One of the “issues” we have come across both personally and in conversations with hundreds of people is the subject of emotional availability. We all know of people (usually men…but not always) that, shortly after being divorced, will jump into another relationship and end up married very quickly. This sometimes happens with widowers also. Often times, these relationships don’t last because not enough time was taken to emotionally recover.
You have to give yourself time to heal from a past relationship. It’s okay to date, but you shouldn’t jump into a serious relationship. The time needed to heal and regain your emotional footing varies from person to person. As a general rule, you should not consider getting into a serious relationship for at least a year after the end of a long-term relationship or divorce. The healing time for widows/widowers is usually 3 to 5 years.
Infatuation blinds us to some of the realities of a new relationship. Months after we have committed to a long-term relationship (or even marriage), we “awaken” from the infatuation and wonder “What the heck have I done?” We have to learn to periodically step out of infatuation to be able to take a serious look at the relationship we are in. If it doesn’t look or feel right, it probably isn’t. If you aren’t sure, ask your family or closest friends for their input. They will usually see relationship issues that you cannot or choose not to see.
How do I know if I’m emotionally available? Great question; glad you asked! There are many clues or queues that can indicate you are ready to move on to a new relationship. First and foremost, you are over your ex. They no longer consume a significant part of your conscious thought. They are not a continuous topic of your discussions. Your emotions are neutral in regard to your ex. The mere mention of their name doesn’t send you into orbit around a planet in another galaxy! You are comfortable with yourself and it is okay to be alone. If you are widowed, you no longer wear your wedding ring. You have gotten rid of you spouses belongings. Your late spouse is not the subject of most of your thoughts and conversations. You are not comparing your late spouse to anyone you date. These are but a few of the major indicators that you may be ready to move on. There will also come a point in time when it just feels right to date again.
It is a process to get to the point that you are ready to date seriously. Don’t rush it. Don’t force it. The right time will come. In the mean time, enjoy the journey and enjoy the people you meet along the way.