Nov 11, 2019
Rebuilding Life and Relationship with Myself Post-Divorce, then Others
To rebuild my life and prepare for a new relationship after divorce, I first needed time to work on my relationship with myself. Even as I write that last sentence, I realize that it might sound surprising! But whether I wanted it or not, I needed solitude to do some deep soul searching and to catch up with myself.
Of course fear of loneliness often comes after the losses of divorce. I can remember a few instances where I did feel lonely. But the fear of loneliness can drive one to look desperately for the first available relationship. I was fortunate to have received good advice encouraging me to start by engaging with the person in the mirror before entering a new relationship.
Solo and enjoying it
I found ways to spend quality time by myself, doing things I loved to do. For the first time in my life, I want on an overnight trip alone. It was life-giving. I bought simple things for myself when I wanted them. That was nice. I hired someone to clean my home as a treat to myself. I had never done anything like that before.
I remember one weekend in particular when I did not have my kids with me. I had more free time than I could remember in years. As I went about familiar routines, I had time to be completely present in each moment. I shopped for groceries and noticed all the other people around me and to engage in genuine conversation with the check-out worker. Traffic and long lines didn’t annoy me as much as usual. Doing laundry, housework, and the other routines were suddenly peaceful and comfortable, instead of rushed and cumbersome.
During this season of solitude I did connect with others. I had one old friend who talked to me on the phone weekly, sometimes more often. Another friend who lives 600 miles away invited me to come visit for a few days and, rather spontaneously, I did. I had more time and energy for friends and extended family than I had in decades.
Ready for new people in my life
After this season of time where I was able to catch up with myself and renew old friendships, I eventually became open to the idea of dating again. A trusted guide encouraged me to approach dating in a fresh way. Going back to my teenage years, my dating relationships had almost always consisted of me meeting someone and quickly entered into a serious relationship with them. But my fresh approach was to meet people in a more casual way by going out once or twice. I was upfront with those I dated and let them know I was just re-entering romantic relationships and wanted to start slowly. Because of this, I was able to meet several different people in a relatively short time. I had never done that before in my life.
Approaching dating in this fresh way allowed me to discern who would be best the best fit for a long-term, healthy relationship. I was able to pause and check in with myself to see how each new connection was affecting me and the other person. It was rather obvious after meeting several people. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to approach the world of relationships with such awareness, and in such a healthy manner. In time this approach would bring an opportunity to remarry. I will share that story in my next blog post!
This is the fourth article in a series by Alpha Attorney-Mediator Greg Hubbard, Esq. about his personal journey through divorce. Drawing on his experience as a practicing attorney and clergy member, Greg was able to work through issues with his spouse to reach a mutual agreement. They avoided contentious litigation by communicating with each other despite the difficult emotional situation. This allowed his family to begin to rebuild their lives from a positive foundation. His experience led him to join Alpha Center as an attorney-mediator.
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