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I remember the night like it was yesterday. Had I asked myself, “Am I ready for a relationship after my divorce?” the answer would have been a resounding “NO!!”
It was my first day being an unemployed single mom. I felt simultaneously petrified and strangely at peace. One of the guys I used to supervised had become a g00d friend since his divorce. He asked if he could come over after he was done with work. We chatted for a bit and then he dropped a bombshell. “I want to date you now that we aren’t working together.”
Although he was a great friend, I was so not ready to think about dating. Or so I thought. After giving me a couple of weeks to think about it, I thought we were going for a walk. Instead, he asked me out dancing and by the end of the night, I had agreed to try dating him.
It wasn’t exactly a fairy tale, but we were best friends and dated for several years. We had some great times and I learned a lot from our relationship.
Related: What to Do When You are Out of Work
Do you wonder if you are ready for a relationship? Take the following quiz and find out.
Quiz: Am I Ready for a Relationship?
Answer Agree or Disagree to each of the following statements:
- I need to find a man to help me raise my kids.
- I need a man to help pay my bills.
- If a man has sex with me, it means we are in an exclusive relationship.
- I am able to pay for the necessities (food, shelter, transportation) with the money I earn (not including child support or alimony).
- I am angry at my ex for abandoning us.
- I am angry at my ex for what he did during our marriage and I want him to suffer.
- I drive by where my ex lives or stalk him on social media to see what is going on in his life; everybody does it.
- I am ready to risk being hurt in a relationship.
- I know who I am and what I want from life.
- I am open to meeting people to date and seeing where things go in the relationship.
- I have room in my schedule for dating or I can make time and still take care of my responsibilities.
- I am able to assertively express my wants and needs and consider the other person’s wants and needs.
- My kids see their father regularly or have another positive male role model in their life.
- I have forgiven my ex and myself for what went wrong in our relationship.
Enter your email address below and I will send you the scoring and results to the quiz, “Am I Ready for a Relatioship”.
Additional Warning: If you agreed with 3 and did not have a verbal agreement from him about this before you had any clothes off, you are setting yourself up to have your heart shattered. You are also somewhat delusional. Hopefully, you think I am being ridiculous for even mentioning this.
However, I feel a need to mention it because in my psychotherapy office I have had more conversations than I care to remember about this very topic, and it makes me want to cry. Please do not be one of those women.
Always remember: Do not assume that a man thinks like you think. He does NOT–in so many ways. For years I have been recommending these books to help women understand men. Three of them are also good if a man wants to better understand women.
How to Get Ready for a Relationship after Divorce
1. Know and accept yourself.
After being in a relationship for several years, you go from being not just me, but we. Once you are single again, it is important to get to know yourself again. Who are you now? What do you like about yourself? Does anything need work? This is your time to work on yourself.
2. Know the difference between needing and wanting a man.
You are not Cinderella and there’s no prince coming to save you. Besides, that fairy tale ended at the wedding and we all know things don’t necessarily turn out like we hope or dream.
It is fine to prefer being in a relationship. It is more important to be in charge of your own happiness and not wait around for someone else to complete you. Besides, no one is going to take care of you as well as you can take care of yourself. Oh, and don’t forget: There are no free rides. If someone is willing to rescue you from yourself and your life, there will be strings attached. Do you really want to take that risk? Of course not.
3. Be finished with your last relationship.
If you are still trying or hoping to win him back, you are not done with your last relationship. Are you angry at him for leaving or angry at yourself? If so, take some time to work through that anger. Have you forgiven him and yourself? If not, work on forgiveness.
4. Give your heart time to heal.
Take time to grieve and heal. When a relationship you expect to last forever ends, it can be devastating. Whether the end came through divorce, death, or you were never married but expected to raise your children together, endings are unbelievably painful. Endings hurt and make it hard to trust your heart to another. Make sure your heart is ready to risk again.
5. Focus on what is possible.
Every relationship is different. Know what your deal breakers are when you start a relationship. Some common deal breakers are: drug addiction, smoking, unemployment, felony, abuse, and infidelity. You get the picture. Know your boundaries and maintain them. Be open and flexible about who you meet and what happens–within those boundaries.
Focus on what each person you date has to offer in the relationship and to enrich your life. Are the two of you compatible in your values? Do you have some interests in common?
The Bottom Line
Remember, to answer yes to the question “Am I ready for a relationship?” you need to give yourself time to heal. Get to know the new you. Be able to take care of yourself emotionally and financially. Finally, be open to what is possible in a new relationship. And when you are ready, have fun.
This article is part of a seven-month series, Secrets of a Successful Life by Single Mom Bloggers. You can read what the rest of the single mom bloggers have to say and the rest of the Single Mom 101 tips here.
Hi, I’m Tamara the creator of Empowered Single Moms, a single mom, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and the author of Thriving a Single Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Positive Life and Thriving a Single Mom Journal. I have a solo private psychotherapy practice where I treat anxiety, depression, and relationship issues.
As a member of the Empowered Single Moms community, I believe you can stop carrying the weight of the world alone and build a life you love. Join my mailing list and get 5 Keys to Single Mom Success.