Divorce is heartbreaking. Even if your divorce is somewhat amicable, the pulling apart of a family and the effect on your children is devastating. In my book I wrote:
No matter how you look at it, divorce is a tragedy. It is the unraveling of a family. While we are dating, caught up in lust and swelling emotions, then standing before a judge or preacher, not one of us hopes or plans for divorce. We think and hope with all our might that we will be the exception. More than 50% of the time we are wrong. It is heartbreaking.
I just watched the season finale of Masterchef and one of the chefs that really caught my attention was Monti. Monti is a single mom and recently divorced. The first few shows had Monti looking a bit insecure and reeling from her divorce. She had no self-confidence and didn’t feel like she fit in. The other competing chefs saw this and were always attacking her, feeling she wasn’t up to their caliber. However, with Chef Ramsey praising her food more and more along with her cooking making its own mark, Monti’s confidence started to shine through. Although she didn’t win the Masterchef competition, Monti is a winner in life. Monti got away from, what I can assume, a marriage that was less than ideal for her and her son. She regained her self-confidence and most likely is more confident than she has ever been. And finally, Monti is now embarking on a new career that she would never have if she had never suffered through some hardships and worked her ass off on Masterchef. She has emerged a new, strong, even more amazing woman!!
Looking inward and taking the time to heal is imperative for both men and women after a divorce. We all have to take the time to face our demons and build strength before we take that next step.
I write about this is my book, Evolve or Die Single. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter:
In order to heal, you must use the tools at your disposal: your friends, your family, your counselor, or your clergy. Whatever is there for you, lean on it and lean on them. In this difficult time you will truly learn who your real friends are. And, trust me, you will learn very quickly who, in fact, they are. Your true friends will appear like knights in shining armor while the others disappear into the woodwork. Your true friends will be there for you night and day. And it might surprise you to find out who those true friends actually are…or are not.
Now that you’re single again and you are embarking upon a new journey of you, it is time to work on becoming self-aware. Learn to recognize any unhealthy habits that are developing. Are you staying abnormally busy? When you do unwind, do you always have a drink in your hand? Are you uncharacteristically quick to anger? Do friends walk on eggshells around you? When things start to go wrong, do you blame everyone but yourself? Are you always doom and gloom or woe is me? Take some time to look within and do some self-examination. Figure out what’s going on inside your heart and mind and commit to taking the steps to healing them.
Do you find that you badger your kids for intelligence on your ex? Do you steam open his or her mail when it mistakenly arrives at the house? This is the type of behavior that not only needs to stop but also shows you that you’re not ready to dive headfirst into a new relationship. First and foremost, never, and I mean never, put your children in the middle of a divorce or disagreement. This behavior is unacceptable in any situation. Second, do you really want your ex back or are you just not ready to let go? Because now is the time to let go. More times than not, your ex let go long ago; you’re the only one clinging to this lifeless “relationship.” Do you really want to have that world of heartache and fighting back? If you do, why are you reading a book about dating? If you truly do still want your ex back, I recommend diving deeper into these feelings with a therapist. Otherwise, it’s time to let the ex go, heal your heart, mind and soul, and get ready for your new life.
At this point in your life it is time to define you. For years now, you have lived as a couple and not as an individual. Some of you may have lost your identity completely. Others may have forgotten the simple pleasures of touching, listening, or being intimate with your mate. Part of your healing process is to reclaim you. Who are you? What makes you tick? What do you miss most about a loving, intimate relationship? What are your likes? Dislikes? What can’t you live without? What can’t you live with? Start writing things down randomly then slowly narrow them down to the five things that you must have in a relationship as well as the things that you stand for, that define you. Later, you will write down the five “must haves” of your new partner. For now, let’s concentrate on you.
It may take some time to figure out who you are as your own individual self. It’s very important that you take the time to heal and be over your ex before you start dating seriously. It’s not how much baggage we have that matters or how we acquired it, what matters is how we carry it. Manage your life experiences and learn from them; don’t let them overpower your life. Nothing is a bigger turnoff than starting a new relationship and realizing this person is not over his or her ex, especially if they have major issues and project them onto you. This will send any new partner running for the hills very quickly.
Your next step in building a healthy new you is learning how to be alone and to love yourself. When is the last time you spent a quiet evening alone reading a book (sober) and were okay with it? The best relationships start with two stable people who are comfortable within themselves. Once you learn to love yourself and are truly happy and comfortable with who you are, you are then ready to share yourself. You should never need someone to complete you. If you aren’t happy single then you won’t be happy taken.
Happiness comes from within, not from a partner. Remember that independence is attractive; desperation is beyond unappealing. It may take months, even years, for you to complete this first step. You may have never actually reached this healthy you before you got married the first time. Good for you for finally taking this step towards a healthy you and a healthy relationship.
Still Rockin’ It