People who are divorced often say that they will never get married or live with someone again. In fact, after the breakdown of my second marriage I said exactly that. Thankfully I reconsidered when I met my current husband and we will be celebrating 11 very happy years of marriage this year.
The thought of getting involved again can be really scary. You may worry about getting hurt again so here are a few ideas to help you to protect yourself emotionally.
Before getting into another serious relationship ask yourself if you have allowed yourself enough time to develop as a single person. Are you living a fulfilling life with lots of interests and friends? I firmly believe that no one should enter a serious relationship until they have been single for at least 3 years and are happy with their life. If you are ‘needy’ you are liable to attract the wrong kind of partner. If you are living a fulfilling life and a partner would just be the ‘icing on the cake’ you are more likely to meet someone special.
It is helpful to know what you do and don’t want from a new partner/relationship. Thinking back to your previous relationships, what things did you value and what really annoyed you? Examine the causes of the breakdown of your marriage. Be really honest with yourself and acknowledge where things were your fault. If you are a bit of a control freak, admit this and find ways of being more flexible. If you tend to be a bit of a ‘doormat’ find strategies to make you more assertive.
If you think a relationship is becoming serious get valued friends and relatives to ‘vet’ your new partner and be honest with you about what they think. If most of them like him/her that’s good but if they don’t, alarm bells should be ringing. Also, learn to listen to your gut instincts – they are usually right. Don’t suppress doubts; explore them. Certainly don’t settle for second best – if this one isn’t ‘the one’ then find the one who is.
Beware of repeating old patterns with a new partner. Relationships fail for a reason, if you’re going for the same ‘type’ of person are you asking for trouble from the start? A good relationship is about sharing and equality – if you don’t have those you don’t have a good relationship. Be sure that you can be yourself within the relationship.
Know your boundaries – what is and is not acceptable to you? Let your new partner know what is important to you and what is not and if the line is crossed address it immediately. Ensure that communication with your new partner is good. If you have a problem, however small, talk about it. If you don’t discuss these little issues they can build up and become problems. However busy you both are do put time aside to talk about how you’re feeling.
Most importantly enjoy yourself, have fun getting to know your new partner but remember that all new relationships have a ‘honeymoon’ period. That giddy feeling doesn’t last so don’t rush into any serious commitment until you have settled down and got into a routine with your new partner. If they are worth having they will respect your wish to take things slowly – don’t let anyone rush you into anything.