Finding Love After Divorce
This year, more than 780,000 marriages in the United States will end. Some will leave their marriage because they are tired of arguing with a partner who no longer sees them agreeing. Others, like Sarah Cave, have been burned by infidelity.
“My ex-husband now had an affair. For about 18 months he lived in the basement because we were trying to make things better for the kids, ”she says. “And we got to a place where I said, ‘I’m ready for you to move out.'”
It was 11 years ago. Meanwhile, Cave says she’s tried just about every dating app – eharmony, Match.com, Zoosk, OurTime. “I could find people who were willing to connect with me, but no one who clicked.”
Scarred by her divorce and tired of the dating site ride, “my self-esteem was pretty undermined,” she says.
Open up to love again
To find love again, you not only have to believe that there is someone for you, but also that you are worthy of love, says Richard Horowitz, who is both a relationship coach and a divorce survivor. “For some people it takes longer to get to this place.”
After being hurt, you may doubt your ability to trust someone again. “We think, where did we go wrong in the past? How didn’t we see the signs?” says Christie Kederian, a licensed marriage and family therapist and dating coach based in Los Angeles. “It sometimes prevents us from really knowing people.”
Before you can get to know someone else, you need to know more about yourself and what you want. “Knowing who you are, what you need and why the marriage has failed are all so important,” says Horowitz. If you can’t figure it all out on your own, a therapist can help.
Also, explore what you want in a partner. Kederian suggests creating what she calls “the criteria sandwich”. The top bun is your go-to – absolute demands in a potential mate, like a stable career or spirituality. The next layer is what you would like to have. And the bottom layer includes the breakdown factors, which could be some of the things that went wrong in your marriage.
Dating in the virtual world
If it’s been a few decades since you last stepped out, the process might seem a little foreign to you. Horowitz went from singles dances to the brave new world of online dating, which had just seen the light of day after his divorce. Having been a veteran of both approaches, he says it was “more rigorous” to go out in person, “but you learned more quickly about someone who might or might not be interested.”
“There is definitely a learning curve [to online dating]”Says Kederian. On the one hand, people don’t always accurately present themselves in their dating profile. Some future friends are real con artists. And even the legitimate ones might be looking for hookups, as Cave discovered. .
To find a good match and a deeper connection, Kederian suggests being as true to yourself as possible in your profile and photo. “It’s better to be genuine and real from the start than trying to create a picture of yourself that isn’t really accurate,” she says.
She also suggests keeping your profile biography short. If you are revealing your whole life story at the same time, “you are not giving someone the opportunity to get to know you through conversation.”
Once you’ve met someone you find interesting, quickly move from the virtual world to the real world in order to explore a deeper connection. Kederian suggests switching from messaging to a date of five messages or less.
Online dating is tricky, but it is possible to find love in a virtual forum. “I met my current wife online,” says Horowitz. “We have been married for almost 20 years.”
Other ways to meet
If online dating isn’t for you, take a more traditional approach. Work with a matchmaker, join groups that match your interests, ask friends to set you up, or connect with people on social media.
Cave found someone who caught her eye on a Facebook group she was dating. “I just noticed that this cute silver fox always posted great photos with smart captions,” she says. After watching her posts for months, a mutual friend arranged for them to meet over a Zoom cocktail-making class.
“We walked for 2 hours on our first date,” says Cave. “We took another walk the next day as we continued to find out what we had in common.
What about your children?
Even if your kids are older, you need to take this into account when bringing someone new into your life. Horowitz has three children from his first marriage. Cave has two children.
Kederian suggests having a conversation with your kids to let them know you want to start dating, but set some clear boundaries. You want to make sure the person is a good fit before you introduce them to your kids. “And you don’t want to put your kids in the position of being the judge or the peacemaker,” she said.
Give yourself time
There are a lot of arbitrary rules on dating again. One says you should wait 1 month for each year of your marriage. But really, the time to start dating again is when it feels right to you. “You might meet someone right away, or you might need a little time to heal,” says Horowitz.
Kederian suggests that you think of dating as a lifestyle habit, much like starting a new exercise program. “In the same way you wouldn’t say, ‘I’m going to start training today and by next week I’m going to have a six pack’… you don’t want to put that expectation on your training process. meet, “she says.” You want to approach it as a process. “
When you venture into the dating world, be prepared to make a few mistakes along the way. “Be careful, but be open at the same time,” suggests Horowitz. With patience, persistence, and a clear sense of your own goals, you can find love again.
Cave has spent the past 11 years thinking about what she wanted, and she thinks she has finally found it. While she is still shy of the past experience, frank and sometimes difficult conversations have helped her and her new boyfriend grow closer – so much so that they have started talking about the to come up. “I have no qualms about saying I love this man,” she said. “I think we are settling into what is like our life together.”
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