Finding Yourself before Finding Someone New after Divorce

Rediscovering your value and making changes to be the healthiest you before finding someone new

What is it with friends?! When people announce their divorce, too often friends’ first question is, “When are you going to try again?” As if finding someone new fixes everything. After living through an unhealthy marriage, people often feel as if they’ve lost themselves. Their real need isn’t to find someone new. First, they need to find themselves.

Only 5 – 10% of rebound relationships prove successful. So, when people focus on finding someone new, they usually suffer more hurt. This relationship failure primarily results from people taking the same habits that ruined their marriage into the new relationship.

So, if finding love that lasts is your goal, do some personal work first. When you do, you become a whole, healthier, happier person. A person far more likely to create a healthy, happy relationship the next time.

To find the true you—ask:

“Where do I find my value?”

Relationships provide security. Joining with someone to take on the challenges of life creates closeness, blends skills, and offers wider perspectives than going it alone. That’s one of the blessings of a good marriage. But, there is a fine line between enjoying security in a relationship and feeling secure only if you “have someone.”

Personal security comes from knowing who you are and from where your value comes. Many feel they lost their value when their marriage ended. They try to restore value by attaching to someone else. But, value doesn’t come from someone else. You are inherently valuable—just as you are.

You are inherently valuable because you are made in the image of God. You are inherently valuable because that same God knows and loves you without limit. You are inherently valuable because you are designed with a unique blend of skills, perspectives, and strengths to contribute to the world around you—a world that needs you. You are even valuable because you possess gaps and weaknesses that allow use their strengths.

Take the time to remember (or discover) who you are. Invest in hobbies and goals you may have let go for the sake of your marriage. Explore new interests that better fit this stage of life. Spend time with friends that help you become the best version of yourself.

As you do, you become a whole person who enjoys your life as it is. Instead of forming parasitic relationships to find yourself in others, your whole person joins with another whole person in a mutually nurturing relationship.

“What habits do I need to preserve? What do I need to change?”

We become like the 5 people with whom we spend the most time. Jim Rhon. This means you were shaped by your ex-spouse. What of that shaping do you want to keep? What do you want to change?

Even if your spouse was 100% at fault for the failure of your marriage, you reacted to whatever crazy behaviors they threw at you. And those reactions became habits. Habits that have shaped your character, your perspectives, and your subconscious assumptions about how the world works. Which of these do you need to change?

More likely, you both contributed to the issues in your marriage. What did you do to harm that relationship? Even more importantly, why? What did you believe or desire that led you to undermine your marriage? Are there aspects of those beliefs and desires you need to change? A good therapist can help you explore how your patterns developed and where changes may benefit you.

All this helps you define the person you want to be. You can then develop habits in being this person. This lays a foundation for happiness—whether you find someone new or not. Should you find them, you will be ready to share your best self with them.

“What do my children need?”

Often, the “when should I start dating again?” question isn’t just about you being ready. It’s also about your children being ready.

Make no mistake—your divorce upended your children’s world. Even if they expected the divorce. Even if they were relieved by the divorce.

Their home as they knew it is gone. Their routine is blown. Their ties to their neighborhood, school, extended family, and friends all have taken a hit—and often are blown as well. As you grieve your own losses, don’t overlook the fallout for them.

Children often feel they are drowning after their parents’ divorce. If you were drowning—would you want a lifeguard swimming toward you with her phone to her ear happily chatting with a boyfriend? Or, would you want her sole, complete focus on saving you?

Children need to not have to “compete” for their parent’s attention. Having lost so much, children should not worry if some new person is going to take what’s left of their relationship with you. Instead, your children first need you to create a solid home with them and a solid co-parenting relationship with their other parent.

So, before focusing on dating, focus first on joining forces with your children’s other parent. Work to create a relationship where your children feel confident both of you will care for and be there for them. That neither of you will force them to choose a side, defend a parent, or mediate an argument. Create a relationship that tells them that—though much has changed—they still have their family. A redefined family—but still their family. This will take your best time, energy, and availability for a while.

A new life will come

Putting a pause on finding someone new doesn’t mean you will be alone forever. It just means you take some time. You take the time to heal. You take the time to rediscover the value of who you are. You take the time to become who you desire to be. You take the time to ensure your children likewise heal and adapt to the changes in their family. Invest in these now. Then, when you find someone new, you (and your children) will be ready to make the relationship last. 

For more information on navigating divorce without destruction, email or call 317-793-0825. We look forward to serving you.

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People going through divorce often feel like they are stepping off a cliff. They are keenly aware they don’t know what they don’t know. We offer answers in a process that protects people, preserves assets, and provides a way forward. 

Call 317-793-0825 or contact us here.