I guess it shouldn’t surprise anyone that a significant percentage of the clients I work with are recently divorced (or divorcing) women due to their husbands’ significant misbehaviors. Today I hope to give useful ideas to the ones who are finding themselves back in the dating world. Yes, I know that there are many marriages that come to an end primarily because of the misbehaviors of the woman, but that is not my topic for today.
• Anchor yourself down tight for the ride. After going through the rough experience of a difficult marriage followed by a difficult divorce, re-establish your own psychological stability. If possible, find a memory from your pre-married life when you felt strong and stable and use what you used then to re-establish those feelings and clarity of thinking.
• Avoid “carnival mirrors”. We each have a tendency (to some degree) to see ourselves based on how other people see us. Too often, we do not check the quality of this reflection before taking it seriously. Some people are so twisted that everything that reflects off of them is distorted. Find some people you can trust, more than one if possible. We call these people “flat mirrors” because they reflect truth and reality accurately. Avoid people who are so distorted they make you look twisted. (Usually, this includes the X.)
• Don’t lose hope. It is true that men who work hard to be strong and stable emotionally, financially, spiritually, sexually, intellectually are becoming fewer and farther in between, but there are still some out there. It takes patience and persistence. Plan on going through at least 10-15 men (on dates) before getting concerned.
• Don’t be afraid to use on-line dating, but be careful. Unfortunately, in the modern day, proactive people have to use on-line methods of finding dates. There are some good services out there, so I have no specific recommendations. There are many sites to avoid, should be pretty obvious. Remember you have to go through a lot of names before you find someone safe and stable enough to date. Plan on about 1/100. Be patient with this process. Pace yourself…maybe 20-25 per day.
• Ask the tough questions before things get too far! You have a right to know if he has any medical conditions that could affect the relationship, including addictions like drugs, alcohol and porn!
• Be very slow about giving out personal information. Use the rule of 3’s taught to me by my first mentor, Alisa Goodwin-Snell. 3 chats on the web site, then 3 emails, then 3 phone calls, then 3 visits in public places with separate cars, then 3 double dates with girlfriends you trust, then 3 visits with Maurice (or whomever you have been working with)! Drop him at any time if he starts to freak you out.
• Do not fall in love until he has passed the law of the 3’s. Yes I know you will break this rule, but try to go as far as you can. You have already been to hell once, you don’t need to visit there again.
• Avoid physical intimacy for as long as you can. Most women in this situation are very emotionally starved. When women feel loved and cherished, they have a tendency to want to share their bodies. I cannot tell you how many times I have a woman who swore she would never let a man touch her body ever again, comes into my office with a sheepish grin, saying, “oopps.” Some men take advantage of this vulnerability on purpose. Some take advantage of it on accident. A good man with take full responsibility to make sure the physical relationship stays appropriate. You need to make an effort to do so also.
I could go on…. Let me know if you want more details or further discussion.