Dating plays a major role in the journey of self-discovery we go through after a divorce. Its importance lies in how it shapes who we become.
We are constantly evolving into a better version of ourselves, and our experiences model our unique characters. A big part of life’s happenings is relationships. So, because our love lives do not end with divorce, here’s a list of things to remember when venturing into the dating world yet again.
Be honest with yourself:
What is it that you want out of a relationship at this moment in your life? Are you looking for commitment? Casual dating? A friend with benefits? Marriage? Or just a companion? These questions are to merely give you an indication of where you are emotionally, and how invested you are willing to be in a relationship. Your answer will give you a sense of direction and insight into the kind of person you’re seeking; it will guide you in choosing your potential partners. It will also be a reminder of the boundaries of the relationship.
That does not necessarily mean that this is the type of relationship you will end up being in. Yet, being aware of your own intentions makes you more conscious, and accepting of the intentions of others.
You are in control:
We tend to forget how much control we have in certain situations. And in a new relationship we sometimes get carried away, but that does not mean we have no control over how this partnership evolves. Remember that it’s all in your hands: you can control how fast or slow things progress, how far things go, and how long things last. You always have a choice.
Be yourself, no pressure:
Do not allow yourself to feel pressured. If you feel like you are being pushed to behave or do something you are not comfortable with, don’t. You are under no obligation to fulfill someone else’s wants or needs. Explore your limits at your own terms. Step out of your comfort zone by choice. If you feel pressured ask yourself if this pressure is exerted on you by someone else, or is it self-inflicted? Be self-aware and do not pressure yourself into acting out-of-character to fit in, or to impress and please someone else. So, remember to be true to yourself, your own morals, and your own values.
Do not take things personally:
How someone treats you is not a reflection of who you are, but rather a reflection of who they themselves are. Unfortunately, in our society, people have prejudices against divorcees, and sometimes their views and beliefs direct their attitude and behavior. So, do not take it personally. If someone manipulates your emotions, tries to take advantage of your vulnerable state, lies to you, or views you in any negative light then it is, most likely, not about you: they would probably be the same with others. Other people’s behavior towards us sometimes does hurt; yet, we should always remember that how others treat us or see us does not define us. Have confidence in all you do and who you are.
Be aware of your baggage:
We all carry our baggage with us into our relationships until we have healed fully. So, be aware of what you’re bringing along with you into your new partnership. Be conscious of your insecurities, negative emotions, confidence and self-esteem issues. Notice how your baggage directs and influences your behavior and reactions towards your new partner. Do not allow your past experiences to cloud your judgment of others. Remember to be kind to others and, more importantly, to yourself.
Be kind to yourself:
When you find yourself acting out-of-character, forgive yourself. Remember you are rediscovering yourself and who you are; you are getting to know the person you are today and how you, as a person, have been influenced and affected by your past experiences. And remember that when you learn to forgive yourself, you learn to be more forgiving of others.
The past stays in the past:
We are all constantly evolving and changing. Do not judge others or yourself based on your past lives. Be present in the moment with who you and your partner are today. Do not allow for ghosts of exes to be present in your relationship. Get to know each other based on how you are like with each other now, and not based on how you both were with previous partners. What you and your new partner have done in the past does not define who either of you are today. And remember, the past shapes who we become, yet, it does not define who we are.
Keep an open mind:
You are transforming into a new version of yourself along this journey, so, be open to new people and new adventures. Do not be so quick to restrict yourself to “your type” of person. You are not the same person you were, so, explore your likes and dislikes anew. Test your own limits and boundaries. Do not label yourself, and allow it to be re-discovered; you will be surprised at how much you didn’t know about your tolerance and capabilities. Venture into new territory; yet, tread through it carefully. And remember to be open to what life serves you.
We attract what we need:
Have faith that even though life doesn’t always send us what we want, it does constantly serve us what we need. The universe guides us on this journey of healing and development by sending us what we need to help us grow. Every person we meet plays a role in shaping your future self. Examine why certain people come into your life. Ask yourself how their presence made you evolve; how their existence helped you in knowing yourself better. And, so, remember that there is always a purpose attached to someone’s existence in your life.
There are no reasons to accept less than you deserve, or want. You are not in a hurry, and there is no longer the “where is this going?” sort of pressure on relationships. Choose to be with someone who adds positively to your life. Know your worth, and never settle for less. Do not allow the fear of being lonely limit you. If you don’t feel appreciated or satisfied, simply, leave. Remember that you survived a divorce; you’ll survive a breakup.
Find the learning:
Even though we would all like to find the forever relationship, most of them don’t last. And because all life’s events help us grow, find the learning when things end. Ask yourself: how this relationship changed you to the better, what you learned about yourself through it, and what from it will you carry with you into your next escapade to make it a better one. And remember to cherish all the great moments you got to live. Be grateful for the new emotions that were awakened within you. Appreciate the ride; and accept the lesson.