It is natural for men and women to want to replace lost love as soon as possible. When the reality of divorce hit me, I dreaded the feeling of being alone. As odd as it sounds, I didn’t know how to be alone after 10 years of marriage. Nor was I interested in the idea of solitude; after all, my marriage was supposed to be a lifelong journey, or so I thought. Many are under-prepared for all that marriage entails, but we are even less prepared for a life after divorce. While many would suggest that it takes time to heal, when do you know that the moving on process is complete? How long should you wait to date after divorce?
Waiting to Date After Divorce? Time Is Not An Antidote
If you asked 100 different people when they think you should start dating again after divorce, you would probably get 100 different answers. Some may tell you no less than a year, some may say until you can be content living in solitude, etc. In any case, time seems to be the point of reference most suggest as an antidote.
I would like to suggest that it is not the amount of time that matters, but what you do with your time after divorce. Most radical changes in life happen in a moment. And of those radical changes, most are due to mindset shifts. Until someone decides to lose weight, they remain at their current weight. Until someone starts running, they won’t complete a marathon. It is a new mindset that brings about new changes.
Being intentional is the key to massive change. It is the starting point. Time is the most valuable resource that we cannot reproduce. Time is more valuable than all the riches in the world. And no one is guaranteed another minute of life. From my point of view, suggesting that someone wait a certain amount of time to date after divorce is like suggesting that someone lose out on moments in their life they will never have again.
I believe that we often use time in place of ignorance. When we don’t know what to do, the best thing to do is just wait. Am I suggesting that we should never wait? Of course not! There are many aspects of life where waiting is just a part of the process. But there are other areas in life where other outcomes are available; we just don’t have the answers to create that outcome. If ignorance was painful, we would be more motivated to find such answers.
Knowledge Plus Action Equals Opportunity
Knowledge is the beginning to any desired outcome. But knowledge alone is not power. Knowledge put into massive action is power. So, when should you take up dating again after divorce? When you understand these key elements:
- Rediscover yourself: Your independent life and identity were radically changed when you got married. You gave up “me” for “we.” Your life was re-conditioned to counting on someone always being there. Losing all of that creates a sense of confusion. Finding out who you are after divorce is key. You won’t know the direction of your life, or what you want in your next relationship, until you figure out who you are. This may take time, but it may not take as long as you’d expect if done intentionally. Books, seminars and counseling are great avenues to explore in helping in that process. And never be afraid to seek out hope in God.
- Define a new life: What do want to do now? Where do you want to go? What did you learn from divorce that can positively affect your future? Was there anything about your old life that you never liked, that you have a chance to incorporate into your new life? Clarifying what your new life will be like will help you be crystal clear in what you want in your romantic life. Divorce has given you a perspective that you did not have prior to it. It can almost be a blessing in disguise.
- Discover your purpose: The last key is seeing how the newly defined you, in conjunction with your newly defined life, can give you purpose. What many marriages (and even individual people) are suffering from is a lack of a greater mission – a purpose that serves beyond themselves or their marriage. Pursuing our goals and dreams, while carrying the Kingdom of God everywhere we go, is a level of satisfaction few truly find.
Your Future Looks Bright
Trying to fathom a romantic future after a recent divorce might feel daunting for a while. But don’t let time stand in the way of the beauty of second chances. We are all empowered to give love and benefit the world in a unique way. How long should you wait to date after divorce? That’s something only you – and God – can answer. Focus on the way in which He is guiding you, and let your hope and faith lead you into an amazing new future. You will become the best you yet!
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