"Hindsight is 20/20."
How many times have you heard it?
If only that hindsight could be flipped around to the front of the buggy as you move towards your next relationship. Well, there's a good chance it can be.
The important thing is that you do take time to look back, but just long enough to take stock of what happened and how it changed you. Then when you face the future, bring those lessons along.
1. Divorce teaches us the limits of what we will accept and what we can endure. Most people go into a marriage thinking it's a lifelong commitment. Knowing that you can survive the end of what you thought was forever is liberating.
The unknown, the unthinkable, you already know you can handle those. So you don't go into new relationships with a death grip on outcome. Focusing on the present state of the new relationship instead makes you aware from the beginning when things aren't right or when they are and you want to nurture them.
2. Your standards are clearer. Divorce forces us into corners, redefining what relationships mean and who we are as we exit them. These new definitions of self carry over into new encounters as we are less likely to immediately conform to the shape of a new lover's personality.
After divorce, we are more likely to recognize a bad fit with a partner early, and stand our ground about who we are and what we need. So when we do find a match, it's a stronger one from the start.
3. Knowing forever is not inevitable, you relax into the joy of finding connections with another person. You savour the sweetness in loving again instead of rushing to the next stage.
4. Time is relative. You'd rather be active and engaged in your own life than attached to someone just for the sake of having another body around. Your willingness to apply what you've learned in divorce to your new love affairs gives you the peace to wait for what is right for you.
5. Your confidence can make you more comfortable from the beginning. You may have endured negative or toxic talk from a spouse during the breaking up period, but after divorce you will, as the Whitney Houston goes, "find a point when you will exhale." The next breath you take will be the first one that you define on your own, new terms.
In finding the courage to face the end of a marriage, women often are forced to make a pact with themselves in the process. "I got this" is a common phrase. Yes, you do. And the next time you find yourself in a partnership, you will have the foundation of self-awareness that you may not have taken into your marriage.
Bottom line is that you don't owe a new partner an apology for being who you are. If you don't fit, you'll move on and save you both the pain. Because you know it is YOU who will be there for you when the chips are down, and you are just fine with you.
If the pain of divorce can leave you with that lesson, you'll be a healthier woman and a happier partner in your next relationship.
Were you able to find love again after your divorce?