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Dating After Divorce

As you are reentering the dating life you need to take an inventory of yourself. Look objectively at the lessons you have needed to learn about yourself and about love. We all have to learn these seven lessons on our path to self-realization:

Courage Ego
Tolerance Love of humanity
Self-protection Love of God
Self-love  

Many situations in our lives can be defined in one or more of these categories. Each of us learns these lessons in individual ways. As you take an inventory of your life and of your relationships, try to put events in the context of the relevant lessons:

  • It takes a great deal of courage to look at a situation in your life and say it is not working. When we do so we often are going against the grain of traditions our society holds dear. It is not easy to leave a marriage and to have the courage to give relationships another chance.
  • To have tolerance is not only to understand and accept the limitations of other people. It is also to give yourself a chance to grow without too much self-criticism. Do not feel stupid if you seem to keep choosing the same kind of man. It is just nature's way of sensitizing you to your own vulnerabilities. Just don't jump into marriage until you fully evaluate your choice. Time is the best way to test your judgment. Tolerance enables you to see your life in a bigger context. Every decision you make is just a part of your journey. Sometimes it is necessary to make bad decisions so that you have an opportunity to move on.
  • As a single mother you need to learn to protect yourself. You only have your better judgment to prevent you from making a choice that leads you in the wrong direction. I believe you will eventually get where you need to go but it may be the hard way. The more you learn to protect yourself the better your chances of not having to repeat difficult lessons.
  • Self-love is one of the most important lessons and is particularly apparent in matters of relationships. We often choose partners as a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. If I had had more self-esteem and had felt more worthy of love I never would have allowed myself to stay in such destructive relationships. In a way I am grateful to both of my previous marriages for intensely threatening my self-identity and thereby giving me a way to learn to love myself.

If you use these lessons to help you create an objective perspective of yourself you will see why you may be repeating certain lessons through your choice of mates. If you have a sense of what you are doing maybe you can stop it before it happens.

Red-Flagging Your Dates

You can also watch out for some obvious danger signals that you can spot by taking your time to get to know someone. The following scenarios should raise red flags all over the place:

  • If your date talks about himself and doesn't ask anything about you, this is not a good sign.
  • If your date belches at the table and shows other outward signs of being disgusting before you have even had a second date, expect more of the same.
  • If your date becomes sullen if you refuse to see the movie he has chosen, you can bet he is a manipulator.
  • If your date makes critical remarks about you, such as “You would look so much prettier with shorter hair,” run so fast he won't know what hit him.
  • If your date whines about the check at a restaurant on your first date or is rude to the waitress, think about how he would be at bill-paying time.
  • If your date talks about his mother more than to mention he has one, cross him off your list.
  • If you are attracted to your date but have to dig for things to talk about, think about how long it would take for you to go insane if the physical attraction wore off.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motherhood © 1999 by Deborah Levine Herman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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