Relationship Issues Humans are designed to love. We believe that intimate engagement between partners is the golden road to personal growth and development. We are committed to helping you achieve peace and life satisfaction in your relationships
DATING AFTER DIVORCE OR THE TERMINATION OF A RELATIONSHIP
When Can I Start Dating Again? Two months, six months, or one year later—it depends. Generally, Dr. Paul Standal recommends waiting until a divorce is final before seeking a new, committed relationship. With long-term, unmarried couples, it is best to keep to more limited relationships until you no longer need to seek validation or positive regard from your former intimate relationship, be it a spouse or “ex.” Realize that feelings, such as anger, bitterness and resentment driven by deeper feelings of abandonment or betrayal, can be as emotionally consuming as love. Dr. Standal believes that our regard complex may continue on indefinitely with past relationships, particularly when there are children involved. Custody, financial issues and conflicts often belay deeper issues of power, control and the deep bitterness of abandonment or shame. Trying to date or establish a new, committed relationship as these conflicts unfold is difficult. You should have these issues resolved, or at least be fully aware of them, before establishing a new, committed relationship. Practicing Limited Relationship Most relationships you will have immediately after your divorce will be temporary or short term, even those relationships for which one or the other spouse or partner left. It is important see them as limited relationships. People often project unrealistic expectations onto relationships way too quickly, especially after an emotional loss. They put all their love eggs in one basket, hoping to re-establish the intimacy they lost. They see “white picket fences” where realistic appraisal dictates a more measured approach. Practicing limited relationship connotes a more diverse set of relational interactions. Each relationship may meet a certain need that you have at a specific stage of the healing process. For example, a passionate relationship may help you get in touch with your sexuality. Or, a casual relationship may be based on having fun and nothing more. You need to be able to recognize, however, when such relationships are no longer beneficial or healing, and let go when the time is right. Realize that you may get hurt again, but that you can recover and move on. How can dating enrich my life? Dating can be therapeutic, helping to heal old wounds and rebuild self-esteem. New relationships can give you the confidence to say, “I’m worth someone else’s time and interest.” Dating others also helps you work on honesty and openness, being accountable for your feelings and expressing your own needs. They can raise your awareness and self-responsibility, helping you recognize personal shortcomings in your past marriage(s) that contributed to its failure. Although eager to begin dating again, do not be in a hurry to find Ms. or Mr. Right. At this point, you need to focus on personal growth and reshaping your attitudes and beliefs about love. Work on improving your self-worth by: • Focusing on the things you like about yourself • Deciding to change destructive behaviors • Focusing on what you have to offer • Realizing that you have a fresh start • Becoming the person you want to be • Avoiding self-defeating thoughts • Being the real you by not hiding behind false personalities How do I get back into dating? The best way to re-enter the dating scene is to not look for someone to date. Instead, seek out relationships with people that appeal to you and that you would like to know better. In doing so, you will expand your social circle and enjoy a variety of relationships, all of which you need for personal growth. Chances are you will want to pursue some of these new relationships beyond friendship.
Suggestions of Ways to Meet People
• Internet • Friends and family • Fitness club • Hobby and special interest clubs • Civic groups or charitable organizations • Church or synagogue • Adult education seminars • Single adult groups
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