I NEVER want to get remarried after my Virginia divorce!
The way I see it, it goes one of two ways. Some women cannot wait to get back out there and find Mr. Right – or even Mr. Right Now. Other women tell me, in no uncertain terms, that they will never – and I repeat EVER – date anyone ever again.
In both cases, I can completely understand.
After spending many years in an unhappy, unsuccessful, unfulfilling, or abusive relationship, I can imagine what a rush it would be to find someone new. To feel flutters about a first kiss. To have the promise of a whole future together. It was exhilarating when you were 18; it’s probably doubly or triply exciting now, that you have the backing of real life experience behind you.
I can also imagine that, after spending many years in an unhappy, unsuccessful, unfulfilling, or abusive relationship that you’d love your solitude, that you’d not want to rock the boat, and that you might find it difficult – or impossible – to trust someone new. That you wouldn’t want to experience heartbreak again. Maybe you even want to avoid love for your children’s sake. I can understand how scary it would be, and how vulnerable you’d have to make yourself.
Whether you’re ready for love or you are sure you’ll never love any one (but your kids and your dog, obviously) again, it makes perfect sense.
I’m not a doctor or a therapist, but I do talk to a lot of women who are in the place that you’re in now. I hear all of these things – or variations of these things – on a daily basis. I, too, am a person who has been in the world, and has been in and out of love at different points in my life, so I have some real life experience backing me up as well.
I can tell you, from experience, that coming out from under the shadow of an unhappy or abusive (and I am of the opinion that nearly every failing marriage becomes at least somewhat emotionally abusive at some point) relationship takes time. You come to accept your worldview as normal, and breaking out from the shell of your marriage and realizing what is and isn’t true for you can be both a terrifying and liberating experience.
Have you talked to someone? I think you should. I think it’ll help. I think it’ll help you recognize patterns and avoid them – both in your friendships and your romantic relationships. A lot of times, I find that the trauma of our childhood or our early adolescent years can create blind spots that you might not realize.
There aren’t any rules here. Whether you date or not is something that’s entirely up to you. I hope you won’t hold yourself back from something that could make you happier than you’ve ever been just because one time – which, before long, will seem like a really long time ago – you made a not-so-good choice of partner. I hope that you’ll be able to do some work on yourself personally, and come out better, stronger, and happier. Whether that means that you find love, or you find joy in doing something that you love, or you find something else entirely, it doesn’t really matter so much what it is, so long as it makes you feel like you find yourself.
The way I see it, a divorce is a second chance for a happily ever after. Okay, so maybe it didn’t work out the first time. Maybe, during your marriage, you found yourself thinking longingly about something else. Someone else. A new job. School. Children. A puppy. Travel. Whatever it is that you were afraid was missing, now’s your chance to go out and find it.
Divorce is an opportunity. It’s not an opportunity that was extended to every woman throughout history, either. During my mother’s lifetime, a woman finally got the right to purchase a home in her own name and get her own credit card. Can you imagine getting a divorce when you COULDN’T do those things? That’s why women didn’t, but why, for you, it’s an opportunity.
Sure, it’s difficult to get a divorce. And you may be feeling, now, that your life sucks and is totally falling apart. You may be angry, or sad, or depressed, or anxious, or embarrassed – but, I can tell you that you’ll work through it. And, if you do the work, you can come out better, stronger, happier, and more fulfilled than ever.
You’ve been given a second chance. It’s dearly bought, for sure, and from it comes some of the most intense fear and heartbreak you’ve probably ever felt. But – it’s your path. You’re walking it. You can choose which direction you go from here.
You don’t need to date. You don’t have to date. But I hope that you’ll take this chance you’ve been given and do something great with it.