Healing takes time, but not all divorces involve a broken heart. You may have been the one who wanted to move on, and you're exhilarated – or at least relieved – because you're free now. Either way, meeting someone new and diving into another relationship comes with some risks, and a new relationship might not make you as happy as you think it will, if you dive in too soon.
Just as there were probably signs that your marriage wasn't working out, a few red flags may indicate that you've met someone too soon after your marriage ended. A classic example is calling your new partner by your ex's name, particularly if you do so when your emotions are running high. He might look like your ex, dress like your ex, or share the same interests or habits. You may not even realize that you still talk about your ex a lot, unless someone points it out. Do you compare your new friend to your ex when you're chatting with your friends? If you do any of these things, your ex could still be a big part of your emotional life, so you may not be ready yet to get involved with someone new.
That Old Baggage
If enough time hasn't passed since your marriage ended, your emotions regarding your ex may still be strong. You run the risk of carrying them – still unresolved – into a new relationship. This can impede a healthy new relationship. If your new relationship doesn't work out, you may suffer double the angst when it ends; you're still grieving over your ex, and now you've got a second broken heart, as well. You might forget all the bad feelings associated with your marriage as you're happily pursuing a new relationship, but they'll still be there waiting for you when and if the new friendship ends – and rebound relationships often do.
Meeting someone with whom you can have a good time isn't the same as falling head over heels in love again. If you expect or need to fall in love again, your new relationship might be doomed to failure. You may be treating it as a replacement for what you lost – before you've dealt with the loss. By the same token, if you're just looking for a little companionship while you get over the hump of healing, having a new friend can be a great thing. Do some honest self-assessment and ask yourself exactly what you're looking for in a new relationship. Are you trying to escape into it rather than deal with the past? Do you prefer being with anyone at all rather than being alone? Alternatively, are you just looking for a harmless diversion as you go about the business of picking up the pieces of your life?
Know How Soon Is Too Soon
Johanna Nauraine, a psychotherapist who offers a divorce counseling website, suggests that it will take you a couple of years to fully recover from your divorce and reach a point where you're ready to start over emotionally. If that sounds like an intolerably long time, you may not be ready to move on, because, quite simply, you want to do so too badly. By the same token, if you’re the one who ended your marriage, you may not need all this time. You may have acknowledged that your marriage was over long before it actually ended. In effect, you had a head start on healing, so you might be ready to move on much sooner.
Beverly Bird is a professional writer who is also a practicing paralegal in the areas of divorce and family law. She has offered community workshops for single parents, helping them with the financial and lifestyle issues they often face.
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