Finding Love After Divorce
My divorce happened one year after my mom’s death. Overwhelmed by grief and depleted of all emotional energy, I wasn’t looking for love, but love found me anyway.
Living in a small town, you think you know everyone or at least know of everyone. While I vaguely knew who my current boyfriend was, I’d never had an extended encounter with him, but then several years ago we crossed paths at a local venue and felt a spark. I know it sounds stupid. I never believed in love sparks until I felt one myself.
I’m listening to a book called The Celestine Prophecy and it talks about encounters that are driven by the larger universe. Seeing Matthew that night felt that way. We began communicating and now, over three years later, we own a home and a puppy and have five kids between us.
I won’t lie. There is a lot of baggage and exhaustion that comes from a divorce. There is also guilt and defeat. It’s helpful that Matthew and I both come from marriages where we had children. The understanding we have as parents is helpful when certain things or situations come up. That may not be the case for all couples, but it’s beneficial for us.
What makes our relationship work is that we are best friends. We chat on the phone or text throughout the day about important matters and mundane, goofy topics. We send news links and GIFs and kiss face emoticons. At the end of the day we look forward to coming home and decompressing together.
We both deal with restlessness so we make sure life is exciting, even if it’s just dressing up by ourselves on New Year’s Eve to hold a photo shoot. We love to travel, explore and have similar interests in movies, TV shoes and culinary preferences.
With all of that being said, we’re also different. Matthew can be linear and logical while I’m whimsical and all over the place. I’m a deep thinker, often to a fault. Matthew is good to say, “Stop, you’re overthinking this” or “Be gentle with yourself.” Sometimes that’s all I need to hear.
At the end of the day, my favorite thing is how well he knows me. It feels good to be known. That’s essentially what anyone is looking for when searching for true love. Matthew knows my strengths and my faults, and he loves me anyway. We are one another’s safe space.
I know that I’m lucky to have found love after divorce. If you’re divorced, maybe you don’t feel like dating. Perhaps you want to be alone for a while to remember who you are or work on personal growth. If so, I don’t think you will regret that choice. One day, when life settles in again, I bet you’ll look back on your alone time with pride and gratitude.
I don’t have advice to offer when it comes to finding love after divorce, but I did a little research and found some great suggestions from the experts. This is what they had to say:
Go on a solo trip: Don’t make excuses why you can’t go. Find a way to give yourself this luxury. Stay in a hotel and read a good book, sit at a bar by yourself and strike up a conversation. When in a relationship, we can get hyper focused on our partner. A solo trip would allow you to get away from the normal daily grind and feel stimulated in new ways.
Learn something new: Take a class or learn a new language or skill. Marriages can feel constricting. During this phase where you have life all to yourself, spread your wings by trying out novel activities. This is also a great way to meet people, whether that’s a new friend or a love interest.
Expand or contract your friend circle: Maybe you had friends from your previous life that are no longer good for your psyche or self-esteem. Evaluate which of your friends give to your life and which ones drain your life. Meanwhile, find ways to meet new people, especially folkst who have some things in common with you.
Enjoy having sex or be celibate: After being in a long-term, monogamous relationship, some women enjoy exploration in the bedroom before taming themselves. Other women are sick of sex all together and would prefer no one touch them for a while. Either way, do what feels right and don’t force something that feels wrong.
Go to therapy: Thankfully the word “therapy” is losing the stigma it once had. Therapy isn’t something to be ashamed of; it’s an action step you’re taking to better your life. Most would benefit from talking to someone objective instead of a sibling, parent or friend.
Try a relationship on for size: If you’re in the dating phase, there’s no rush. You can have mini-relationships just to see if you’re ready for something long-term. Make sure your suitors know you’re not necessarily looking for a forever partner, just so you don’t leave a string of broken hearts in your wake.
Broaden your horizons: Maybe there’s always been a certain “type” of person you’ve dated. Perhaps after divorce you can branch out a little. Early in relationships, people are bad to look for all the good traits in people and ignore red flags. Go into any new relationship with open ears, eyes and mind but at the same time, don’t be afraid to spread your wings.
Wherever you are in your journey, go easy on yourself. Life will be hard after divorce, most likely in more ways than one. Whether you find love next week, next month or in three years, I have a feeling you’ll find that person eventually. In the meantime, nurture yourself endlessly. We can never go wrong doing that.