By Lauren Mullee
After a divorce is finalized, time is needed to heal and process before most are ready to begin a new relationship or to even start dating again. More than a few of our female clients have asked us what advice we might have once they reach this stage in their lives and are ready to move on.
Recently, I caught up with relationship consultant, Dr. Sharon Cohen.
Q: What advice would you give to women who may need some help as to how they can start to become more social once again?
A: Women want to feel “ready” to reenter the dating world. Once they reach this stage it is easier to focus their energy on meeting new contacts and considering the idea of starting a healthy new relationship.
It is especially important for women to pay attention to our instinctual and intuitive side. Our instincts guide us to “know our no” and tell us what is and isn’t comfortable. I recommend people take things slowly at first, holding back on deep relationships at the beginning. Rather, just experiment with a few new social encounters, perhaps in settings in which they can gradually become more comfortable with “getting out there” again.
One of the biggest issues women may experience is that once they are ready, they begin to feel good about the possibility of a relationship. If we haven’t reached this stage it is easy to end up feeling defeated, depleted, angry or even bitter.
Q: Some divorced individuals want to form relationships as soon as possible, as they do not like being alone. What advice do you have for those in this situation?
A: I’ll give you an example. A recent client of mine had just completed a lengthy divorce. She expressed the need to connect but she wasn’t certain how to navigate the dating world. She shared feelings of fear as she did not have a lot of experience reaching out to form new relationships. She was an older woman and despite significant career success, did not know what was in front of her in the world of dating. She commented that she knew very clearly, though, that she was not someone who was meant to be alone.
We worked through the fact that life is not always fair. We spent time exploring some of the positives in her new life and worked through feelings of sadness and pain. She wanted me to connect her to a matchmaker, but ultimately we agreed she needed to process a few things before she was ready to date. After a few weeks she was able to find positives in her new life. We built on these and in short order she regained some of her positive outlook and confidence. She was then ready to connect with a new social world and its challenges.
This client was smiling now. Things had transformed positively due to her self-awareness. She is now looking forward to new socialization opportunities. So, taking time and being honest with yourself about who you are and what you need is crucial to avoid rushing into a situation that is not right for you.