate myself? How does that align with being humble?”. I learned that embracing yourself and celebrating your qualities or small accomplishments or wins are not a contradiction to being humble. Start by complimenting yourself for a job well done, or a victory you accomplished. It doesn’t matter how small. Constantly give yourself that positive verbal feedback, and kick the negative chatter to the curb.
Have fun – period.
The other day a client told me she feels bad about herself when she watches a movie. She feels like she is wasting her time. After delving into the depth of where this negative message came from she realized it was her ex husbands voice living in her head. She remembered that during their marriage any time she did something to relax he would tell her she was wasting her time. What are things that help you feel happier and relaxed? Do you know? Or have you forgotten to honor that part of yourself? When you are dating someone you want to know what they enjoy doing, you are curious to discover what makes them tick, and you are excited and happy to give your date an experience they enjoy. When was the last time you had some fun and did something crazy? You wouldn’t want to date someone boring would you? So go out there and have some fun and make the most important person in your life happy: YOU!
When the going get ruf, love you
We all have bad days, and you will have some days where you will feel like crap. It’s just part of life. On days where you feel like that remind yourself to be kind and forgiving towards yourself. Wouldn’t you do that for someone you love? Do the same for the most important person I know: YOU!
Once you have learned to truly love yourself and enjoy dating yourself, who knows, you might want to stay single. 😊 .