So you've accepted your divorce. Good for you. That's a huge step, and you should feel proud. Now I have a question: Have you embraced your divorce? “Embrace my what?” you may be thinking. “Why would I ever want to do that?”
Yes, it's commendable to be happy that your divorce decree is officially signed, sealed, and delivered. The process isn't often fun, I admit it, even for me. I never like to see my clients suffer or stagnate in a marriage they no longer want or isn't healthy for them. That’s why the time right after your divorce is the time to begin building the new life you want, on your terms.
Before moving forward, I recommend my clients, during the proverbial calm after the storm, take the time to reflect on their marriage, as well as any other relationships that led them to it, which is pretty much all of them. Ask yourself: “What were the similarities among my past romantic relationships?” “How did I similarly relate to my mother, my father, siblings, and friends?” And, the most important question, “What do those relationships say about me?”
This line of questioning will require you to dig deep into your past, and you may want to enlist the help of a therapist, clergyman, close friend, or family member to assist you and give you additional support. Most likely, you will begin to see patterns among those relationships, patterns that you may agree after some serious reflection need breaking. If those patterns continue to exist, you risk running into the same issues you did in your previous marriage. And both of us don't want that. Contrary to popular belief, a divorce lawyer, one who's reputable, that is, looks forward to seeing you find happiness post-divorce, not you landing back in his or her office to pursue a post-divorce judgment.
The best way to find contentment after divorce is to work on yourself as soon as you feel up to it but before you start dating. In addition to resolving old relationship issues, that means discovering or rediscovering who you are as an individual, not who you were as one-half of a couple or, worse still, a troubled couple. It means figuring out what you like to do, how you want to spend your time, and with whom you want to spend it. Period.
That's what dating after divorce is, by the way. It's not a means to an end. You’re not looking for a replacement spouse but, rather, someone with whom you can enjoy an evening out – a nice dinner, a stroll along a beautiful beach, theater, a movie, stimulating conversation, intimacy, whatever you are ready for, at the particular moment. Nothing more, nothing less.
Before you know it, you will have the life you always envisioned and without even trying. The time following divorce is not a time to fear; it's a time to relish in and enjoy. After enduring all that you have and personifying the will to survive, today is your day to thrive. Happiness is a choice, and whenever you choose to make it, I will be here to support you.
Be sure to check out “The Pre-Marital Planner (to stay happily married),” the quintessential guide for any woman in search of a real happily ever after, scheduled for release on August 1, 2017. Click here for more details.
Vikki Ziegler is the star of Bravo TV’s Untying the Knot, the founder and CEO of DivorceDating, Author of The Pre-Marital Planner: Your Complete Legal Guide to a Perfect Marriage, and a co-founder of and partner at Ziegler & Zemsky, LLC. To learn more about Vikki, visit www.vikkiziegler.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.