The question of when to start dating after divorce has many answers. I’d like to offer just one. When you are comfortable being alone. Alone does not mean you are lonely. It means you are WHOLE and that you have re-built your life with a new identity. One that is no longer defined by a relationship. You can run solo and feel complete.
If you are not healed and in a needy place it is easy to make relationship mistakes. Picking partners from a place of neediness creates blinders or what I like to call ROSE colored glasses and incase you didn’t notice, our goal is to see perfectly out of our WINE colored glasses that offer the most clarity.
Looking outside ourselves for someone to make us feel loved, validated, or worthy is risky business. If the relationship ends, we can set the healing process backward only now we have complicated it with the mourning of the loss of a relationship. If you do not depend on a relationship for your happiness, then you will choose and attract partners with a healthy emotional state. This person will compliment your life, not define it.
Dating can offer us an opportunity to heal if done properly. Casual dating (I did not say casual sex) gives us a chance to better understand our likes, needs, and preferences in a partner AND how to maintain self control. Think of it like wine tasting. You can swirl it, smell it, taste it, and spit it out if you don’t like it. But don’t get too intoxicated or drunk on the experience. You know what corked wine tastes like. Divorce is nothing more than knowing your great bottle of wine has corked. You’ll eventually land the right bottle but let it open slowly. Good wine takes awhile to decant. Let it linger on your palate before swallowing and make sure it doesn’t have an aftertaste. This takes time. Then when it is right you can take the bottle home.
I made my share of mistakes, such as “revenge sex” and jumping into a relationship too fast after I felt healed. Just because I was ready doesn’t mean to dive into the wine glass head first. I needed to sip it for awhile to make sure the experience was consistent. Anything can blow your palate the minute it hits. It matters if it delivers a consistent experience that is enjoyed over time. One reason I avoid Pinot Noir is for this reason – it is slippery when it goes down but often does not offer up enough depth of experience over time. Fun and inviting, but not well suited for a long term relationship.
Swirl many, sip few, and never by the whole case until you know you can handle it and it passes the taste test time and time again.