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Birmingham AL Collaborative Divorce Law Blog

Monday, August 28, 2017

On the Rebound: Look Before You Leap into a New Relationship

Starting over after the end of a marriage can be (by turns) exciting and terrifying. Depending upon your situation, you may feel thrilled about diving into the dating pool, or reluctant to dip in a toe. But how long should you wait?  Whereas there’s no definitive timeline for assessing your needs and taking time to grieve the loss of your marriage, there are ways to determine if your inclination to jump into the pool (or stay high and dry) is healthy. Consider this advice from the experts.

  1. Give It a Year. Although there’s no set rule for how long you should wait before becoming involved in a new relationship, many experts advise caution. “I usually recommend waiting a minimum of a year to date after a marriage or long-term relationship has ended,” writes Sandy Weiner, dating couch and founder of LastFirstDate.com. “The problem with dating too soon is that people often choose a mate based on the wrong criteria.” Starting a new relationship when you are still hurting, needy, or lonely can lead to more heartache. Better to wait until your life is stable and you are feeling confident before entering into a new romance.
  2. Take Time to Heal. Jumping from your marriage into another long-term relationship may fill your calendar, but it may also help you avoid processing the grief, anger or resentment. This goes for other activities, too. Staying super busy by volunteering for a local charity, accepting every meeting invitation, or filling in every teacher’s aide spot may seem like great ways to spend your newly found free time. But these can also be avoidance tactics. As difficult as it might be to face the sense of loss or disappointment surrounding your divorce, the sooner you can sort through those emotions with a skilled therapist or spiritual advisor, the quicker you can be on your way to a new life.
  3. Focus on You. During that relationship hiatus spend some quality time with the one person who matters most: You. Especially if you have been married for many years, the transition back to autonomy is important. “You need to date yourself first,” writes Weiner. “If you wouldn’t want to go on a date with yourself, you’re not yet ready to date.”

    Often in dysfunctional marriages, one party (or both) sets aside his or her needs in order to keep the peace, please the other person, manipulate the situation or all of the above.Being able to ask and answer the simple question, “What do I really need?” is important before you try to fit yourself into another person’s life or visa-versa. (Did you once love dancing, painting, travel, cooking, or a career? Spend some time determining what is missing in your life—besides a spouse.) If you don’t take that time to understand your physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual needs while you’re on your own, you are more likely to become enmeshed in another less-than healthy relationship.

 A year may seem like a long time to be without a significant other, but don’t think of it as a “time out.” Instead, consider the time you take to assess your needs, process your feelings, and renew your passions as gift to yourself.

 


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