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Mindful Dating After Divorce ‒ Take It Slowly

Written by: Jolisa Webb, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

In the aftermath of a divorce, it can be challenging to accept that someone you might have loved dearly no longer wanted to be part of your life. Even if you acknowledge the relationship wasn't a good match, it can still be tough to move forward. You will probably want to try dating again when you're ready, which for some people can be very soon after initiating divorce proceedings. This is an often excellent and positive way to deal with the trauma of a divorce, but you will want to do so mindfully. Here is how you can do just that.

Don't Rush Yourself


While you may feel a strong urge to start seeking out a partner again, it's usually not in your best interest to rush back into dating after a divorce. However, if you do decide to rush into dating, it's an even worse idea to rush a new relationship into another marriage.


Many people firmly believe in love at first sight and expect the relationships that are "meant to be" to all be like that. Sudden, powerful romantic attractions are idealized in our culture. You have likely come to expect that feeling from relationships and even crave it. You might turn down potential relationships if you don't experience that all-consuming feeling and experience discouragement if it never really happens at all.


The problem is that when you allow yourself to get caught up in such a passionate and whirlwind romance, you may end up losing sight of the reality of the situation. Your new partner might seem perfect at first, but their flaws and weaknesses will become apparent when things simmer down. No one is perfect; everyone is human. When that reality hits you, it can leave you feeling disinterested or even disappointed in the relationship. This can be even more devastating when you have given in to the urge to sideline family, friendships, hobbies, and even self-care because of an intense, obsessive relationship.


You should take things slowly because you are likely hurting deeply and feeling quite lonely after your divorce or breakup. Take the time to get to know new people before you commit to dating them. Do your best to objectively evaluate who they are and whether they genuinely value and are looking for the same. You are far more likely to see long-term success if you can do that.


Tone It Down


No one is saying you need to act with complete objectivity and logic when forming a new relationship. Not only is that functionally unrealistic, but it also won't help you much either. The key is to closely monitor and tone down the intense feelings that tend to accompany the beginning of a new relationship.


For some people, controlling themselves can be incredibly difficult to do when matters of the heart are involved. An excellent way to manage the intensity is by focusing it on other activities, such as exercise, a beloved hobby, work projects coming due, or even pushing through what needs to be done in your divorce proceedings. When you ratchet down the intense feelings of desire, you can better enjoy the tension and anticipation created from not being in your partner's life 24/7.


By toning things down and holding back a little, you create a sexy slow burn that can ultimately be just as intense as letting your feelings rage like wildfire. Love is a potent emotion that can alter lives, so it's best to channel it into both relationships and other aspects of life in a mindful, meaningful way.


Think Before You Get Physical


You may be experiencing strong initial chemistry with someone else and want to jump into a physical relationship right away. There's nothing wrong with being physically intimate but do take the time to think first.


Relish in your new partner's beautiful qualities while taking note of traits that aren't ideal or concern you. Consider and piece together who they are as a person, and then take stock of your feelings. People are often made of contradictions, and when you analyze someone, ask yourself whether your feelings for them change.


If your feelings are different, try and figure out why. Some qualities may indicate red flags that deserve to be more carefully observed. If you still like the other person a lot, problems, and all, then you might have really found someone incredible. Another person who you appreciate in their entirety can be even more alluring.


Indulge Yourself in A Little Fantasy


Fantasy is a powerful component of attraction. If your interest has remained steady or increased after getting to know someone well, it can be a good thing to indulge in a bit of fantasy.


The best thing about fantasy is that it remains in your head. Unless you allow yourself to get too caught up in it, it has no effect on the real world, and you are free to indulge as you like. This can be an incredibly freeing feeling, especially after living under the strain and pressures of separation. It's a mindful way to handle dating after a divorce, similar to meditation.


Indulging in some fantasy may not affect the relationship directly, but it can create the slow burn you've been trying to create in your romance. Fantasizing will likely increase the sexual and romantic tension, making the moments when you are together even more powerful and meaningful.


Don't Lay Claim to The Other Person.


The natural reaction to meeting someone you really like is to latch onto them and make them yours. It can be pretty tempting to look for someone you think will pull you out of the relationship problems you have experienced lately and make you feel loved and whole again. But this is not a mindful approach to dating, especially after going through a divorce.


The reality is that you don't own a person any more than a person owns you. Anyone you love is their own person, and if the desire for a relationship is where it needs to be felt by both parties. If either of you behaves otherwise, the relationship will get toxic fast.


When you both deeply love, appreciate, and understand each other, it's one of the most amazing feelings you can experience. This is what makes a mutual, adoring relationship so wonderful when you can find one. The end goal is for both of you to want to be together in a long-term relationship, but until you get to that point, temper your expectations, and attempt to take dating lightly.


It's About Building


Strong relationships don't just materialize out of thin air. You must take the time to build, develop and grow them as you would close friendships. This is, of course, contrary to a perfect love at first sight relationship that burns as bright as the sun. But it's the right way to go about mindful dating to create a slow-burn love that lasts.


It's often a good idea to savor and preserve some mystery as you build your relationship with someone new. While it's often easy to look up things about someone online in the modern age, try and refrain from doing so. This lets you take the relationship slow and builds appeal over time rather than learning everything right from the start.


It's important to remember that keeping a little bit of mystery surrounding a new date isn't the same as intentionally withholding secrets, which isn't healthy in any relationship. With mystery, no one conceals anything, and you know the essential facts. The sexiness comes in the nuances and details that make someone who they are. As they say, life is about creating yourself, and the same is true for mindful dating.


Focus On the Present


It is all too easy to focus on the future you imagine you will have with your new partner, but right now, it's more important to turn your attention to the present.


When you focus on and imagine the future with someone else, that creates enormous pressure that leads to disappointment when what you want doesn't come to pass. If you aren't happy with the relationship in the present, you might practice avoidance by looking to the future instead. This isn't healthy, and you need to take the relationship for what it is now.


Instead, enjoy this stage of the relationship. Savor it while you can. If things are going well, it can even create more sexy anticipation as you wonder what the relationship will have in store for you next.


At the end of the day, a slow, sexy burn is often better in the long run than a passionate, flaming romance. Taking it slowly often creates a more meaningful and lasting relationship that is just as intense in its own way. Be mindful as your date, practice good communication with your partner, and trust your gut. You will surely find love again that is just as passionate and far healthier.


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Jolisa Webb, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Jolisa Webb is a CDC Certified Divorce Coach ® and the owner of Beauty in the Midst, LLC, a woman and Veteran-owned small business company. Beauty in the Midst DBA Divorce Coach Confidante is rooted in healing presence and holistic, action- and outcome-focused philosophies.


As a divorced mother, a retired and highly decorated Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, and an executive leader, she knows first-hand what the divorce experience can feel like both personally and professionally. With a career spanning the globe, Jolisa has over 30 years of executive, analytical, and leadership expertise in strategic human resources management, with demonstrated success in command and control, communications, information management, personnel, training, protocol, and military equal opportunity.


As a result of her own lessons learned, she became a divorce coach to help female Veterans and other professional women who might be thinking about divorce, in the midst of a divorce, or struggling to move on in the aftermath of a divorce. Jolisa understands how lonely and overwhelming the divorce process can be no matter how intelligent, accomplished, strong and beautiful a woman is. No matter where they are in the divorce process, her Signature Packages are designed to help her clients think and make decisions in a way that honors their truth.


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