When I decided to finally go through with the divorce that I had been long contemplating, the hardest thing about it was facing judgment from all of my family, friends and my ex. It’s easy to say who cares what people think, but it was hard to actually shut that off at such a vulnerable time.
Telling people slowly really helped, as well as starting my blog. One of the first posts I wrote was How I Knew It Was Time for Divorce, which really helped me explain things to the masses. That’s partly what I’m doing with this Dating after Divorce series as well. I’m slowly weaning my family, friends and readers into the thought that there’s another person in the picture now while helping YOU find love again.
When you first decide to get out there and date again, the best thing to do is keep it all to yourself. It will protect you from everyone putting their two cents into your dating life and if you do happen to find someone worth calling your boyfriend or girlfriend, you get to keep it sacred and untainted from the outside influence of others.
I used to call my mom for EVERYTHING; dating advice, work advice, parenting advice, you name it. My ex would get so fed up with me because I would take my mom’s advice over his, every time. As I got older, I weaned off of that. I began to grow into my own person and my opinions of things began to differ from my mom’s. I made decisions on my own, for myself. It was really terrifying at first, but I slowly began to feel like I was in charge of my life.
I no longer sought out for my mom’s or any other’s approval before I made choices, especially after I chose to get a divorce. Partly because I felt very abandoned by my family and friends and I just felt like no one would understand.
Same goes for dating. When it feels right, it feels right. The more susceptible you make yourself to the influence of others, the longer it’s going to take you to find true happiness. You’re the only one that knows what you need in a partner, and even if you don’t know yet, when you see it you will.
People that just got divorced and get back into the dating scene right away, tend to find love very quickly after. It’s not even necessarily a bad thing either. I think with the divorce so fresh on your mind, you know exactly what you want and what you DON’T want…and you’re not gonna put up with the same crap you did before.
Now say you found yourself in a relationship very quickly after your divorce. You’re extremely happy and have managed to keep it between just you and that other person. How do you break it to your family, friends and your ex?
Tell Your Ex First
It’s terrifying to think about but the best thing to do is just rip it off like a band aid. Just tell them straight up, “I’m in a relationship and I’m extremely happy.” It’s up to you if you want to divulge the details on how you met, how they make you feel, a little bit about them.
It’s very important, especially if you share kids with your ex that they are the first to know. Even if your relationship isn’t great, the worst thing ever is for them to find out you’re dating someone through a mutual friend, family member or them seeing you out with someone. If you put it all out there on the table once your new partner is going to be in the picture for the foreseeable future, that’s one less thing you will have weighing on your mind.
Hopefully, even if the relationship with your ex isn’t on good terms, they will respect the fact that you told them before you told anyone else. And like I said in my last post about The First Date, sometimes it takes your ex knowing you’re with someone else and happy for them to move on as well.
Breaking the news to your family and friends
The next group of people to tell is your family and friends. Rip that band aid off again. Tell them you have found someone that makes you extremely happy and helps you to be a better person. If they truly love you, they will see that you’re glowing and ecstatic about your new relationship and will support you rather than bring you down.
Other times, family may try to kill your buzz like I talk about in Why Aren’t They Happy for Me. Based off of how people were raised, their values and their experiences, they may try to change your perspective or warn you of the darker side of things. Family can have such a strong influence on your decisions that they can actually make you question yourself and question if you’re really ready to move forward.
They may say things like, “aren’t you moving a bit fast?” or “maybe you should take some time for yourself before you start dating again.” Just know that they just love you and want the best for you. If you are sure about how amazing your new relationship is, don’t let them change your mind.
Only you know if you’re happy. You’re the only one who can truly decide what you want and when you’re ready for it. Take what they say with a grain of salt. Stick with your gut and take that leap of faith that you’re making the right choice.
Even if it doesn’t work out, it’s important for you to make decisions for yourself and learn from mistakes. Doing this will also help you heal. Believe it or not, even going through a breakup after your divorce could make you even stronger than you were before. It could give you a whole new sense of independence and confidence that you never knew existed. You may even realize that it’s okay to be single or “alone.”
Life is short.
If the new relationship you’re in is effortless, they help you be the person you’ve always wanted to be, you can tell them anything, and your connection is far beyond what you could have ever imagined, cherish that. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise or try to dictate how you feel. That type of love is rare…take it, run and don’t even look back.