Single Parents - Divorced Adults Group Message Board › The big O after the big D

The big O after the big D

A former member
Post #: 5
So I've been watching the discussions and talking with friends who love and protect me with a vengeance, and the general concensus is don't get involved or go looking for sex for a while.
Just because I'm lonely and in pain doesn't mean I should take all of that pain into someone else's life.
Ok, so I'm a nice guy, I don't want to hurt someone else, particularly after I have been hurt so badly; but I didn't get into and stay in such a sick relationship as my ex and enjoyed for so many years because I'm smart or or able to think clearly in these types of scenarios.
What is a good period of time for healing and grieving on average? The obvious answer of you'll know when you're ready aint gonna cut it. I thought I knew last time and look where it got me.
No magic answers, just want to know if anyone has some general thoughts on this. What worked for them, what DIDN'T work for them.
A former member
Post #: 58
It's true - you'll know when you're ready. The problem is, though, that we use the wrong part of our brain. Listen to your heart and it will tell you everything you need to know. In order to hear it you have to practice listening, which means turning down active thinking. It means accepting where you are at the moment, asking yourself "What do I need?" and then waiting for an answer, and in general learning to discount what your active mind says. The active, ego-based mind is in charge of all kinds of things, but it doesn't do well when asked to assess inner states. So you have to learn to quiet it down. Or to put it another way, the ego has to learn that it's working for the heart, and so take a back seat. That's counter-intuitive and just plain difficult.

Pick up a copy of "Conscious Loving" by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks. You'll read about feeling all your feelings and telling the microscopic truth. Those are good practices for developing a more accessible heart-based awareness. Meditation will also contribute.

Best of luck to you. May your suffering teach you what you need to know and then leave you in peace.
A former member
Post #: 6
Dave, lot's of good advice there, thanks for backing up your reply with sound judgement.
That's what I need to hear in order to find the strength to listen to my heart. Seems a bit paradoxical to listen to the heart in order to stave off feelings of loneliness.
Might explain why I end up in such shitty relationships.
A former member
Post #: 1
All I can tell you is what my path has been. I won't get into the gory details of my marriage or why I divorced but the jist is, I am a very social person who was forced to become very sheltered and private for way too many years. I jumped into the dating 'pool' (unintentionally) a month or so after paperwork was filed. I panicked the first time someone contacted me and couldn't muster up the courage to respond. I finally decided that I did need to practice since it had been over 17 years since I had dated. Eventually, I mustered up the courage to give it a shot. It was fun, frustrating, discouraging and disappointing. I made many mistakes and learned many lessons. One thing I didn't understand initially is why some refused to date anyone who wasn't divorced yet. I knew for certain I was going to see it through to the end. In time, I figured it out. I still had many things to work through, I just didn't know it yet. Those who were beyond that, did, and they didn't want to get hurt. I completely understand the reasons and also have the same policy now.

You just won't know until you've gone through the entire process and cycle. Filing the paperwork, negotiating, any turmoil that erupts, the final hearing. For me, it took a full year to really ease the pain completely. I had to work through every holiday, every tradition I had as a "we" that no longer was, and figure out who I was independently of the family I created and once had. I dated here and there during that time but I did a lot of reflecting and focused very hard on healing myself. After that 1 year mark I felt I was really ok and ready for an actual relationship. I ended up jumping the gun a little and ended up in a bad relationship as a result. I ended it and reflected back on the lessons I learned. I have slowed down and taken more time to get other aspects of my life situated differently and more comfortably. It's been just over 2yrs and I'm almost settled in all aspects: career, home, finances, and last but not least, HAPPINESS! I needed to figure out how to be happy with just me.

I haven't dated much in the past 7-8 mos since ending that bad relationship but, I'm happier than I have ever been. Eventually, I will find the right person. In the meantime, I'm happy and discovering new things, meeting new people, being active and social. If you think you want to start dating and 'practicing', just be honest about your situation. Doesn't mean you need to spill all the details, just that you're technically not quite divorced yet. I would definitely avoid getting too involved or intimate yet but those are personal choices. As long as the person you are sharing with is comfortable, maybe it's ok. It's going to depend on you and the other person. If you're just starting down this path, it may be best to join some of these meetup groups and just get out and be social for a while, not looking for anything more than that. I'm not an expert, nor do I pretend to have all the answers or the right ones. I only relay my experiences and how what I've learned from my mistakes. Hope this helps...good luck!
A former member
Post #: 44
I am not pretending to be an expert on this subject, but I have done a lot of reading and listening and am passing along some of the things I have come across.

I don't totally agree that people know when they are ready. Many people want to believe they are ready and convince themselves of it, when they may not be ready. I attended a number of divorce therapists classes, which specialized on helping people to go through the healing steps toward preparing for future relationships and that therapists stated over and over again, that people frequently jump the gun. That they haven't reflected sufficiently upon their feelings, their actions, what they need from others, what they need to correct in their actions and thoughts. I.e. preparing for success in their future rather than just doing things that make them feel good.

This particular therapist had a strict rule where you had to commit to no dating whatsoever during her time of working with you, because she said that when one is dating then they aren't focusing sufficient attention upon their issues. This same therapist was really positive on group activities, such as Meetup groups, where people can socialize without personal relationship issues.

Of course so much is dependent upon the marriage and situation they are coming from. So there is no absolute formula. In general what I've heard is that if someone is coming out of a marriage that lasted more than 5 years or so, and it had good moments but then deteriorated, that one should wait about a full year to start dating again. Most adults don't want to hear that. If the marriage was longer, say 10-15 years or more, or ended dramatically as through a surprise finding of infidelity or a partner walking out on short notice, then many recommend an even longer period of 18-24 months.

Some recommend that you should wait until you able to say yes to these statements:
- I have recovered from my grief.
- I am comfortable being single.
- I have let go of my anger.
- I am capable of trusting again.
The rationale being that if you can't say yes to these things, then you are doing a disservice to the next person in your life, and yourself.

These recommendations are backed up through statistical studies, which show that people who do take the time to work on themselves, have much lower break-up/divorce rates on subsequent relationships. I've seen some statistics on people who get into serious relationships within 6 months of a divorce which show nearly 90% failure rates/divorces from them.

However someone coming out of a marriage where they had a long time to contemplate the failings of that relationship would be coming from a very different place. Some people live separate lives within marriages.
A former member
Post #: 59
Cal wrote: "Seems a bit paradoxical to listen to the heart in order to stave off feelings of loneliness.
Might explain why I end up in such shitty relationships."

I would say that if you try to "stave off" any particular feeling it will go underground and influence you in dysfunctional ways. Maybe there's a connection between avoidance and bad relationships. The Hendrickses advocate feeling all your feelings, which means letting a feeling work through you rather than trying to keep it at bay. It's hard (to say the least) but it's curative. When you try to control a feeling you end up being controlled by it, whereas if you give it lots of room and feel whatever it offers you, it loses its power.

Dana wrote: "Many people want to believe they are ready and convince themselves of it, when they may not be ready." This is what I was talking about when I referred to ego-based thinking. The task is to stop believing what your mind tells you about things like anger, lust, or power, and listen instead to the quiet voice of uncertainty, hurt, shame, betrayal, and - yes, even - joy.

Dana, it sounds like you've been through Rebuilding. I strongly recommend it. There are two such programs currently being offered in Madison (I'm a TA in one of them). Cal, you might benefit. The first session (out of 11) was last Wed., but if you're interested you can come to the next one this Wed. Contact me at ken (at) codabone.net for more information.

Best of luck to all.
Jose
JoseNieves
Madison, WI
Post #: 22
I could be talking out of my @$$ but I understand some of things Cal says. Coming from a place of hurt and pain, and everything else that goes with infidelity, I can't even imagine myself with someone yet I crave some physical and emotional "reassurances" simply because I wish all the pain and hurt gone. Yet, even here I notice the disparity between what I need and what I want. In the end, I ask myself whether even attempting any kind of "serious" relationship might provide some instant gratification but end up in a bigger mess that will just perpetuate the suffering.

Sylvia, if I could give thumbs up for replies, you'd get 3 from me (I know it sounds weird but I have a "thick" forefinger tongue) Thank you so much for sharing your personal situation and validating that I need to just chill and find out what I really and truly want for myself and two boys. When it happens, it happens.. in the meantime, I would like to experiment with appreciating and loving myself and rebuilding my self-esteem and self-worth (imho, the best aftereffect of surviving infidelity is what it does to one's self-esteem and self-worth.. Way to go STB-ex!!)

Dana and Dave, is there anything like Rebuilding out there? Tuesday and Wednesday are my set days with the kids and right now I'm trying to spend as much time with them as I can. I've been reading a lot on things like love and suffering and relationships but would love to find a place to discuss it face to face.
A former member
Post #: 7
I certainly know that I need to do these things that you have all graciously posted in response to my questions. I need your validation and support to get through it is all. I get so fucking lonely at times.
I'll try to fit into one of those rebuilding things. I think I can make one of those nights work. I'll e-mail you
A former member
Post #: 60
Jose,

Yes, there are two Rebuilding programs currently going in Madison. One met for the second time (out of 10) yesterday (Monday) and the other meets for second time (out of 11) tomorrow. It isn't too late to join, but if you're interested you better act soon. Contact me at ken(at)codabone.net for more info.

Dave
A former member
Post #: 2
Cal & Jose, hang in there! It will get better. I completely understand feeling lonely. I'm extremely happy with myself and my life. But, I too, seek companionship and feel lonely on occasion. I have so many incredible friends and an extremely full social life that it's hard for people to imagine that I get lonely. Mostly, it's at night because I come home and curl up in bed alone. I miss having masculine comfort and reassurance. I miss having someone of the opposite sex tell me all kinds of wonderful things. I miss physical contact of all kinds. But you know something? I absolutely, positively, DO NOT miss all the negative things that come with a bad relationship! So the nights I feel lonely I curl up with an extra pillow and have myself a good cry. The next day I feel better...silly for being so emotional, and push forward into a new day full of wonder and adventure. I wake up happy in the morning and grateful I have so many wonderful things in my life. I focus on the positives. I try to find a silver lining in every situation, even the bad ones. My point: I assure you, it is more painful and detrimental to your well being to jump into a relationship before healing yourself.

Divorce is a tough road to travel but you're not alone! I only wish I knew about meetup when I was going through mine. Most of my friends hadn't been through divorce so they couldn't really empathize with me. I sought counseling and it helped with most of it. Mostly, I sought out self improvement on my own. I really spent a great deal of time looking inward and focusing on myself, my own flaws, and figuring out how to move forward. The way I described this process to people is that I peeled my skin back and scrubbed my raw insides with sandpaper. Admitting to your own participation in the decline of the marriage and your personal flaws is extremely painful! Infidelity isn't always the only reason a marriage fails. Just because I was cheated on doesn't mean I didn't have a part in the declination of the marriage. As painful as it was to admit that, I healed so much faster and became a much better person by doing it. I still make mistakes because I'm human. But I've taught myself how to be ok with them and learn from them and NOT repeat them.

My advice is to focus on being the best and healthiest you that you can be. Start a new year of positivity. Any time you grumble about something negative, think of something positive about it. For instance, I hit a deer last Nov a week before a HUGE project at work. I yelled at the deer as it fled, "I DON'T HAVE TIME TO DEAL WITH THIS!!!!". I pulled away to continue the rest of the mile home and suddenly giggled when I thought, "Hey! I can add this to my list of firsts!" since it was the first deer I'd ever hit. That's just one goofy example of what I've done with positive thinking in the past few years since my marriage broke apart. I have hundreds more. I am very, very happy being alone! But I get lonely too. Be as social and involved with life as you can be and are comfortable with, without wearing yourself out or breaking the bank. Meeting new people and sharing stories motivates me and makes me happy. Find what makes you happy and go with it. Try new things. Love your kids. LOVE YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU ARE WORTH IT!
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