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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Consider This Before Choosing to Date Again

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Are you considering stepping out into the world of dating again?  It can sure be a daunting task but also very rewarding.  I would encourage anyone to do so with thought and intention, not just to 'test the waters.' 

It took me quite a while after my former spouse moved out and the divorce was final to feel like I was ready to date again. Initially the very thought of dating or trusting felt way too threatening.  I knew my heart would be tender and I felt too vulnerable to take the risk. I treasured the peace I gained through divorce and didn't want the drama. Then, I suddenly began to be aware of men again - everywhere! I started to long for companionship and I sensed a readiness.

Asking yourself these questions may help you decide when you're ready ~
  • What have I learned are my weaknesses from my past relationship?  Do I know how to improve these areas for the future?
  • Do I have time to invest in a healthy relationship?
  • How will I keep myself accountable and open to input from those I trust?
  • Have I reached a place where I can handle rejection without letting it destroy the healing progress that I've made?
  • Am I satisfied with myself?  Do I have fulfilling relationships or am I attempting to fill and empty place within myself? 

If you're recently divorced, widowed or out of a relationship then take your time before moving into another one.  Consider what you may have gained, even through the loss.  For me, it was peace.  I treasured the peace that I now enjoyed at home and didn't want to bring any drama into my heart, home or life.  I wasn't confident that I knew how to ward off drama or that I wouldn't jump on an emotional roller coaster of ups and downs, hopes and disappointment.  I didn't want that.  I needed my energies focused on healing and parenting well through a transitional time in the lives of our family.

For more than a year, I invested in myself.  I made my home more mine.  I scheduled regular girls' nights with friends.  I focused on paying down debt, remaining healthy and healing from deep wounds through books, therapy and groups like DivorceCare. It was a necessary and healing time for me.  I had opportunity to date, but I declined politely and was cautious about sending out a mixed message.  

Some people close to me encouraged me to date right away, some tried to set me up, it was sort of a novelty and joke.  I always reiterated how opposed I was to that idea!  I think those close to me just wanted to see me happy and felt that coupledom was a sure way to that end.  But I quickly established that I wasn't interested.  I didn't even entertain the idea in my own head and heart.  So the first obstacle to overcome was to admit that I would like to date and one day have a companion again.  For a long time, I felt it was somehow admitting that what I had wasn't enough.  I falsely thought it was less godly or being discontent to want more.

But the longing didn't go away, and even as I got to know myself better and revisited my early-self desires and girlhood dreams, I knew that I have always believed myself to be created for partnership.  Once I felt the freedom to have the desire, the desire for companionship was there in full force.  I became hyper-aware of men all around me!  It was laughable to me at the time and even now.  But this is one of the ways in which I became sure that I was ready, I was open to possibility and not closed off by pain as in times past.

So I began to pray.  God knew my desires, but I got comfortable talking with Him about things before I was comfortable enough to share with others.  That's what I discuss next - How did I know what I would want?  

Are you in a place where you are dating again?  Open to it?  Just curious?  Do you want to hear more of my experience or is this a discouraging topic?  Are you happily married and just reading for fun - whatever your status, please say hi!  I would love to hear from you today!

Next in the dating series: Decide What You Want

As I'm sharing, please take or toss - I'm not suggesting that what I did it what everyone should do, but it is the truth unfolding of my story.


  1. I've been reading for a while. Love your blog and I think this is a great topic. I am divorced and have been to a class at my church "divorce recovery" great class.

    1. Connie,

      Thank you for reading! I know that not everyone is ready or even has a desire to date again, but I thought I'd write about my experience. I'm so glad you said hello!

  2. I was separated for 4 years and last year reunited with my ex. During those 4 years, i took time to heal. Sure I dated a little, but I never really felt a desire for another committed relationship. In fact, when my ex re-entered my life, I was at a really good place with myself...I was at peace, was financially secure, was focusing on my spiritual side, was back at school doing a second Masters degree and was doing well in my career. Perhaps it was being more complete within myself that made it possible for me to get back into a relationship. What I can say is that is is waaaay better the second time around, thanks be to God. :)

    1. I do think that being complete within yourself (myself) with God is what makes it possibile to handle the natural ups and downs of a relationship. What a sweet story yours is, and so glad it's way better now!

  3. i agree with you, it's important to take one's time before getting into another relationship.
    i got reminded of the saying, do not stir up love until it so desires (something from songs of solomon).
    what i'm sure of, God is never short on love and happiness. we sometimes try to look it from men or other people. but we just have to look above to see we have both. God bless you!

    1. Yes, when we can find the satisfaction and assurance from our Lord, we are less vulnerable to relationship drama. Thanks for reading & commenting!

  4. I am after a year and a half of being singe dating a wonderful man. I prayed allot to God to just put the man for me in front of me!I would rather not date around. I am very much happy and he treats me like I'm everything to him (which I new to me). I am very surprised how many insecurities are coming out of me though that I didn't realize I had...mostly worry and doubt in my self.
    Over all I am so blessed to have this 2nd part of such love and wonderful feelings I never knew I had in me :>) I'm so blessed I feel! Divorce is horrible but so was my marriage. I was blessed to be free from it!