When you start all over after a divorce, you get a lot of misinformation about what's out there and what you deserve. After I split with my husband of 16 years I was almost certain I'd just spend the rest of my life single. I was ready for that. And it's because of everything I was hearing about dating and relationships after divorce. I have to say, the landscape looked treacherous from where I stood. But maybe I was listening to the wrong voices? It turns out, when it comes to finding love again after divorce, it's not as complicated or difficult as you'd think. Forget the unhelpful noise you hear -- like these five bits of popular wisdom.
1. You're damaged goods. Something about surviving a bad relationship makes people feel less lovable, for some reason. The stigma of divorce is fading (finally, thank goodness!) but it's still hard to shake that feeling that you deserve less. But that's bunk. You are a survivor, and you deserve good love. Period.
Instead, consider your experience and what you have to offer your "social price," a term professor of economics Dr. David Anderson coined to describe how we perceive our value in a relationship. "The more you have to offer in a relationship, the more you can expect in return, thus increasing your appropriate social price."
2. It's slim pickings out there. That's what I hear all the time, especially from my single friends. And to a certain extent, they're right. Dysfunctional man-baby knuckleheads abound. But there are also men who are kind and mature; They've had the same kinds of ups and downs in love that all of us have, and that's why they're still single.
3. Time is running out. Just after I split with my husband I felt this pressure, like I had just a couple years left of being attractive before I hit my old hag years. That's bananas. I mean, I should have more faith in my ability to age well. But that aside, this isn't a race. The men my age are getting older, too. We're aging together. And you need to let things unfold in their own time or risk making a hasty mistake: The rebound relationship.
4. You're going to ruin your new relationship with your old baggage. You're not -- if you've done the work and are paying attention. Be present in the moment so you can be aware of old patterns of thinking or feeling creeping in. Remember you're dealing with a new person, not your ex. Also, everyone has baggage, not just divorced people.
5. A new relationship will make you whole again. It won't. You need to find out how to be a whole person on your own, first, before you find a new person to love. You can't use a new relationship to heal from the last one.
What's the most surprising thing you learned about finding love after divorce?
More from The Stir:
6 Classic Mistakes Women Make With Men
The 1 Thing You Need to Stop Doing to Have a Good Relationship
9 Reasons Commitment Is So Hard to Find
7 Ways to Make Your Relationships After Divorce Better Than Your Marriage
6 Crazy Things We Do After a Divorce
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