New Relationships After Divorce
Quote: Don’t throw away the old bucket until you know if the new one holds water. (Swedish Proverb)

Relief and Anxiety

Free at last! Feeling a tad insecure, are we? After all these years, how do you go about meeting other men and women? Do you hit the bars? Join church groups? Go on blind dates? Answer personal ads? Call a dating service?

Vulnerability

How difficult and ugly your separation or divorce was may determine how you’re feeling right now. Do you have that trampled feeling? Did your spouse leave you for the proverbial younger man or woman. Have you lost friends due to your divorce? Do you wonder if you are still attractive?

At this point, impulse is not your best friend. Without realizing it, you could suddenly be wearing that "come on look". You could easily wind up in a relationship with the first man or woman you meet or are introduced to, just to prove to yourself that you’ve "still got it."

Dating Again

Yikes! Dating, a dreaded concept for the formerly married man or woman. It can be as traumatic now as when you were an adolescent. Your confidence isn’t exactly booming. The enemy is now supposed to be a source of refreshment and part of your new life. To make this work, we better had proceed one step at a time.

Several options for meeting new singles exist; most of these options have a real downside. Bars, for one, are mainly meat markets and game venues. Who needs this on a regular basis? A library or museum is a more cultured arena to some people re-entering the social scene. Ah, the supermarket! You’re on a budget mission when you walk through those electronic doors. Don’t pay too much attention to whoever is piloting the other shopping carts. If you do, you may be there for hours and hours, leave frustrated and alone, only to discover that you’ve spent more than you had budgeted. A recent study shows that the longer you stay in a grocery store, the more you spend.

Great ways to go about meeting people?
  • Church - Social events within your church community can be wonderful and risk-free. An after service coffee hour, for example, is an ideal time and place to mingle with and trust the people around you.
  • Hobbies and recreation - Do what you enjoy doing and at least the people you meet have that one special something in common with you.
  • Work and professional organizations - Again, there are some known factors going on here, some familiar faces and common interests.
  • Friends - Avoid your friends’ attempts to "matchmake" per se (at least for awhile), but be open to casual gatherings where you arrive and leave unattached, and there’s more than one other unattached person in attendance. Picnics, dinner parties, things which draw small crowds, are healthy ways to start.

Careful Rebounding

The day comes when you have a real date, and you’re excited. Good for you! You should be. You deserve to go out with a companion and have some fun. Live again! But remember, still waters run deep, so just don’t jump in blindly. You’re now in the zone known as "the rebound" and it can be tricky.

You rebound when you meet and begin to see someone for the first time since your final divorce decree. The tricky part is due to our own blindness. We fail to see that we may be repeating our personal history. Believe it or not, most divorced people end up seeing someone on the rebound who is all too similar to the person they just divorced. They subconsciously think maybe they can do things differently this time; maybe this is the only type of person I can attract; maybe I still miss my former spouse and can try to change him or her.

Whether your rebound mate is right for you or not, short-term or long, you’ll want to take an honest look at yourself and your social situation. Who are you seeing? What are they like? Why are you attracted to them? Be candid, honest and fair to yourself (and your new friend), and realize that most rebounds are temporary and half of all second marriages end in divorce. Tread lightly.

Consequences of New Relationships

This probably sounds like the overprotective parent to a teenage child.

Don’t get so worried. The goal here is your happiness.

The consequences of a new relationship will effect your new life, the life you are building free from your past. Enjoy it, but don’t be reckless with it. Stay with or consider joining a support group, continue talking with your friends, and breathe a deep, happy breath with each new moment.

A new relationship should refresh you, restore your faith in the opposite sex and increase your self-confidence. Don’t over-think it. Do a self-reality check early on, just to be sure you are not conducting your own marriage therapy session with this new man or woman.

This rebound person might be going through some unfinished emotional business of his or her own. Be empathetic, but do not become isolated with this person. Should your new friend be reluctant to share you with your other friends, be leery of possessiveness. Don’t let him or her monopolize all of your time.

Your close friends are part of your recovery and should not be excluded once you meet a new friend. Besides, they will want to meet this person as a way of looking out for you. Do not push your friends aside. They were there for you in tough times. Include them in your new-found happiness.

Remember, don’t monopolize the conversation with past horror stories on your new dates. Just relax and have fun!



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