Below is an article by Margot Lester with supportive strategies for divorced men and women who are considering dating again. However, I think she provides helpful hints for anyone who’s looking for a loving relationship.
FYI, Margot quotes me (Bruce) extensively in the last few paragraphs of her article.
Dating Again? Boost Your Luck
By Margot Carmichael Lester
You took a swing at marriage, and it didn’t work out. Now that you’re divorced, how do you get back on your feet and back in the dating game? According to experts and the divorced people we spoke to, it’s a matter of attitude adjustment. Here, they share their wisdom.
Talk to yourself
Start by giving yourself a new internal monologue, suggests Laurie Puhn, J.D., author of Instant Persuasion: How to Change Your Words to Change Your Life. “Being single means you still have the chance to meet Mrs. Right. So give yourself a new mantra: ‘I’m single because I’m taking my time to make sure I do it right.’”
Can something that simple really make a difference? You bet! “If you think confidently — as in, ‘I know it will happen, it’s just a matter of time’ — you will speak and act confidently,” she asserts. “And you’ll find that the people who are bitter, self-entitled or pessimistic will voluntarily stay away from you because being around someone happy and confident makes them feel worse about themselves.” Now that’s a real bonus. You get a better attitude and increase the chances that unsuitable dates won’t be as interested. “Be your best self,” she says, “and you’ll attract other people who are at their best.”
Ditch the failure dialogue
Another key move: Let go of the “failure” point of view. Your marriage didn’t last, but that doesn’t mean you failed. “Things, situations, and people change and, hopefully, grow,” notes Neil Fiore, a psychologist in Berkeley, CA, and author of Awaken Your Strongest Self: Break Free of Stress, Inner Conflict, and Self-Sabotage. “You may have made a good decision when you married this person, and made another good decision when the marriage stopped working for both or either of you.”
Adds divorcée Holly Kremer of Waltham, MA: “Never, ever think of yourself as ‘damaged goods.’ It took me a while to get over that mode of thought, but I did. Don’t think you have to settle or that you are any ‘less’ than anyone else, just because you are divorced.” She knows what she’s talking about. Kremer is getting married later this year.
Avoid false comforts
Many divorced people feel empty and hurt — and that often leads us to seek comfort. “Out of your loneliness or low self-esteem, it’s easy to want to fill the emptiness or to try to feel better by jumping into bed with someone new,” says Bruce Mulkey, divorced (and now happily-married) co-author of I Do! I Do! The Marriage Vow Workbook. “I suggest that you avoid this at all costs,” he cautions. “Instead, discern the truth from the fiction in your mind. Set forth an intention to stay out of the blame game — toward yourself, your ex or others. Be gentle with yourself, nurture yourself. Get lots of exercise. Eat well. Get adequate rest. Know that everything happens for a reason, that there is a great gift for you in these events when you are ready to open yourself to them.”
“As much as I wanted to blame my former partners in marriage, the time had come for me to accept responsibility for my life, that I was responsible for the outcome of my marriages,” Mulkey recalls. “And if in the future I wanted a loving, enduring relationship with a significant other, I had to have that quality of relationship with myself. So I got clear about my purpose in life. And I got clear about the kind of woman I wanted to share my life with and my unwillingness to settle for less. And wouldn’t you know it: As soon as I put my clear intention out to the universe, the woman of my dreams showed up and asked me out.”
Getting over divorce is never easy — or fast. But you can begin getting ready for another chance at love today by giving yourself some time and attention. It’s the best way to ensure the right someone will want to give you that, too.
Divorced freelance writer Margot Carmichael Lester is the co-author (with her new husband) of Be A Writer and Be A Better Writer.
Question: When is the best time for a couple to start preparing for married life?
- A: Before getting married.
- B: After getting married.
- C: Who needs preparation? Just take each day as it comes.
While we would agree that having the skills and attitude to “take each day as it comes” is valuable, we think that any couple wanting a happy, fulfilling relationship has one answer — A. Prepare for married life BEFORE you get married.
An article in Time magazine reminded us that many couples–and perhaps you’re one of them–focus only on the wedding before they get married and are a bit flummoxed after the nuptial adrenaline wears off. According to “Postnuptial Depression: What Happens the Day After“:
“Postnuptial depression may not be a clinical diagnosis, but it has entered the lexicon of marriage in the past few years, and newly hitched couples will tell you it’s real. The blues typically hit early in married life, psychiatrists say, as newlyweds begin recognizing that expectations of how their partner or relationship will change postwedding are unrealistic. Worse, once the Big Day has come and gone, couples are forced to step out of their much-cherished and often long-lived ‘bride and groom’ spotlight and just get on with real life.”
Although planning for your wedding can be fun, so can planning for your life together. What better way can you truly spend an afternoon than in having an honest, intimate conversation with your lover talking about your visions for your life and what’s most sacred to you about the connection you have?
We’re not saying that you need to pop your party balloons or ditch your dates with caterers or florists — having a wonderful wedding day is a great way to celebrate your love. We simply invite you to consider what’s more important (and therefore what most deserves your time and attention) — one awesome day or one lifetime of meaningful memories. Once you know the answer to that question, you’ll ace the marriage prep pop quiz for sure!