Taking a good sober look at oneself following a divorce is scary but necessary.
Why do so many of us get stuck in a relationship filled with boredom, anger, disrespect, sadness and even violence? Is it because we, for whatever reason, settle? We become attached, afraid to leave, afraid that we might never find love again and end up alone.
For most people, the root of this problem is usually a lack of self awareness: we know ourselves too poorly. Understandably, self-reflection is scary. However, it is a must for those of us who have been through a divorce.
When I consider the last couple of relationships I’ve had, I realize I settled for what I thought were nice guys, and I let both of them talk me into dating them. My first piece of advice: do not let someone sway you into a situation that doesn’t feel right or one where you are uncomfortable. If your first response is hesitancy, then there might be a problem. I realized this myself when I thought for a moment and asked: WHY did the last two significant men in my life have to talk me into dating them?
We must learn from our mistakes and heal the wounds. The person we are today is the result of past events and decisions we have made. Dating someone whom others think is a catch can make us feel like we are special. This might be all well and good, but it won’t heal wounds from your past or your divorce.
In prior relationships, you might have settled for someone because they were nice and it made you feel good. Dating someone who makes you happy, who is kind and sensitive, caring and understanding is important to a healthy relationship. Since the divorce, many of us have heard these statements: what are you waiting for, you are not getting any younger, and there are not as many eligible men or women out there.
In most cases, settling means that we have accepted a relationship that is not truly making us happy or fulfilling our feelings and needs.
Yes, I am talking about sex. Many times people settle because the person is wonderful in all places but the bedroom. You must discuss this with your partner. A healthy sex life is very important in any relationship. If it is not fulfilling, then talk to your partner and get books to see if you can improve it. Both partners need orgasms. If you haven’t had one that made every muscle in your body react then you have probably never had a great orgasm. Women are lucky because we have many different types. Even so—and this is sad but true—many women do not know and have not felt a strong orgasm. Many women settle for the warm fuzzy feeling (the lowest type of orgasm). Some women settle for none and fake it. Please don’t do this: you will be missing one of the best things life has to offer.
If your partner truly cares about you, they will want love making to get better and better. You need to tell them how you feel, and you need to listen to how they feel. If you settle in this area, neither of you will ever be truly happy.
So now you are divorced, and you believe the first time you married was for real love. As a result, you might decide the next time you marry will be based not on love but on what someone can provide for you. Someone who will help to take care of your kids; someone that is financially secure, a nice personality, and won’t do the things that drove you crazy about your ex. How fair is that to the person you find that fits the bill? How fair is that to yourself, being with someone just for what they can do for you?
I am also sure the sex will not be that good if you are not in love. This type of settling will certainly be compounded with more settling. Eventually the money will not matter to you, especially when you realize you might have missed out on true love and happiness.
Whom you date is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. It’s a cliche, but it’s true: “You are a reflection of the company you keep.” It is important to set your own standards and be careful when you are choosing the people you date. I settled for two different men because I was afraid of being alone. Now I am alone, and I live on a third of the income I used to have, but I am the happiest I have been in my life.
This article originally appeared on Divorced and Scared no More.
Photo by makelessnoise.