When a divorce is done and over with, the next thing to do typically starts with meeting new people and dating. Not necessarily to find another marriage but to find intimacy, companionship, and friendship with the opposite sex. After all, everyone gets beat up in the face of the separation, negotiation, and fight. So knowing how to tell your new boyfriend about your recent divorce – without scaring him off is a big deal! Basically… if you mess it up, you’re in for more heartbreak.
When divorce is done and over with
Dating after divorce feels like a breath of fresh air to most people. (At least those still interested in intimacy, sex, friendship, and even children.) Most people want that soulmate even if they don’t want more. But we forget that going through a divorce is a real thing. It truly is life-changing. I call it a modern-day rite of passage. The memories and feelings don’t easily wash off with a hot shower. They linger like the smell of hot city streets when it hasn’t rained. You see the positive results of healing work when a divorcé has begun to put their life back together again.
Dating after divorce is risky.
You have to understand that without that personal growth, most dating just ends up in extended hook-ups, not lifetime soulmates. It doesn’t really matter what age you are. It’s just that sex feels a whole lot better than facing any sort of healing. Especially if you’re tired of therapy and trying to make your marriage work. (I’m talking about the self-assessment, the lifetime of relationship misunderstandings, the grief, the lifestyle changes few want to face or do.) But without doing the right kind of “work” as it’s usually called, another heartbreak or another divorce typically, inevitably, follow.
For the record can we all agree that breakups hurt? And that heartbreak is real? Can we agree on that? Because most people don’t want another heartbreak. Unfortunately, most people think they won’t be hurt by just dating. As opposed to marrying. Which is foolish and ignorant. You only ensure you won’t be heartbroken by not falling in love with someone else. Which means, no dating and ultimately, little to no sex.
Now that we understand that dating to find true love requires doing some healing (and focusing on the right kind of healing work for you) we can get on with the premise.
Know how to tell your new boyfriend about your recent divorce.
I was very young when I was first divorced. Most guys my age were just beginning to think seriously about finding a girl to commit to. So, I ended up dating all these divorced dads. (Which my mom hated!)
I had to own up to my behavior. My divorce story had to reflect on how I had made a big mistake. Those divorced dads loved my story because I told them I wasn’t interested in getting married again. But my mom was right… those relationships couldn’t go anywhere because I was too young to be a step-mom and forgo my own life goals. Never mind, there was more healing ahead of me.
As a divorced mom, years later, my story had to be told all over again. It was even harder this time! How to tell a guy that I had seen the signs but was too afraid to leave? That I had spent hours and hours in therapy trying to do the work of two people and fell short? Was he going to expect to have to take care of me financially? Was he wondering about the relationship between me and my children’s other parent?
No more could I hide behind a naive young girl’s mistake. It was time for me to own up to all of it. And to find out if this man, this new love, was going to stick around.
Everyone gets beat up in the face of the separation, negotiation, and fight.
Fortunately for me, I continued to date divorced dads. So inherently we both understood the process of separation: the lost love, the arguments or the lack of attention, the parting negotiation, the anger, the fighting, the costs. Fortunately, we could commiserate.
But commiserating wasn’t and has never been what I’ve wanted to do. (I’ve been doing my healing!) Commiserating only guarantees more heartbreak because both people stay stuck. I have always wanted the real deal.
Getting through the pain and healing of divorce takes a commitment and some tough work. You learn to own your part. The ugly, imperfect qualities you inhabited or expressed during the past relationship. You learn to face your preconceived misunderstandings about relationship and marriage, the opposite sex, and your role as spouse and parent.
How To Tell Your New Boyfriend About Your Recent Divorce — Without Scaring Him Off.
Through trial and error, I’ve learned, you start off on the right foot. You share your version of your truth. There’s no need (if you’ve done some healing) to share all the details. It’s much easier not to indulge the latest gossip or whining and complaining. When you show up with some graciousness and wisdom, it goes a long way to earning a guy’s trust.
I also refuse to trash talk my children’s father or a divorced dad’s ex-wife. Trash talking doesn’t get anyone anywhere close to a soulmate. You know this by now! If you’re trash-talking your ex, he’s thinking, he’ll be the next man being trashed by you. And if he’s bad-mouthing his ex and his kids, you know, it’s just a question of time before you’ll be the next woman he hates.
Creating intimacy, companionship, and friendship with the opposite sex.
Too many people leave a marriage filled with resentments and anger about their ex-spouse but transfer that anger and resentments onto other women or men.
If you’re still angry and processing the hurt, don’t expect to find the love of your life. Instead, socialize and then date to heal your experiences with the opposite sex. There are good people on this planet. Kind people. But until you’re feeling worthy of love and kindness, you won’t feel comfortable around good people.
You’ll be so caught up in not trusting anyone, that you won’t be able to be around people, men, who want to do good things for you. It’s an odd sensation. You want sex. Attention feels good but you don’t trust the guy next to you. And how could you? Afterall, going through a divorce is a real thing.
You can’t create a new love with resentments and anger.
So when you’re dating a new guy and you really, really like him, press pause for a minute. It’s time for some assessing. Can you talk about your ex without becoming hot and bothered? Have you made peace with your lifestyle adjustment? Are you standing on your own two feet again?
If you can’t answer these prompts with something positive, you’re not really ready to fall in love. Sure, you can use a man to heal. You can experience good sex, intimate conversations, learn to trust guys again, but you’ll scare him off if you share what’s really going on for you. He’ll think he can’t fill your bottomless pit.
All it means is that you’ve got more emotional healing work to do. (I’d be lying if I wrote anything else.)
When a guy comes to me and talks about the woman he’s crazy about but goes on and on about her pain – the pain he can’t help her heal – I remind him it’s not his job to heal a woman’s pain. It’s her job.
And it’s doable. If you interested in finding a soulmate (or just a partner and a father for your kids) then you owe it to yourself and to him to do your own work. Stop yourself before even thinking of using other people for the emotional growth you’re capable of doing on your own. Bring him your best self.
Telling your boyfriend about your recent divorce without scaring him off is a big deal!
Basically… if you mess it up, you’re in for more heartbreak. No man can do your healing for you. (And you can’t do his!) Your process is your responsibility. Most people want true intimacy and love. Most divorced dads want a woman to fill the hole in the family structure. They want kindness. You have to be able to trust them.
So when you go to tell your boyfriend about your divorce, do so with the wisdom you’ve gained from this modern-day rite of passage. Know who you are now away from the courtship, the fighting, and the divorce. Learn to trust your intuition and believe you’re worthy of true love. Why else be out there dating and worrying about telling your boyfriend about your recent divorce?
I firmly believe in the power of love.
I truly believe those leaving a divorce are looking for a soulmate (not just someone to hang out with). But I’ve also had to learn the hard way that there’s a real process to overcome the effects of a divorce. It takes real time and a commitment to find the healing for you.
When you do, you’ll be ready to tell your new boyfriend about your recent divorce and he’ll admire all you’ve learned. He’ll be able to trust you with his heart. He’ll know you’re capable of handling pressure and stress. You’ll impress him with your strength and your ability to love again. You’ll inspire him to want to be with you. And you won’t scare him off!
Laura Bonarrigo is a Certified Life Coach and a Certified Divorce Coach. Laura’s a writer, public speaker and the founder of doingDivorce™ School an online coaching program for those ready to shed the pain of divorce. For empowering and practical ways to lose the identity of your past, visit www.doingDivorceSchool.com and laurabonarrigo.com.