Old Habits Sometimes Die Hard: Thoughts on Dating After Divorce

dating

Dating has been on my mind a lot lately. Some people may say, "but Amanda, you've only been out of your marriage for four months. It's way too soon to start dating" However, what I've come to realize is the complexity of each individual relationship is just that, complex. How to determine if you are truly ready to take that next step is personal and different for everyone going through this experience. Most of what I think about in all honestly is wondering when I will actually be ready to put myself out there again.  How will I know? How do I do it it? Tinder, through friends, dating sites? Is it now? Maybe three months from now? A year? I've been trying to identify what it will feel like when I am finally in an okay place to feel that kind of vulnerability once again. This thought alone makes my heart beat quicken. 

I keep telling myself that I’ll just know. My intuition, my gut, my all knowing, it will tell me.

Some days I feel really excited to explore this unfamiliar world once again and other days I feel like I'll never be ready, like I just need more time. A lot more time.

I need time to continue processing the end of a marriage that seemed too short but at times, far too long. There are days when I need more time to dive deeper, feel deeper, forgive, cry, try to understand. And then there are days, lots of them, where I laugh and smile and am filled with such an incredible feeling of hope and possibility and dating seems sexy and fun. 

I know I want to fully acknowledge and understand what I deserve and want from a new partner. Most importantly however, I just need more time to fall deeper in love with myself before I can fall in love with someone else. 

I use to view dating as this overwhelming obligation because I wanted the end result. I thought it would fix me, make me whole. I wanted what looked perfect on paper, to feel secure, settle down and have kids. I wanted to be in the throws of comfort, that all knowing and move on with the natural progression of what my preconceived ideas of marriage were.

Here I am however, back in a place I was once so happy to leave yet happy to be here once again.

Single. 

This time it’s different though. There is freedom. There is peace. There is excitement. There is possibility. There is adventure. There is a new love for myself, a new love for my life. It's organic and deep and it feels really good. 

Sure, I have days where I'm sad. The past few days have been that way. It creeps up out of nowhere and grabs hold of my tender heart but really it isn't that sneaky, it's always there. Sometimes we find the best distractions to fool us into believing that maybe it is gone. Until you look it straight in the eye however, it will always be there. 

Recently I found myself in a situation where I was flirting with danger. Literally. I had found a good distraction with the attention of someone I was really attracted to, someone I was growing to like, someone who was fun and exciting. Someone who from day one told me he was emotionally unavailable.

In the past, those words were like a drug to me. The more I heard it the more it was a challenge for me. “Oh yeah? I’ll show you. You wont be able to resist me.” 

Old habits die hard. 

It was like a game to me. Part of me wanted to make them realize how amazing I was and the other part of me found comfort and safety in hearing those words because I knew our rendezvous wouldn't last and I wouldn't have to fully expose myself. Eventually, I would end up hurt, and mending my broken heart once again. Within that pain there was also my comfort.

I flirted with danger for a couple weeks until I admitted to my best girlfriend that I was merely going down the same path I always go down. It was familiar, it's what I knew but I want my life to be different. I was preventing real growth and one day, real love from happening. 

I ended it before it really even began and was proud of my decision because it shows that I have come a long way. I am learning from my past. I have grown.

If I have learned anything over the years it is that people always tell you who they are and where they are right away and you must believe them. There is no amount of trying to convince someone that you are amazing and beautiful and funny and sexy. All which may be true but you shouldn’t have to convince anyone of anything. Most importably, you should believe it yourself and then the right person will see it too. They will be available in ways you’ve never experienced before as long as you are ready to receive it.

I think about what I want and deserve now and my priorities have completely changed. As I continue to get to know myself in a deeper, more profoundly loving way, what I want for my life and what I want in a partner is first and foremost, a kind of availability I've never been open to before.

I grow more excited about the possibility of a different kind of love, on a level that is deeper then I've ever experienced. This starts first with myself and then, when the time is right, with a partner.

There is a freedom that comes with putting yourself back out there and having some fun and exploring the world and those who are commingling in it with you. And then there is a freedom in trusting yourself and having your own back when you know something isn't right. 

When I finally arrive at a place where I feel ready to get back out there, which may be tomorrow or months down the road, I want to stay committed to myself, my hopes, dreams, wants and desires. I want to remember why I left my marriage to begin with and remain open to finding someone equally amazing and most importantly, emotionally available.

I am committed to breaking my old patterns and creating new, healthy ones because it's the only way for me to live now. Moving forward, not backwards. 

There is real opportunity here to continue evolving into the women I want to be and honestly, already am.. It begins by listening to my intuition in a way I haven’t in the past, to know that I am worth so much more then trying to convince someone of my specialness. No convincing should ever be needed because all you truly need is to believe in yourself, to love yourself enough.

There may be a lot of fish in the sea but I believe the right one is out there waiting for me just as much as I am waiting for him. In order to find each other we have to continue listening to what it is we want deep down inside, to continue living our own lives, finding happiness, joy and love within ourselves.

Our paths will cross and when they do we’ll look at each other with a knowing smile that simply says, “Oh hey, there you are.”

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