Before we even signed the final divorce decree, my ex-husband had already moved on. He seems happy and mostly lives his life as if the divorce never happened.
Yet six months after the ink dried on those legal documents, I haven’t downloaded a single dating app.
Lots of people keep asking me if I’m ready to test the waters and look for my next “big catch,” but I still don’t even want to dip my toes, let alone jump in. Although I obviously don’t owe anyone an explanation, I do feel like it may help other people if I share why I’m still not dating yet.
For starters, I’m still unpacking my past in therapy.
Nearly all of my past relationships have been disasters by the time they ended, and the only commonality between them all is me. Therefore, my therapist is helping me work through some of the more traumatic moments within some of these past partnerships while also helping me discover flaws in my thinking patterns. On top of that, I’m learning a lot about how I view the world and how that ultimately shapes how I connect with others. By doing this therapeutic work, I am making sure that I avoid the same mistakes (and the same types of partners) in my next relationship… whenever that may be.
Also, I’m giving myself time to heal.
I spent over a decade in a relationship with my ex-husband. That’s not something you recover from overnight, no matter how the relationship ended. I need time to fully process the complicated emotions that come with a breakup, like anger and grief. I’m still working through all of the stages of breakup grief, and that’s perfectly OK. It’s important to fully process the ending of a relationship before jumping into another… otherwise you risk bringing all of your baggage and unresolved feelings along for the ride.
And, of course, I’m practically starting my life over again.
Because of the divorce, I had to find a new place to live. This required me to get a new, better-paying job and uproot myself from everything I’d known for the past 10 years. I’m learning how to manage my finances, raise my children alone, and deal with everyday events without the sounding board of a partner. In many ways, it feels like I’m starting my entire adult life over again. While that’s not a bad thing per se, it does require lots of energy and space to adjust. Unfortunately, that leaves very little energy for me to dedicate to anyone new.
Oh, and finally, I’m giving myself time to decide what I truly want in a future partner.
If I rush into a new relationship, I don’t have any time to really learn what being single feels like. Without that critical information, I can’t possibly know what I think is missing from my life to know what I’d like in my next romantic partner. By waiting a while, I can really think about what qualities I’d like in a future partner and what my romantic wants and needs really entail. Hopefully, by the time I decide I’m ready, I’ll know exactly what I’m looking for… and then go out into the world and find it.
Just because my ex moved on before we even signed our divorce papers doesn’t mean I need to follow suit. In fact, I’m actually glad I’m taking the other path. I’m learning so much along the way, and the scenic route is absolutely calming and beautiful. I know that in time I’ll find my stride and decide that it’s time to date again. But until that day comes, I’m simply learning how to be content all on my own.