#317 - Grief, it's a necessary part of moving on

I don’t know why I’m so amazed at how quickly people want to jump back into a new relationship after recently ending their last relationship.

The reality is I’ve done it too. After my divorce I just knew that within 9 months I’d be with my soul mate and living happily ever after.

Actually, I thought it would only be 6 months but I was giving myself some cushion…or so I thought.

It took me over a year just to start feeling happy again. It took me another two years to start regaining my sense of humor. Some people will tell you that I still haven’t found it. LOL

I had to learn the hard way about dating widows too. Not once, but TWICE I dated women that were widowed less than a year. The first time I was clueless. The second time I knew better and dated her anyway.

Both were good women and one has remained a friend for life. Why didn’t it work out with either of them? They hadn’t had time to grieve and heal from the loss of their husbands.

How long should you grieve?
As a general rule, after the relationship ends, it takes about one month for every year you were married or in the relationship. For widows and widowers, plan on five years as a general guide.

This doesn’t mean you can’t date, it just means you shouldn’t get serious with anyone before you’re emotionally ready.

How do you know when you’re ready? That’s pretty simple. You’re ready when you are at a point where you’re comfortable with your own company.

You’re at a point where you don’t NEED anyone in your life but you’d like someone to share your life with. It’s also the point where you have let go of any anger you have toward your ex.

Don’t date when you’re still angry.
I’ve met people that have held on to anger for years. I’m talking 15, 20, and even 30 years. First of all, this isn’t good for your health.

Science sows that holding on to anger and other negative emotions can take years off your life. Learn to forgive; not because they will feel better but because YOU will feel better.

Second, you make a terrible date and an even worse partner. No one wants to continually hear about how you were wronged or how much you hate your ex.

If you’re dating and still angry, you’re giving dating a black eye. You’re the one that the rest of us talk about when we’re sharing bad-date stories.

These are general guidelines for dating.
Some people move through their grief a little quicker than others and some take more time. Most of you that are newly single are thinking that I’m full of crap and don’t know what I’m talking about.

You’re thinking, I was separated for three years before my divorce was final. I’ve done all my healing.

Or you’re thinking that my spouse was suffering from a long illness and we each made peace with it and did our grieving together.

It’s classic denial. I did it too. The grieving and healing doesn’t start until the divorce papers are signed or the death certificates are received.

In any long-term relationship you adjust or change to make the relationship work, or at least more tolerable. After it’s over, you need to start finding yourself again.

You need to ask yourself questions like:

Who am I?

What do I like to do?

What do I want to do with the rest of my life?

How have I changed over the years and has it made me better of bitter?

Don’t make time your enemy.
That will put an unrealistic sense of urgency into finding your next relationship. That makes you desperate and vulnerable. That puts you in a position of weakness.

Take your time to get emotionally healthy and ready to date. You will instinctively know when the time is right to start search for your forever love.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas to make healthier dating and relationship decisions today. Have a great and blessed day.