From: Delaine Moore
Oftentimes when men/women start dating again after divorce, their primary mission is to find another serious relationship. That was my initial goal too – after all, having been married for seven years, I was accustomed to the stability of couple hood. Moreover, in keeping with society’s moral codebook for women, I thought that I SHOULD want another relationship, being a mother and in my late thirties.
But as I, too, discovered along my journey, our fears and insecurities are oftentimes what fuel our hunt for another relationship, whether we’re consciously aware of them or not. And, this inclination is understandable – we’ve been through hell and the thought of falling in love seems to chase our problems away. But the bottom line is that if we plough into a rebound relationship without recognizing and processing these motivators, we can easily end up messed up and unhappy all over again.
So to assist you in being honest with yourself at this stage post-divorce, please carefully contemplate the six fear-based motivating factors below. Sit with them for a few minutes, and see which ones, if any, strike an unpleasant chord in your body.
Afterwards, I strongly urge you to consider which of these fears you might challenge and overcome on your own. Because you may just find that the better quest for you at this stage post-divorce has little to do with falling in love with another person and everything to do with falling in love with yourself.
- The fear of loneliness: Will the house reek of silence when we come home? Will loneliness be our only company at mealtimes, in the evenings, and on the weekends? What will we do in our free time? And, heaven forbid, what if we’re alone forever?
- The fear of potential social ramifications: Will we be the third wheel at every event/gathering? Will we be stereotyped as a ‘divorcee’, perceived as a threat to members of the same sex, or possibly even seen as a failure?
- The fear that that we’re getting old / fat / ugly: This fear may cause us to ‘settle’ for someone less than ideal for us because we think we aren’t worthy of better.
- The fear of an uncertain financial future: How will we earn a living? How will we maintain our standard of living or pay off debt? Might a wealthy new partner or combined-income household us safe and happy?
- The fear of our kids not having a strong mother/father figure in their lives: Will they grow up emotionally healthy and strong without an opposite-sex role model in the house? Shouldn’t I put their needs before my own?
- The fear of having no purpose: Who am I? What do I have to offer the world? How am I of value? Do I need someone to define me?
- The fear of facing an unknown future on our own: How will we cope? What if something awful happens? What-if what-if what-if….?
Remember, all of us have fears and it’s natural to have them. But during this still-vulnerable point in our lives, we must be smart and willing to work on ourselves first and foremost. No, I’m not saying you shouldn’t date or have sex again – if fact, I say give yourself permission to explore what’s out there if you wish. Just be as honest and self-aware as you can possibly be so that you don’t mistake your fears, insecurities and neediness, for love.