Saturday, May 10, 2008

Desperately Seeking Someone

Dating soon after divorce can be a great self esteem boost; however, you are vulnerable at this juncture and the importance in protecting your heart and using your head cannot be stressed enough. The attention someone new offers will be fun and give your spirits a lift. You will probably get that excited feeling in the pit of your stomach and a racing heart at this new love interest and that can feel good and be enticing. The important thing to understand at this point though is the need to take your time and not rush into anything serious right away. If you have been married for any number of years, you need time to discover who you are again; time to think about your needs and desires and time to discover what you want in a new partner. Taking time to assess what happened in the marriage you just left is important. Was your spouse abusive, critical, controlling, or unfaithful? What prompted you to choose this person? Or were one or other of you simply unhappy and so you left the marriage? Taking time to look back at your marriage and learn from your mistakes will help strengthen your chances of having a successful subsequent marriage or relationship. If there was any sort of abuse involved, you need to strongly consider why you chose this person. Do not allow yourself to be a victim. Take responsibility for having entered the first relationship and deciding why you did, so that you can avoid making a similar choice again. Let me strongly state, I am not saying abuse is okay or excusable, I am saying though, that you chose to marry a person who ended up abusing you, don’t let that happen again and you are the only one who can prevent this. Additionally, understanding that no one can make you happy is an important part of marriage. Taking time to learn how to be happy for yourself now, will make a second marriage more likely to be successful. Only you can make yourself happy. Having been married to a controlling person the first time, I knew I did not want to experience that again. When I had a date with a man who became possessive soon after and made a snide remark about my having been out with friends, I cannot tell you the joy I experienced in my heart when I was able to tell him firmly and with no regrets that I had been in a controlling and possessive relationship once and intended not to do it again. I said goodbye and that was that. I had learned, you cannot change someone’s behavior, you cannot make someone who is controlling or possessive give up those traits, you just have to know that you will not tolerate them and move on. The same with abuse, you must learn, what are the signs of an abusive person and then you must be alert to any sign of this in a new love interest. And for happiness, you must learn how to be happy in you! Dating can be great fun, but take your time. If the relationship becomes serious, give it a couple of years to meld. Anyone can be on their best behavior for a year, it is usually during the second year that if there is going to be personality conflicts that they will show up. Have fun, but use your head and keep your heart guarded until you have time to decide what you want for your future. Write in your journal what you hope to find in a new partner. Reflect on what happened in your first marriage and how you want to avoid this in the future and how you can accomplish that. Relationships are hard work, but gratifying when both people are working hard. Know what you want and what you expect before you enter in again.