Breakups are not just hard, they are life-altering events. And divorce, even more so! A divorce leaves one confused, hopeless, frustrated and disillusioned with love. It also stirs up a whole lot of anxiety and skepticism about finding love after divorce. When in a relationship, we become used to looking at ourselves from the point of view of our partners. We stop looking at ourselves as individual entities, becoming more and more comfortable in the role of being half of a whole.
To have that taken away all of a sudden can leave us all sorts of confused. Confused about who we are, what we like, and if and when we will find love again. All of us have the tendency to be short-sighted when it comes to our present emotions. We talked to Shazia Saleem (Masters in Psychology), who specializes in separation and divorce counseling, for her insights on this issue. She talked to us about the things one should keep in mind before venturing out in hopes of finding true love after divorce.
Finding Love After Divorce – Expert Guide
Divorce can leave you stripped of several things – your sense of self-worth, confidence, future plans, dreams, finances, love, forgiveness, hope, tolerance and so much more. Which is why it makes a lot of sense to be open to looking for help. Help can take the form of educating oneself through reading and listening to experts. It can also look like listening to the experiences of other people who have successfully navigated through the same trenches in this battlefield.
Listening to inspirational true stories on relationships that reestablish your faith in love, and true finding love after divorce stories may offer you a feeling of community. It will make you feel understood and have your fears acknowledged. Listening to experts will give you an objective insight into the crisis that led to your divorce and provide invaluable lessons that you can take with you to your next relationship. A good divorce counselor will hold your hand and guide you through the storm of emotions you have been subjected to deal with alone.
In this article, Shazia shows us how to steer our way through letting go of the old and welcoming the new. She points out 9 things one must be mindful of when looking for chances of finding love after divorce. New relationship anxiety is real and can be even more intense after divorce or a breakup. Shazia’s tips are sure to help you find stable grounds.
1. Are you ready to find love after divorce?
It is often seen that the first instinct that comes as a result of a divorce or breakup from a long-term committed relationship is trying to jump back into a new relationship. This could be an attempt at dealing with loneliness. This could also be driven by the desire to make your ex jealous.
Shazia says, “You must self-introspect. Instead of getting carried away or trying to prove to your ex or to yourself that you can move on, first do a small self-check. Ask yourself, “Am I truly ready for a new relationship?” How soon can you start dating, you ask? Start dating only if you feel ready.”
Falling in love is fun and beautiful, but dating is also a difficult business. Do not jump into it unless you feel that you are in the best of your spirits and health. Finding the right man after divorce or looking for that lovely woman to fix those mistakes should not be the first thing you should be worrying about after your divorce.
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2. Take it slow
Once you have evaluated your emotions, you may find yourself in a better place. You may find that you are indeed ready to trust someone again and share your love with them. You might even feel excited at the prospect of dating again.
You may not know it, but you may be looking for validation from this new relationship. You may subconsciously feel pressurized to make this new relationship work at any cost, even ignoring red flags that should send you running and erasing healthy boundaries. On the other hand, you may subconsciously feel inclined to sabotage a perfectly good relationship.
Which is why, even if you do find yourself feeling ready to begin dating, Shazia advises to take it slow. “As we all know, slow and steady wins the race. So, do not rush into committing yourself to a new relationship. What you need is time and space for your emotions to settle down. Give yourself that space,” she says.
3. Learn from past mistakes
It is easy to look at your divorce and think of your old relationship as failure. But an old relationship is just that – an old relationship. The mistakes you made are all part of the process of growth of your personality. They add to your resilience and spiritual growth as well. They give you better odds of finding love after divorce.
It may help immensely to look at the past as a learning experience. Under the guidance of a counselor, one may learn to objectively look at the past, look for the mistakes that were made and treat them as lessons. Shazia sums up the lesson very simply, “Learn from past mistakes and be careful to not repeat them.”
4. Have healthy boundaries
The prospect of finding love after divorce may get you excited about jumping back into the dating pool. It may also get you in a state of desperation. It is often seen that people tend to think that their odds of finding love after divorce are low. This insecurity forces them to bend all sorts of ways to get the relationship to work.
However, Shazia insists on taking a step back and gauging your current reality and accordingly, your feelings. She says, “Have healthy relationship boundaries for yourself and maintain your personal space.” There might be children involved in the divorce, a child who lives with you. You might have to change jobs or work more to manage the new financial situation. You might need more support from family and friends.
This is why you must take a step back and find out what your needs are in a new relationship. You might not be looking to get too involved. You might not want them to meet your family just yet. You might not be ready to give it a lot of time. Whatever it is that you need, lay it out straight.
5. Work on yourself before finding love after divorce
Divorce or a breakup can be an opportunity to gather all the new-found time and space in your life and invest it in your personal growth. Before worrying about how to grow in a relationship, worry about self-healing. Before worrying about finding love after divorce, you must put your mental energy into self-improvement. Again, a skilled therapist may help you recognize issues that may need your immediate attention. Alternatively, mindfulness practices such as journaling and meditation may provide you an insight into your own issues.
Shazia says, “Working on yourself will help you regain your self confidence and self-worth that is usually lost in the painful process of separation and divorce.” After all, you should come out of the mess as a better, more joyful version of yourself before meeting someone new. Your psychological and social stability is imperative to the health of the new relationship.
6. Mind your self-talk
There is no doubt that divorce and separation are not only negative but also emotionally-draining experiences for most people. Even if the divorce is mutual and amicable, it still holds in itself the feeling of loss and an uncomfortable change. This might be causing you to wallow in self-doubt. The frustrating feelings of loneliness after breakup and the so-called failure of an important relationship might even force you into depression. It is also possible that you might be feeling a sense of judgment from the people you know.
In the midst of all this negative talk, it becomes all the more important to keep a tab on what you say to yourself when you are in your own company. Shazia insists that you have a positive self-talk with yourself and avoid all kinds of negative thoughts and speculation. Meditation, journaling, practicing daily affirmations will help you change that negative self-talk into positive ones.
7. Be true to yourself
Swear allegiance to yourself and do not neglect your feelings. Shazia draws our attention to people’s tendencies of pleasing others. When finding love after divorce, this susceptibility to please others first is even stronger. Shazia says, “There might be a leftover fear of losing the new partner too. You might want to please this partner in any way you can for the sake of the success of the relationship.”
She advises to tread cautiously, insisting that staying true to your feelings and the feedback that your intuition gives you, is very important. You can only successfully focus on the other things on this list of things to be mindful of when finding true love after divorce, if you swear by this point – staying true to yourself and prioritizing your own critical emotional needs.
8. Indulge and invest in self-care
There couldn’t be a better time to care for yourself. In fact, you couldn’t be in more need of care than you are now. Rephrase ‘finding love after divorce’ to ‘finding love for yourself after divorce’. Shazia says, “Keep a tab on your emotional well-being and healing. Your emotional well-being, your happiness, the success with all your future relationships – it is all about you. It all starts with yourself. So you must prioritize yourself and your needs.”
Self-care can take any form. Really listen to yourself. Notice what it is that you need. It could be the more common things such as getting a haircut or a healing massage therapy. Or it could be taking care of your physical health. Spending more money on yourself could be the kind of self-care and self-love you need. Or investing more time doing something you love. It can even be about setting healthy boundaries with the people around you.
You decide what you need and how to take care of yourself. This is extremely important before you begin worrying about finding love after divorce in the outside world.
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9. Don’t lose hope in love
This is probably one of the most important things to be mindful of when thinking of finding love after divorce. Be hopeful! Trust that when love happens, nothing comes in its way. Trust that love is after all a basic emotion, and that it is entirely possible to fall in love again. And again. What keeps a good relationship going is constant work directed toward maintaining the health of a relationship. This is something entirely in your control, something tangible that you can do right this time around.
Once you find someone compatible who makes you feel like your finding love after divorce story could make for a great rom-com, you will put in all that you have learned from your past relationships and do better. Shazia says, “Sometimes bad things happen in life but that does not mean you will not find someone really trustworthy. You must work toward rebuilding your trust in love and relationships.”
Tips To Rebuild Trust In Love
To rebuild trust, be mindful of your company and the chatter around you. Spend time with people who engage in positive conversations about love. Be aware of your thoughts and how they are shaping your beliefs. Positive relationship affirmations, listening to successful finding love after divorce stories, watching romantic movies about finding love after divorce, are all ways to improve that self-talk, to indulge in self-care and to build your faith in love and relationships.
We feel our pain and believe that it will always last. We lose trust in the possibility of feeling better tomorrow. Our heart assumes that this is it. That we will never heal. But stories of celebrity couples who have gone through divorce and have found love again and again are examples of hope. We are not suggesting that we compare our lives to theirs. Their challenges as well as privileges are different from ours. But they are still people and can definitely serve as examples that love is out there for everyone. They are part of the signs from the Universe that it is possible to find love again and again, and that love is coming your way.
You never know if the next relationship could be better than the last. Before Meghan Markle married Prince Harry and became Duchess of Sussex, she was married to Trevor Engelson, American actor and producer for two years after dating for seven. Meghan Markle beat all odds and became the first divorcée to become a member of the Royal Family.
Sometimes, making light of your pain by something as simple as watching movies about finding love after divorce could be what you need. There are some great films on life after divorce that show how divorced people find happiness either in love or through some other form. Our suggestions are It’s Complicated, Gloria Bell and Enough Said among several others. The Meddler starring Susan Sarandon as a new widow is another great feel-good drama about dealing with loneliness, the anxiety of singlehood, finding love and moving on.
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This faith is essential. The faith that change is the only constant, that you will heal, that there is love out there, but more importantly, that your happiness doesn’t depend on finding love. This faith will give you the encouragement to practice these suggestions. Each of Shazia’s suggestions will support you in the practice of the other. Have faith, happiness is just around the corner.
If you think professional counseling will help you in dealing with this anxiety about finding love after your divorce or dating again, Bonobology’s panel of experts is just a click away.
Yes! Finding the right man after divorce or falling in love with the right woman after divorce is entirely possible. It only seems hard because of your current feelings about love and relationships. It also seems hard because you might be suffering from a loss of self-confidence and self-worth. You might be filled with hopelessness and frustration about love and relationships. But this too shall pass.
Yes, it is worth dating after divorce. But you must be careful to not indulge in dating as any sort of rebound or a remedy to deal with loneliness. Dating after divorce is a good idea once you have regained your health – emotional, mental and physical. Prioritize healing from the trauma of the separation and breakup or divorce trauma before jumping back into the dating pool.
Even though it is often seen that the first relationships after divorce do not last long, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. The chances of finding love after divorce and for that relationship to be long-lasting will depend on the psychological and social stability of the divorced person before they started dating. A new relationship that begins with a healthy state of mind of both participants will have better chances of survival.