Summer Loving: Getting Ready For Romance When Dealing With Divorce, Part 1
You have been dealing with your children, your work life, and your ex all through the winter and spring, and now summer is just around the corner. You may not have been making much time to explore the possibility of dating and exploring a relationship with another person. If your divorce has been very high conflict, you may struggle with believing that you will ever be able to find another partner. Being a single parent can also present its own unique challenges and complications when figuring out how to move on after your divorce.
It is possible to find love again over time, but the first person you need to fall in love with is yourself. A messy divorce or adversarial ex can leave you feeling very vulnerable and fragile when heading back out into the dating world, but you deserve to have fun, and to see if you can find someone you are able to have fun with as well. That foundation can provide a good start to building a sustainable relationship. Part of that optimism is just going to come with time and distance from your process. Summertime, with all it has to offer, is a great time to get out there and have fun in the sun. However during that transition back into the dating world, I encourage my clients to put their SAFETY first.
Takeaway Tip #1: Shun the shame and negativity. Many times when you are heading back into the dating scene, you fill your head with all of the negatives that you bring to the table. Telling yourself things such as, “No one is going to want to date a single dad or mother” or “I don’t look the way I used to before I got married” is not helpful to your goal of connecting with other folks. People are attracted to authenticity, and it is important to remind yourself that divorce is a thing you are doing, it is not who you are being. Make the time to take care of yourself, and if there is something that you do not like about your current situation, figure out how to realistically change the things that you can. Confidence is sexy and a great asset to take out into the dating world!
Takeaway Tip #2: Ask questions. If you have been married for 15 or 20 years you will find the dating scene has changed quite a bit. This is the age of texting and dating apps. Some people may be bringing multiple relationships or a marriage to the table at the same time that they are pursuing you, but may not feel it necessary to share that unless you ask. Everyone brings their “representative” to the table, and it may take a while before you know the whole person given the distance that technology can provide. This is all part of the dating journey in this day and age, and while it may be frustrating at times, you should not take it too personally. Learning how to ask questions will be a crucial part of your dating success, but you also have to be ready to handle the answers. It is important to have a sense of what you are able to accept and what is a non-negotiable. Be open and stay flexible, but be clear about your limits.
Takeaway Tip #3: Face your fears. Has it been a long time since you have experienced any physical intimacy? Are you afraid that you will only be able to talk about your divorce experience or your children? Are you fearful that you will be rejected because you are a single parent? Is your ex reneging on their parenting time responsibilities making it hard to commit to a date night? If your divorce is or has been especially challenging, you may have to do some work to address those feelings of anger and hurt so you can show up to your dating experience in a positive frame of mind. Whatever your fears or divorce challenges are, you should try your best to understand them before actively re-engaging in the dating scene.
These are the first steps to dipping your toes in the dating pool again after a difficult divorce. Stay tuned for Part 2 in the Summer Loving series, where we will discuss three more tips to help you get ready for romance in this new season of your life.
If you are contemplating divorce, or struggling with a high-conflict divorce procedure, let Tamara Harris, CEO of Tamara Harris LLC, be your partner as you navigate through each stage of your journey. As an impartial, experienced professional, Tamara will work directly with you to give you the best tools and strategies to manage the specific challenges and uncertainties of divorce. Serving as your Divorce Coach and advocate, she will help you see clearly during this time where emotions can often impede and derail your divorce procedure. While each member of your high-conflict divorce team – lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, and other experts – will be advising you, Tamara will help you to synthesize this information, think strategically about the options you have with clarity and purpose, and get your divorce across the finish line. Visit tamaraharris.com for more information, or contact Tamara Harris to discuss becoming a client. All inquires will be held in confidence.