Rebuilding your life after divorce can be quite challenging. For many people, it involves not just adjusting to the change emotionally, but moving to a new area, finding an entirely different set of friends, finding a new parish, etc.
If you’re reading this, you are likely a member of CatholicMatch and on your way to finding like-minded people who share your experiences and are looking for friendships and romance.
But are you ready for romance? Beyond the obvious question of “do you have a decree of nullity?” which means you are free to date, there are some important checkpoints that can help you determine your state of readiness for another relationship:
1. Are you working too much in order to avoid being alone? Do you feel that being busy is better than being alone? If so, this is an area you will want to work on before you date. Why? Because if you’re not comfortable being alone and able to enjoy your own company, you might get into a relationship for the wrong reasons. You might not be able to get out of a relationship that doesn’t work because you dislike being alone.
Resolution: Plan a day out by yourself. Block off a specific amount of time and have a specific place to go. Splurge if you can and even if you can’t because funds are tight, make sure you go somewhere you can enjoy. If admission to a museum is too much, why not browse the art at the local street festival? Whatever you do, remember the goal is to get comfortable in your own skin and enjoy being you with or without a significant other. This is something you can do multiple times.
2. Have you worked to overcome your faulty behavior that contributed to your divorce or are you still blaming your ex for everything? If you’ve gone through the annulment process, it’s highly likely that you’ve got this one tackled. The annulment process digs deeply and reveals all kinds of truths about your divorce, your spouse, and yourself. But if you acknowledge you need some help in this area, you should address it thoroughly before you date.
Resolution: Take a personal inventory. If you search the internet, you will undoubtedly find various personal inventories you can take and these will be helpful. But you need to address the specific issues that contributed to your divorce. Write down the things you know about yourself that were problematic in your marriage and directly across from those, write an action that will help you change that behavior. Look at it every day and make these actions daily habits.
5. Are you confident in the good things you can bring to a new relationship or are you feeling doubts about your self-worth? If you want to be in love, but aren’t confident in your own gifts, talents and strengths then you need to take a different kind of personal inventory. Remind yourself of your many good points.
Resolution: Take some time to reflect on your life from childhood to today and make note of all the good things about you. Your list should be more than 3 or 4 entries long and if it’s not, you are being too hard on yourself; another detriment to having a successful relationship.
4. Do memories of your marriage and ex-spouse hurt briefly and then life goes on or are you still having “bad days?” It’s important to acknowledge that if you are divorced, there will always be painful reminders of the past. You are not alone in that but how those painful reminders affect you is up to you.
Resolution: If you hear a song, find an article of clothing or experience something else that stirs the pain all over again, the best thing you can do is let it come and then let it go. Don’t stuff it down inside and put a lid on it. Don’t ignore it or try to avoid it. Acknowledge it for what it is and then let it pass. Then, say a brief prayer of thanks for your blessings. This is how you can turn bad days into bad moments that don’t last very long.
My prayer for you is that you will find a loving, permanent relationship with someone. Having been divorced, annulled and remarried myself, I offer these suggestions to you in hopes you will prepare yourself for an incredible future. As always, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.