Life After Divorce . . . When the Music Stops


By Lindy Earl

We all remember the game of musical chairs.  There is always one less chair than there are children circling the chairs.  When the music stops everyone jumps into a chair, and the child remaining is Out.  Out of the game.  Out of the fun.  Well, not out of the fun, because it’s still enjoyable to watch from outside the circle for some of us.

For others, however, they have to be in the game.  They have to have a significant other at all times.  I knew these people in High School, as adults, and now, in the post-divorce world.

I noticed a few seasons ago that, after divorce, people tend to settle, at least for a while, into one of three situations.  One, they embrace being single and choose to stay there.  I know people, both men and women, who have chosen to remain single for five years, ten years, even longer, some forever.  Some choose to stay single for just a while, then return to the world of dating and relationships.

Group two are those who enjoy relationships, but only for two to three years at a time.  When I first returned to dating I didn’t know this group existed, but I’ve seen it over and over.  They enjoy the benefits of a relationship, but they are never going to commit to forever again.  They look for love, they find someone, and they enjoy a relationship, for a while.  Then it’s over, and they heal, and they begin again.  I don’t know if they intentionally began this program after their divorce, but it’s where they tend to stay.

And there are those who are just better off in a relationship.  They need a significant other in their lives, so as soon as a break up occurs, they are looking for Mr./Mrs. Right.  I have learned that these people tend to see every person they date as their forever.  They fall easily and hard.  Some people enjoy the attention these people offer while others are repelled by it.  These people can come across as clingy or needy.  But are they?  They know themselves, and they know what they want.  That’s good!  They see the good in everyone, and we all wish we had that ability.  They are willing to work at a relationship, because it’s being in a relationship that’s most important to them.

Maybe they’re right.  Maybe they are going to be such a great significant other that the who that they find isn’t as important as the relationship they will create.  If you are truly committed to being in a relationship, so committed that you will commit to anyone with whom you are compatible, then maybe that’s the best option.  Create the relationship, and drop a compatible person within it.

Let’s explore this.  In a broken relationship, it was the people who let you down, not the relationship. So if you could create the structure – time, commitment, communication, laughter, commonalities, listening, intimacy (am I missing something?) – doesn’t it stand to reason that you could drop two people into that structure, and voila . . . you have a functioning and happy relationship.

So, when the music stops, are you going to be the person on the ground, or are you going to commit to a really great person, with whom you’re compatible?  Are you going to look for the good, instead of seeking the negative, also called nitpicking?  Are you going to improve your communication and commitment?  Will you be so committed that you stop looking for the next round of the game?  Focus on what you have in front of you now, and not what you might have, some day, if only, because if only may never come.

Make a decision now that when you find a really great person, you will commit to the relationship as well as the person.

That’s Life After Divorce.

                Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant.  Contact her at or find her on Face Book.