You’ve made it. You’re through your divorce. You’ve come out on the other side. Started dating and met someone AMAZING. Congratulations. You’ve made it official: you’re in a relationship.
But maybe you’re noticing that this relationship feels a little different than you imagined it would.
Once I divorced, met someone and started a serious relationship, I imagined that this relationship would feel just like my past relationships had. You know, a mixture of happiness, intrigue, newness.
Surprise. Once you’ve been divorced, relationships are way different.
Why? A couple of reasons.
You might not realize it but you’ve probably built a wall. Just like China built a wall to keep out invading Mongols, you’ve built up a wall of your own sort to protect you from invaders of another sort. Men. Men who might do you harm, who might inflict emotional injuries by making you feel vulnerable. Defenses aren’t wrong. Boundaries and taking care of yourself is good, but it does create potential issues if you are starting a new romance.
If you’ve gotten this far in life, you’ve got scars. Childbirth, appendectomies, falls off your bike when you were 5, run-ins with curling irons from the 80’s, we’ve all got our scars. And if you’ve been through a failed marriage, you’ve got emotional scars too. Not as visible as a 4 inch slash across your abdomen but way more powerful. Scars can be reminders of where we’ve been and why we left. Your emotional scars only mean that you’ve been injured and are stronger in those places that healed. Scars are there to remind you, you are stronger than before.
Where’s the carefree?
The giddiness of relationships is all good when you’re twenty and have no idea what can go wrong, but head down to the divorce court and you have in-depth knowledge of what can go wrong. You understand that relationships are not all sex with someone new and gazing into each other’s eyes. After a failed marriage, you realize relationships are serious. Even when you don’t want them to be. You know in your gut, in your mind and body what a breakup means. The hurt it inflicts. You can try to keep it all nice and light but those flashes of memories from the past keep reminding you that real, live, grown-up relationships are not all fun and games.
So if that new post-divorce relationship feels different, that’s to be expected. This relationship feels different because you are different. You are a different person who walked down that aisle so long ago. You are a different woman changed and recreated from all those things you’ve learned by surviving a divorce. Enjoy that person who’s so much smarter, wiser and in charge of her own emotions. A woman who looks out for herself. Enjoy this more evolved way of being in relationships, this is the new you.