By Lindy Earl
Y’all know my tag line is Life After Divorce. What does this mean? It means we all have at least one thing in common – a failed relationship. If we remain divorced, it means we have yet to find our significant other and have a truly lasting romance. I realize some people are widowed, not divorced, and my heart goes out to you – that is different.
People re-enter the dating world at their own pace. Some enter after a brief separation, before the divorce is even final. Others are divorced for years and still cannot make themselves rejoin this group of daters. I had to be pushed but will be forever grateful to the friend who got me dating.
I have been in this dating world for a few years and my goal is to help as many people as I can on their journey. I have had both organic dates as well as on line dates on my path and I have found that there are two relationships that are especially dangerous and you might want to be aware. They both have to do with time. They both have to do with moving too quickly and too soon.
First there is the new relationship. You just met. You have dozens of commonalities. You clicked and the chemistry is AMAZING. You feel alive and whole again. You didn’t think you’d ever get here. You are so excited! The relationship quickly escalates to exclusive with all that entails – late night phone calls, texts during the day, romance on weekends. Life is wonderful. The danger is, you may have just built a castle in the clouds.
It’s all great now, but is there a sufficient foundation, when a relationship moves so quickly, to stand the test of time? A friend told me a story about a woman who had been in a relationship with a guy for five years. Then he got sick. Seriously sick. She was out of there, with the line, “I didn’t sign up for this.” After five years?! Maybe after five weeks or five months, but to invest in someone for five years and walk away just astounded me. Maybe the relationship was built of clouds, wisps of smoke that can easily be blown away.
The second challenge is the friendship relationship. You have been friends for years, or were friends many years ago. I know of several couples who connected after being friends for years. That could be a good thing, if they invest in the relationship and get to know one another. On the other hand, if they use the theory that they’ve been friends for years so already know enough about the other, then they may be headed for trouble. They knew each other as friends, not as significant others, and there is an important difference!
Similar to this is the couple who reconnects after years apart. My 30th High School reunion was a few years ago. After the fact I was back in touch with several friends from high school. Several of us were divorced and it was easy to slip back into old relationships. The challenge is that we were not the same people we had been 30 years before. Life had matured us, beaten us up, and changed us. What felt like a hand in glove relationship quickly deteriorated when real life interfered.
While it was great fun to reminisce and feel young and free again, the truth is that we were all bringing responsibilities and baggage with us. Did we all live in the same place? No. Did many of us bring children into the renewed relationship? Yes. Had our priorities changed? Definitely. Is it possible that we have learned to hide some of our baggage or walls? Of course. We are older and smarter, so all the more reason to tread carefully.
Again, if things progress slowly, and you re-begin with the idea of dating from the start, you may be able to build a great relationship. If, however, you are trying to pick up where you left off, and move too quickly, you may be asking for trouble, and pain.
Relationships are hard and a lot of work. If connecting quickly, or reconnecting too quickly, seems like a lovely shortcut, be wary. It takes time to learn about another person. It takes effort and energy. Just jumping into something so that you can have a Significant Other is never a good idea. These are two areas I have seen consistently fail.
So, enjoy what you have, but if you are building a real relationship, start with a new foundation and take time to build it. Be careful about an exciting relationship because you’re happy to be with a new person, or an old one that may have crumbled in places that you can’t see.
That’s Life After Divorce.
Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant. Contact her at LMEarl@EarlMarketing.com or find her on Face Book and join her single support group, Single Again . . . From Devastation to Dating.