Jim filed for divorce on June 21 after 13 years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences. The two are clearly moving on from their marriage and, although the date of separation on their divorce isn’t listed, Jim is seeking joint custody and wants spousal support from his ex.
Personal Space spoke to a top therapist who deals with divorcing couples and says a split after a long marriage can be an opportunity to rediscover who you are while you look for love again.
Dr. Jane Greer says you will start to know when it’s OK to put yourself out there and start to get involved with people, but advises it’s good to give yourself a couple of months to be single while going through the divorce process.
Giving yourself two to three months to deal with the practicalities, legalities and logistics of separating is healthy, and allows some time to put boundaries in place for when you see each other.
“Decide what information you’re gonna share, you want to put some limits in place [for your own privacy]” she says.
Right after a divorce, you may feel isolated and lost, and Greer recommends to focus on getting back to your own identity as a single person before rushing into a new relationship.
“You’re completely in a new place and space and you have to learn how to be on your own,” she says. “You’re rediscovering yourself [so] expose yourself to, and discover, new interests. Do things that you would never consider trying, or that were never on your radar before. Do things you never did while you were married and find you have a passion for something new.”
Greer says to reach out to people as friends and try to establish a new network, one not attached to your old life with your ex.
“Meet new friends, it’s a chance to rebuild your self esteem,” she says. “Being out with people who are interested to get to know you makes you feel better [and] look better ... it’s a major opportunity to spruce up how you present yourself to the world and enhance your self-esteem.”
If there was a betrayal and you’re still licking your wounds, she says you have to learn to love yourself so you’re not in a situation where you are too sensitive to rejection, a normal part of the dating process.
“Getting back out there when you are not ready can spike feelings of hopelessness and can fuel self doubts,” Greer says.
So if you are going to date during or right after a divorce, you want to prioritize what's important to you.
“Decide how much time you want to devote to dating someone, manage your time with your kids if there are kids, [and] make dating secondary. If you’re dating, factor in but balance it with personal time. Keep in mind if you feel rejected a lot of times it really isn’t personal, a lot of it has to do with the other person and what they are going through in their life. While it’s easy to take it personally, keep it in mind more often than not it’s not about you.”
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