When I asked my current guest, Rhoda what was the most significant lesson she’d learned from her divorce she said, “…that I don’t need a man to be happy.” It seems such a simple answer yet it speaks to something I think many of us struggle with living in this very coupled culture. Here’s Rhoda:
Probably the biggest thing I’ve learned is that I don’t have to have a man to be happy. It took me a long time to get to that point and it’s not to say that I wouldn’t want to go out and date and fall in love again. That would be nice but at this point I am really not counting on that happening.
Whether or not I ever get married again, I am determined that I am going to be happy no matter what. My life is full and I am very content and happy right now. That’s with or without a man … I don’t have to have a man.
I think when you’ve been hurt as many times as I have been hurt in marriage, it is just one of those conclusions you come to. You say, “Maybe this is just not meant to be.”
I don’t have any expectation of falling in love and finding somebody again. Maybe it will happen, I don’t know that. I have not even gone out and started looking or dating ‘cause I just got so many other things going on in my life that is not a part of my life right now.
That’s not to say that I am not going to want to go out again as a single person in my 50’s and date. I hope I do. I just don’t have a lot of expectation that there’s a lot of quality single men out there. That is one of the things that I have to accept myself whether it happens again or not. I have to accept that I’ll be ok, that I do not have to have a man to be happy.
Twenty or thirty years ago it was more the norm for everybody to be married. But, now with so much divorce going on in our country, I think it is much more acceptable now to be single. I don’t feel like it is such a stigma anymore to be a single person cause there are so many people in and out of marriages these days. Unfortunately, that is just the way it is.
I’m just glad I’m on the other side of my divorce now. It was a hard, hard lesson but I think I’ve learned it. I love what I’m doing now. I love all the things that I get to do and where I get to go. It’s great. If one of these days I meet another man, maybe I’d be ready for a really good relationship finally. Maybe. I’ve just picked so badly in the past, I don’t ever want to get myself into the position where I pick badly again.
We all go through that, “Why did I pick that person?” mode.
The Divorce Coach Says
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked myself that question! I also hear and read responses like, “Don’t be too hard on yourself,” or “It is what it is,” or “You did what you thought was right at the time,” and of course, “Well if you didn’t choose him you wouldn’t have your children.”
Those are all good responses for getting to acceptance of the situation yet if you want to avoid choosing the same type of partner again, I would urge you to stay with that question. Look back over all the significant relationships you’ve had in the past … even the ones from twenty years ago before you were married. What was it about that person that attracted you? What was it about you that made you want to be with him? How did the relationship end? Why did it end? Is there a pattern to this?
When I did this, I was struck by the similar characteristics between my husband and my father that I hadn’t seen before and my own pattern of conflict avoidance. It isn’t an easy exercise to go through because it isn’t effective unless you’re prepared to be completely honest with yourself. That’s also why it’s helpful to work through it with a coach or a mentor who is non-judgmental. As challenging as it is, it’s definitely worth doing before you start dating again.
Rhoda writes the fantastic blog Southern Hospitality which is all about home decorating. She’s been blogging about renovating the fixer-upper she purchased after her divorce – it’s loaded with design ideas, how-to’s and the amazing support she gets from her parents. Well worth the time to visit …
Photo credit: © 2012 Jupiter Images Corporation