I’ve had a rash of emails in the past month or so from widowers that soon after their wife passed away are on the hunt for a new relationship.
They are adamant about finding a replacement wife. In the very next breath, they complain about not being able to find a good woman to even talk to.
When I’ve tried to reason with them and lay out the grieving and healing process, what they can expect, and how to avoid additional heartache, they dig their heels in deeper.
They have excuses that because of age, they don’t have time to waste. They talk about the huge hole in their heart that has to be filled and because of that, they are willing to settle for far less than a great relationship.
Serial monogamists suffer the same fate.
For those of you that may not recognize the term “serial monogamist”, it’s someone that jumps from one long-term relationship to another. Like the gentlemen I just mentioned, they don’t take time to grieve, heal, and grow from the lessons of the last relationship.
What makes dating a serial monogamist even harder is that they’re carrying the baggage of their past several relationships into each successive relationship.
What all these people are trying to do is a form of self-medication. They believe that if they just have someone new in their life, they’ll be happy again. And therein lies the problem.
It’s those that rush out to find a new spouse or mate that become dating pariahs. They give dating a black eye because they aren’t emotionally ready to fully give themselves to a new relationship.
To steal a phrase, happiness is an inside job.
No one can make you happy. The best anyone can do is to enhance the happiness you already have on the inside.
When a relationship ends it takes time, and sometimes a lot of it, to find your happiness again. You have to take time to peel back the layers of your personality to find the real you. Over time we all make changes to accommodate the relationship or marriage.
When you find yourself single again, you may not even know who you are or what you like because so much of your life has been a compromise.
It’s a process of accepting the loss of a relationship and then moving forward with your life.
This is a natural process. In most cases it can help to join a grief recovery group to help you understand what is about to happen to you emotionally. There’s no shame here.
We’ve all had hard break-ups so most of us understand how much it hurts. Widows and widowers have a special hurt to deal with. What makes it even harder is when friends and family push them to find someone new. After all, they just want you to be happy.
Many of you recognize that this is a process that takes time and nothing can make it move any faster.
However, you can slow the healing process down or totally repress it by jumping back into a relationship too soon. Then your problems compound. You’re carrying all your unresolved issues from your past into your new relationship.
Now you’re involving another person that is usually an innocent bystander. Your emotional ill-health will have an adverse effect on them.
No emotionally healthy person wants to inflict emotional harm on another. Yet, this is exactly what so many people do when they find themselves in a relationship too soon after their marriage has ended.
We often times call them rebound relationships. Have you ever been someone’s rebound? There’s rarely a happy ending for rebounders…it’s more like crash and burn.
Take your time.
Yes, being alone sucks. Yes, we all desire to be in a relationship. And no, being patient isn’t fun especially when you can’t see the bigger picture. That only comes when you’re able to look back and see what a wreck you were.
People can sense when you trying to date to fill a void. You become needy and it’s a huge red flag for most of the people you want to date. You will actually be driving the best people away and not even recognize what’s happening.
It’s important to get yourself to the point of being comfortable with your own company. When this happens, you become a much more attractive person to date.
As you work your way through any issues from your past, you’ll have the opportunity to get clear about what’s really important in your next relationship.
These two things alone, being comfortable with your own company and knowing what you want, will keep you from making less than ideal choices in the people you date.
I hope I’ve given you at least one new idea to make healthier dating and relationship decisions today.
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Have a great and blessed day.