First off, thank you to all of you who wrote me in response to my dating after divorce post! I was excited to do a Q&A with what you were all interested in knowing. I’ve said this before, but I do feel like I shy away from talking about the stage of dating and remarriage out of sensitivity for my readers who are still in a place of grieving and healing. However, I do want to share the amazing hope I have lived through in starting over after all of the pain.
I picked the top three questions I saw the most from those of you who wrote in and gave my best response. This is what I did and what helped me. As with everything divorce related, there is no real perfect answer for every situation, so keep that in mind when you’re reading my responses.
Question One: How soon did you start dating after your divorce? When were you ready? The legal process of our divorce took a year and a half. Not because there was some dramatic court battle, but because we went the budget-friendly route with mediators and in my opinion, they just took their time. But I digress, in addition to this year and a half of the legal process was a year prior of an on and (mostly) off time of separation and “working” on the marriage. So, that put us at two and a half years of the craziness before the divorce was legally final. My own personal conviction about this matter was that I was not going down any dating road until I got that official D notice. Call me crazy, but, I am a firm believer in it’s not over until it’s over. Aside from that belief, I had a lot to sift through on my own. I needed to heal. I needed to get back to myself. I needed my confidence and worth back before I even entertained letting someone else in. In hindsight, I am SO thankful for that long stretch. Was it easy? Absolutely not. But that time is why when I met my now husband I was ready to dive in without the crazy baggage weighing me down. I met my now husband three months after my divorce was final. And because I stayed so obnoxiously single through the two years prior I was whole and ready for a new relationship. There is no magic answer for this. Wait until things are really over and wait until you are back to the person you are proud to share with someone else. And surely don’t settle for meh dating. Wait until someone quality comes along and then take the dating plunge.
Question Two: When did you know he was “the one”? Call me cynical, but I don’t believe in “the one” idea. When we started dating I was not guarded to the point where I would back away in an unhealthy way, but I was hyperaware. I observed his character. Was there anything shady about him? How did he react when he was angry? Was his faith real? Did he have a temper? How did he treat strangers? What did his friendships look like? How was he with his family? I was ready for the red flags. As months went on and I didn’t see the red flags I was looking for, I started thinking about the amazing qualities he did have and how they would pan out in a marriage. I kept my mind and heart in that place … this man has the qualities of those I would want in a husband As things organically progressed it became more and more clear that we were both in it for marriage. There was no real aha moment, but a lot of careful time and consideration. We dated for eleven intentional months before getting engaged. Then, six months later we were married. If nothing else, don’t settle. My husband is the most amazing man. He puts our love first, puts our family first, and ALWAYS thinks I am the hottest girl in the room. My best advice for if you’re in the dating game is keep your eyes wide open for the red flags and just observe the heck out of his character. Remove the rose-colored glasses for good and take it all one day at a time.
Question Three: What reservations did you have about getting remarried? And what triggers from the past have spilled into your new marriage? I did not have any reservations about getting remarried because through our dating relationship I became fully confident in the man I was marrying. I was cautious in getting to know him and by the time marriage was on the table, there were no reservations. Sadly, in the back of my mind, I did think, “anything can happen.” I didn’t go into my first marriage ever in a million years thinking it would end the way it did. But it did. So, why was this one different? Well, again, that goes back to careful observations of character and being hyperaware of any red flags in sight. As time has gone on, I don’t think this way anymore. I don’t have the doubts of anything could happen. Time and natural progression have helped this.
For me, in the beginning, the hardest part was the idea of having another wedding. I know that sounds SUPER shallow. I already had a big ol wedding and my pride was like, “Nope!” to another one. Well, thank the good Lord, I got over that. How selfish to not celebrate this union and love. Annnnnd my husband had not been married before. So, I was going to rob him of this celebration because of my dumb pride. I am SO thankful I got over that. Our wedding was the best! And there was so much to celebrate I could cry just thinking about it.
The less fun parts of remarriage are the triggers that come from the past. They will happen from time to time because of what you’ve gone through. However, the right man will just reassure the heck out of whatever the trigger brings to surface. And then it’s your job to trust in this new love as different from the last one. Give yourself that gift. There’s no reason to let your past ruin your future. Talk yourself out of those dark places and find the guy who will reassure you till he’s blue in the face.
Again, thank YOU for writing in with your questions. I did get some questions about when I brought my daughter into the mix. I will address this, but there was so much to say, I wanted it to be an entirely separate post. I pray my answers were helpful to you and if you’d like any further answers, please don’t hesitate to ask! I love sharing my story in hopes of helping yours.