My journey into the dating world post-divorce was like stepping into uncharted territory. Married for almost a decade; my ex-husband was my first and only real relationship. The dating landscape had transformed during my time as a wife, and the rise of online dating apps had changed the game entirely. Faced with this new reality, I hesitated, unsure how to navigate this brave new world of romance.
Removing my wedding ring marked the start of a new chapter, an opportunity to embrace the unknown and find love once more. Initially, under the pressure of family and friends, I dipped my toes into the world of dating apps. Tentatively swiping through profiles and engaging in conversations, I soon learned the ropes and gained insight into the modern dating landscape.
As my journey progressed, I became adept at recognizing the signs of time-wasters versus potential matches worth my time. Red flags were no longer ignored; I swiftly said “no” and moved on from unfruitful conversations. No longer willing to linger where compatibility was lacking, I embraced the power of discernment to protect my heart and invest my energy wisely.
But the real lessons came from stepping out of my comfort zone and going on actual dates.
Here are some of the lessons I have gathered so far:
1. Understanding the Past
As I delved into the world of dating after my divorce, I couldn’t ignore the profound impact of my past experiences on my present relationships. We all have past experiences that have left a sour taste in our mouths. This emotional baggage makes it difficult for me to fully connect with new people.
A significant revelation came when I examined my financial investment in my previous marriage. I put in a lot of emotional and physical effort, and I also contributed a good amount of funds. The realization hit me hard: I had been overly generous, giving without considering my own needs.
This realization became insecurity, leading me to expect men to cover every expense on our dates. I was quick to compare them to my ex-husband. However, with time, I started questioning this expectation. If I wanted to be treated as an equal partner, with my opinions and career valued, then shouldn’t I also contribute financially?
I learned to strike a balance. While I still appreciate it when a man pays for most dates, I also accept and embrace the idea that it’s okay when he doesn’t. After all, true equality means sharing responsibilities, including financial ones.
2. Beyond the List
At the start of my dating journey, I believed that finding the perfect partner was merely about ticking off items on my checklist. Yet, the experiences I encountered taught me a valuable lesson – connection and compatibility are far more important than my checklist.
There were instances where I met men who seemingly checked all the boxes on my list. However, as we got to know each other better, I realized our values and long-term aspirations didn’t align. Although they appeared ideal on paper, it became evident that we were better suited as friends rather than romantic partners.
This shifted my perspective. I began to focus less on rigid criteria and more on the essence of the person I connected with. Shared values, mutual respect, and emotional connection became my guiding principles in building meaningful relationships.
3. Embrace Your Unique Journey
As I ventured into the dating world after divorce, I couldn’t help but compare my progress with that of my friend, who found her happy relationship sooner. It was challenging not to feel a pang of self-doubt when faced with such a contrast.
However, this experience taught me a crucial lesson: love follows its own timeline. Each person’s journey is distinct, and rushing into things wouldn’t lead to genuine connections. Witnessing my friend’s newfound love initially made me question my own path, but it ultimately instilled in me the significance of patience and trust in the process. Just because I am not in a happy relationship at the same time my friend is, it does not mean I will never be in one.
4. Putting Effort into Relationships
It’s time to bust the myth perpetuated by romantic movies that relationships “just happen.” I’ve come to realize that finding a meaningful connection requires genuine effort, much like searching for a job.
During my job hunt, I submitted applications tirelessly, and faced rejection, but I never lost hope because my livelihood depended on it. Similarly, in my dating journey, I actively pursue new connections, go on multiple dates, and try not to be disheartened by rejections. Of course, there are moments when I feel the need to take a break and focus on other aspects of my life. During those times, I shift my attention elsewhere but inevitably return, determined to continue my efforts.
Relationships demand dedication and persistence, just like any other valuable life pursuit. Love is not a coincidence; it’s an adventure requiring active participation and unwavering commitment.
5. Embracing Solitude over Toxicity
After my divorce, I realized that seeking love wasn’t about filling a void or desperately needing someone to complete me. Instead, it became a journey of rediscovering my true self and understanding what I genuinely desire in a partner.
I learned that being alone doesn’t equate to loneliness; it’s an opportunity for self-discovery, growth, and healing. Rather than rushing into another relationship, I chose to prioritize my well-being and happiness. I recognized that being in a toxic relationship can be more damaging than being on my own.
Throughout this rollercoaster ride, I discovered more about myself than I ever thought possible. It was a journey of self-discovery, learning to embrace my vulnerabilities, and understanding my worth.
By valuing my worth and cherishing my independence, I’ve empowered myself to wait for a love that complements and enhances my life, rather than settling for anything less. The wisdom gained from this experience has shifted my perspective. I now embrace solitude as a chance to cultivate a fulfilling and authentic life that will eventually attract a love that is equally genuine and fulfilling.
I don’t know what is in store for me in the future, but I will continue my expedition, putting in the effort, knowing that the right person is out there somewhere. This time, I hope to approach love with an open heart and an adventurous spirit.
About the Author
Kshama Singhi is a Jay Shetty Certified Happiness & Empowerment Coach with over 12 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Drawing from her personal journey of overcoming relationship challenges and self-development, Kshama specializes in helping female professionals navigate emotional hardships and relationship issues. As a no-nonsense coach, she empowers her clients to overcome their internal distractions and limitations to reach their full potential.
Be You: www.coachkshama.com