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Finding Love After Divorce

When I got married in my twenties I was so in love.  My stomach used to flip when I looked at him.  I could not stop smiling as my father walked me down the aisle to promise to love forever.

Ten years later I couldn’t believe when my husband looked me in the eye and told me he wasn’t willing to work on our failing marriage any longer.  At that moment I knew the two years of couples counseling, countless late night talks, and years of praying were not going to save my marriage.  It was the end.

Most of the people in my life supported me wholeheartedly.  Yet, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there were some well meaning friends and family that insisted on reminding me of the difficulties of a successful black woman finding love in her thirties.  Those fears led to the unspoken and sometimes spoken recommendation for me to just stick it out because at least I was married.  Clearly I disagreed.  The fact is the majority of black women ARE married. 

The latest reports indicate that 40% of marriages end in divorce.  The average lasts for 8 years consistently across racial lines.  The average age for women who divorce in their first marriage is 30. 

So the question for me and for many of my clients has been how do you find love when you have been on the merry-go round and it wasn’t all that fun?  Many women say to me, that when they were twenty-something it was easy to fall head over heals in love because they didn’t any better. 

But now the question lingers in the back of your head will you ever find love after divorce?

I wish I had a crystal ball to answer that question for every woman.  However, I know what has worked for me and many women in my life.  These are the actions that you can take to increase the likelihood of attracting love into your life. 

  1. Release the drama.

Divorce is never easy.  No matter how amicable, divorce is a result of a broken relationship.  The drama may not be Tyler Perry style but there was drama.  The most important step to attracting love in your life is to forgive your ex husband and yourself.  Yes, mistakes were made.  Yes, wounds were inflicted.  But hanging on to those hurts and anger will do nothing but keep you wrapped up in the very pain that should have ended in the divorce.  Say goodbye to bitterness, cynicism, and anger.  Say hello to your beauty, laughter, and feminine vulnerability. 

  1. Break the Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Ties. 

A few years after my divorce I realized that I still had my wedding ring, my wedding video, and my wedding pictures in my home.  They were not obviously visible but the truth is when we make vows with someone in front of God and our families we are tying ourselves to that person.  Those ties are spiritual, emotional, and physical.  It is important to recognize that just because you sign the divorce documents doesn’t mean you have truly broken the ties.  I made the decision to spend sometime alone with God and receive His forgiveness and his comfort.  I then broke my soul ties with my ex-husband.  I also got rid of many of the physical and emotional symbols of our marriage.  If you do this, it will free you up to now receive a new love.

  1. Seek help.

Divorce is major.  If you never sought out counseling after your divorce I would recommend doing so now.  I did one-on-one counseling for at least a year.  Through that process I was able to see where things went wrong, to identify the role I played, and frankly heal from the trauma.  Other options include support groups or a life coach.  A coach can help you to stay true to your journey towards healing and to learning from the divorce.  Just do something.

  1. Love Yourself.

So many successful women have never really learned to love themselves.  They may love things about themselves but not their whole selves…warts and all.  Self esteem is not the same as self love.  I did an entire post on self-love and I would recommend you read it if this is an area you want to learn more about.  But the bottom line is that you can’t receive love from or give love to another person without loving your self.

  1. Acknowledge that love looks different. 

It is important to note that love looks and feels differently at various stages of life.  In our twenties it is mainly fairy dust and sugar candy.  Now there are things to consider such as children, careers, former spouses, finances, blended families.  This is when it is important for you to be clear about what it is you desire in your future love.  What are the traits that are important to you?  How do you want your lives to look?  What are the deal breakers?  What are the must haves?  What are the can do withouts?  Is it still important to you that he look like Denzel? 

  1. Put yourself out there.

I am always fascinated when single women say there are no good men but refuse to put themselves in situations to meet them.  Burying yourself in your job or hiding in raising your children is not going to allow you to meet a new love.  You must first believe that there is love out there and to put yourself in the path of love.  After my divorce and before I met my current love I would recite to myself that there was a plethora of amazing men just waiting to fall in love with me.  Change your belief first. 

Then start a online dating profile and keep it open even though its been months without an eligible match.  Go have fun with your friends.  Do things at places where the type of person you would want to meet may be spending time.  Most of all drop the angry, bitter, woman scorned act and courageously allow yourself to be beautifully vulnerable.