Entering the dating world after a divorce can be very challenging, to say the least. I had gone through a very challenging divorce battle for several years, was almost 30 with a child and the experiences that were coming my way, where well, quite disastrous. I didn’t really want to get remarried at the time and the more men I met the more I felt like I should stick to that decision. One of my favorite songs during that time was “The more boys I meet the more I love my dog” (although I am cat person 😊)

After enough time to regroup and heal from the heartbreak, I decided to start putting myself out there again. At first I was thrust into a pool of disarray and confusion that triggered a lot of fears in me. I took a step back again and started analyzing the experiences and see if I could find a pattern or common denominator. I also got super clear with what I needed and that being alone is not that bad after all.

Here are some tips that I hope will help any women re-entering the dating world:

Discover your own patterns: The first guy I dated for a while, seemed nice, intelligent and kind of intriguing, yet something felt off. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but after a while it was clear that he had a serious addiction and was controlling. Interestingly, I discovered a pattern between the men I attracted, my ex, and my childhood role models.  The journey of awareness was anything but simple or easy, but understanding how my childhood formed my inner beliefs and how these inner beliefs attracted that energy back into my life was a life changing revelation for me.  I got myself onto a mission to heal that belief system and to work hard to build myself from within, so I can finally attract the right man into my life. It took some time, but guess what? IT WORKED!

Take the time and space to really heal and learn to love being with yourself: One of the hardest thing after a long term relationship ends, is feeling alone. You have gotten used to being with someone, whether good or bad, it was a companion who took space up in your life and with that gone it feels like something is missing.  That feeling might make you want to jump into a relationship with someone you just met and I know how tempting that can be, but I am here to tell you to take a step back and take time for yourself. Take time to really heal, to really understand yourself better and understand what transpired in your marriage. Take time to learn to love yourself, to truly care for yourself the way you would want a man to care for you. Know that the way we treat ourselves dictates how others will treat us. That is why it pays to take a little more time to heal and truly love yourself enough, so you can truly find the men of your dreams. Remember, being in a relationship isn’t a guarantee for happiness, being in the right one might be.

Don’t waste your time thinking you will change him: If you are looking for a long term relationship, commitment or marriage don’t waste your time thinking you will make this new guy you just met who seems to just want to party change his mind. You won’t! So many women make this critical mistake to shut down their intuition and give time and energy to something that will never happen and ultimately hurt them. Know what your values are, what you are willing to sacrifice and what not. Get really clear for yourself and if the guy doesn’t share the same values and desires he isn’t right for you. Don’t think he will fall in love with you and change. The change won’t last and ultimately it won’t work.

Time is on your side: experiencing someone in different settings can give you a lot of clarity about who they are. I find that most women who miss the red flags the second time around didn’t take enough time and create enough experiences to really get to know the new love in their life. If he/she cares  and supports you they will give you all the time you need. If they don’t it may be a potential red flag and something you should be wary of. Last week I had a client share with me that she was dating this guy who knew when they started dating that she had made a commitment to teach abroad for six month. They dated very short and right after the engagement he started pressuring her to give it up and get married sooner. The way he disregarded her dreams and desires was a clear indication of who he would be as a spouse, needless to say they broke up.  Anyone who truly loves and supports you will give you the time and space you need.

Expect to mess up: It is normal to mess up once you meet someone you really like. You are nervous, kind of rusty and feel uneasy with this new dating again process. The fear of getting hurt might manifest itself on different occasions and it is possible that the guy will be confused and overwhelmed by you. I remember when I met my now new husband I was really afraid of letting go and truly allowing myself to fall for him. I kept on resisting and holding back and every time it got more serious I ran away. Luckily he loved me enough to stick around and wait till I was finally ready, but I know that I messed up several times. The best thing you can do, is be patient with yourself and accept that you will make mistakes then try and be open and honest at the right time and learn how to communicate your fears and feelings without making the guy run for the hills.

Be strong, be brave: it is very scary to get back into the dating world after being hurt. I remember telling myself and my family I would never get married again. I had done it, had a child and felt too afraid to try again. It took a long time till I met my current husband, but mostly because I wasn’t ready.  You will discover parts of yourself that you never even knew where there.  Be brave to take the dive, be willing to fall and fail. Try and fail, try and fail, but never fail to try. Be willing to potentially experience pain and emotions you have never felt before or didn’t know you have.  Accept that you will make mistakes, embrace your perfect imperfections and be willing to try again. Sometimes all you need is a second chance, because time wasn’t ready for the first one.

Last but not least, one of the things that really helped me during the dating process was shifting my mindset. I went from thinking that marriage is the be all and end all to thinking that it is just another chapter in life. That way I knew that if the chapter was meant to be written it will come…. It was just a matter of the right time and the right guy.

“Second chances are not given to make things right. But are given to prove that we could be better even after we fall”.

 

Almost every family I know has someone who is divorced. The divorce rate  in the United States is at 50 percent at this point, yet we never think it would happen to us. When I realized that my marriage would end all I kept thinking about was the shame and humiliation I would feel. I was ashamed and felt like I had failed at the most important thing I set out to do in my life.  In time I realized that most people only spoke about my failed marriage for a few days, then the next gossip would get their attention and they would move on to something else.  Meanwhile I was left with my feelings, and questions. Why did this happen to me? What could I have done differently? Will I ever find true love?

After about a month of self-pity I decided it was enough and committed to focusing on forgiving myself, so I can start focusing on rebuilding a better and happier future for myself.

Here are some things that really worked well for me and I suggest you try:

Forgiveness: Forgiveness is one of the most beautiful things. It is a gift that we often offer others, yet rarely give ourselves. Somehow we think of our actions as reprehensible and are very hard on ourselves. I am generally very critical of myself on simple things (something I work on daily to change), imagine how unforgiving I was towards myself after the divorce.  But holding on to guilt and not allowing to give yourself the gift of forgiveness will only hold you back and work against you. The next time you find yourself feeling guilty and are unsure on how to forgive yourself, ask yourself this one question: “ how is this guilty serving me, and how will it help me for the future?” We all make mistakes, yet the mistakes don’t define us. It is what we learn and do thereafter that does.  Accept that you are human, that you have made mistakes, while appreciating what you have learned from it.

Let go of should haves: Perhaps there were things that you wish you could take back or change. You find yourself focusing and thinking “If only I could turn back time and….”, “if only I would have …”. Know that these feelings of could and should haves only cause anguish and won’t help you in the future. If you find yourself thinking this way, say thank you to the thought, acknowledge it, then say: “ you no longer serve me”, and let it go.  We can’t turn back time, we can only focus on better tomorrows.

Accept your imperfections:  Thomas Edison had over 10000 attempts at trying to invent the light bulb. He didn’t see or think of himself as a failure, instead he said: “I haven’t failed, I have just found 10000 ways that won’t work”. We all have imperfections, and yet we can chose to focus on how imperfectly beautiful and amazing we are. Rather than focusing on your flaws, shift your mindset to all the amazing things you have to offer and all the beautiful qualities you possess. Something I find really helpful is making a list of things we love about ourselves, as well as things we accomplished that we are proud of and often read and focus on the items listed on this list.  It is a great reminder of how truly incredible we are and it will help you stay away from focusing on your imperfections.  Remember you are perfectly imperfect.

Letting go of pain: Maybe there are things you really need to tell your ex before you are able to forgive yourself. You have been meaning to do it for a while but can’t bring yourself to do it somehow. You may not be able to directly speak or send him a letter, but you can write the letter anyway, for YOURSELF, so you can express your feelings, hurts or regrets and give yourself the permission to set it free. Some of my clients do this and then go to the ocean, read the letter, tear it up and throw it in, letting go of what they were holding onto. They find this practice very healing and empowering.

Take care of yourself: One of the most powerful ways to forgive yourself is to give yourself permission to take care of yourself. When we are down on ourselves we don’t give ourselves permission to nurture our needs, bodies, minds and souls. Make a commitment to do daily self-care things for yourself starting TODAY. Change your eating habits and acknowledge the changes as self-loving acts, meditate, journal, take time to exercise even if it’s just a few minutes a day. Prioritizing your mind and body is key in practicing self-compassion and forgiveness.

My wish for you is that you heal and give yourself the gift of forgiveness. You will see, that once you do a whole new world will open up for you.

If you are struggling and feel stuck and alone, feel free to reach out for your complimentary “Unleash your power” complementary session. Click here to schedule your appointment.

Sometimes holding on makes you strong, sometimes letting go makes you stronger!

Happily ever after is something we all dream of, yet many of us don’t get to fulfill this vision. A devastating reality. In spite of all our good intentions, hard work, investment, love and time we often see marriages fail. When life becomes too painful, with too many battles and battle scars, and couples harbor deep anger, and resentment despite therapy, that doesn’t seem to get resolved, it could be an indication that it is time to let go.

Reflecting back to my own divorce, I remember thinking that I would rather be alone for the rest of my life that stay in this constant place of war.  Rarely did we not have confrontation and our home was filled with tension and constant fighting. When I realized that I had no respect left I knew it was time to move on.

Over the course of my practice I have had couples divorcing for various reasons. I had  a couple who after 25 years simply grew apart, they had little in common and couldn’t connect to each other’s worlds. She was a stay at home mom that was into cooking and traveling, while he was an astute business man. They couldn’t relate to one another, they didn’t share the same taste in music or movies and had very different views of life. Once their kids where grown up there was nothing that kept them together and they realized it was best for them to part ways.

Another couple had gotten divorced after the husband had gotten involved with some illegal activities. I remember his wife telling me: “I am not angry at him, I understand why he did it, I just simply can no longer respect him”. She chose to leave him because she didn’t want to stay in a relationship that lacked respect.  Many of my younger clients committed to marriage prematurely before they knew themselves well enough and soon realized that they had different values and goals for themselves.

Regardless of why your marriage may be at the brink of divorce, there are always some overwhelming questions that you want to be able to answer for yourself. Of course the decision is a very personal one and you might not be able to make it without the help of professional guidance. I have put together a list of questions for you to think about to help you find clarity:

  • Does every situation, no matter how seemingly trivial, evolve into a fight?
  • Do you or your spouse continually refer to hurtful events in the past?
  • Is all the respect gone from your relationship? Do you feel it is impossible to bring that respect back?
  • Have your goals and directions changed whereas your partner’s have stayed the same? (Or vice versa.)
  • Is your partner no longer fostering your individual growth?
  • Have you and your partner both changed so much that you no longer share moral, ethical, or lifestyle values?
  • Have you and your spouse lost the art of compromise? When you disagree, are you unable to forge a path together that is acceptable to both?
  • Do you and your spouse have a basic sexual incompatibility? Do you feel completely unattracted to each other? Despite help from professional therapists, have you stopped making love?
  • Have you tried therapy that hasn’t brought about any positive changes?
  • Can you honestly say that you have tried everything you could have tried to revive this relationship?
  • Do you feel like you have nothing left to give to your marriage?
  • Do you feel indifference towards your spouse?
  • Does your partner treat you badly and show indifference towards you?
  • Has there been a long history of dishonesty, addiction, abuse or infidelity?

If you have said yes to most of these questions, you may be at the point of no return. One of the key foundations in a marriage is caring to fight for it and once you feel indifferent or become emotionally detached it is a strong indication that your marriage might be over.

In situations like this I often suggest a separation trial, so you can get some perspective and view yourself and your marriage clearly. Sometimes, just a weekend or a couple of days apart can give you a clear perspective and help you make a decision. Regardless of what situation you are in, never make a decision when you are emotional or stressed.

When we make a life changing decision, you have to keep in mind what it is that you will lose, not count on what you could possibly gain. I remember once a woman telling me: “I want to leave my husband, he doesn’t make me happy and I am sure I will find someone else who will”. I strongly advised her to reconsider, since another guy might not make her happier, and since one doesn’t have any guarantees of what the future might bring. You want to make this life changing decision only when you clearly understand what it is that you are losing and yet ready for it regardless.

Since this is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make, be sure to seek professional guidance, such as a relationship coach/counselor.  You want to make sure that you are working with someone who is experienced and truly understands the intricacies of relationships.

If you get to the point where you feel like it’s time to throw in the towel, chances are that you get that moment of clarity and just know that it’s time to move on.  If you make the decision to divorce, be kind to yourself. Remember that a failed marriages does not make you a failure. Some relationships aren’t meant to last forever and there are things you needed to learn from this relationship.  Know that everything has a reason and that time does heal.