Have you heard of something called the 4 to 1 rule? Apparently, for every four years that you were married, you should give yourself one year to emotionally recover before you move on to a new relationship. I was married for four years, so I should have been okay to date after one year. I definitely was not. I agree with that in some cases, but different factors can also impact on the length of time that you take to recover from a failed marriage. I did definitely go on dates with a number of men but I definitely wasn’t ready to begin dating just one man. I believed I needed to rebuild myself completely before entering into something serious with someone else. If you take this time to “fix” yourself and your heart, before you get into a new relationship, then you can rediscover your priorities and what truly makes you happy. So, then you can go into a new relationship (eventually) in a healed and healthy space.
Bear in mind that there are also negatives to waiting too long before dating again. What you don’t want to happen is that you get so comfortable in your own space and in your own company that you simply no longer see the purpose of tying yourself to another person, and you don’t see the reason to ever have to consider someone else (other than your children) before you make any of your choices again. You really don’t want to become so far removed from dating that you start to get cold feet thinking about it. That can happen! You don’t want to consciously take dating off the cards entirely because of fear, doubt and a lack of confidence. No! Don’t let it happen. Dating is fun! If you get to a point where you decide that you simply don’t have the time for someone in your life, then it’s possible that you have already started the ‘shut-down’ process. This marks defeat, (view it any way you want to but it’s defeat) when you simply give up on finding a new partner and start to make excuses for why you’re better off alone.
Perhaps you’ve kept yourself so busy that you’ve convinced yourself that someone simply sitting next to you on the couch in the evenings would be an inconvenience. Really? But how? When this starts to become your mindset, chances are, you’re getting stuck in your singleton ways and it’s time for some friends to intervene and find you a date – immediately. A quick coffee date will simply help you to get out of your rut. And from that first date, you can build.
The emotional damage that can take place during a divorce can leave you with a major trust problem. We can begin to paint all men with the same brush, but let’s be honest, that’s not fair! There are so many good guys out there and look, nobody is perfect but just to make the quest for the PPDG (perfect post divorce guy) that little bit easier, I’ve put together a list of the men that we simply must avoid. Just trust me, success will come when we use the process of elimination. That’s how we find the right one, otherwise known as Mr Dreamy McDreamboat.
Here are the men that we need to stay clear of :
The I-hate-my-ex guy
This one may be with you in the hope of bonding over hate-filled conversations about your ex-partners. Beware, anyone filled with that much hate towards their ex is still harbouring a lot of unresolved emotions. It’s very hard to move on with someone who’s still very much caught in the memories of a failed relationship. Just throw him a line to start a conversation about his ex and watch the venom start spitting. It’s negative company and we already know misery loves company. This guy will only drag you down. Also can you imagine what he will say about you if you ever break up, if you already see how badly he speaks about his ex?
The toy boy
This guy leads you to believe that he’s always been attracted to older women. Does this sound familiar? “Babes you know, we just connect on a really mature level, I’ve never had that with any of the girls I usually date” (Chances are high that he’s still checking out 21 year olds on social media when you’re not around). Oh and what about those guys that secretly DM you – “sorry but I just had to send you a message to tell you that you’re so beautiful, I’m not some weird stalker but I hope you have a great day ” – blushing emoji, flowers emoji, heart emoji. Meanwhile his profile picture is a photo of him with his girlfriend. What the heck is wrong with guys? I swear, I laugh now! Anyway, again I digress. Yes, the toy-boy! Be careful that you’re not just the older experienced-in-bed woman who pays for all the dates. Good old Mrs Money-Bags. That’s fine if you’re JLo or Madonna, but Jlo and Madonna can find another toy-boy within 5 minutes of ending a relationship with their first toy-boy. They have toy-boy conveyer belts running through their homes. You don’t want to end up falling for this guy who still has so much growing up to do. It will end in disappointment.
This man comes in on the back of a winged horse, with slick hair and smooth pick-up lines. It’s just too much! It’s boarder line uncomfortable when you witness it first but you’ll engage just because you’re still trying to decide if he’s sexy? or creepy?! He’s Christian Grey on speed. He likes to date, and he loves women who are too vulnerable to spot that he’s a player. He thrives on constantly gaining female admirers. He collects them. Like trophies, yes, vagina trophies. Just remember, however he got your attention – it’s generally with some prolonged intense eye contact while nobody is watching or a slightly obvious touch of the shoulder or the neck as he passes you. Ugh this guy! Again I’ll say it, he’s just too much. But alas, yes, us women , when feeling naughty enough, are suckers for this guy. Shame! Obviously you’re already aware that he’s probably practising those skills on a different woman every single week. The rest of the book will write itself. Cheating, hurt, tears, broken heart, lesson learned! Finally!
The divorced guy
This guy is still best friends with his ex and does everything for her, jumping at her beck and call. No, he’s not the most forgiving man in the world. Maybe he’s Christian? Maybe! But I remain a sceptic. Read between the lines: He’s still in love with her! If she would take him back tomorrow, then you, my little divorcee darling, will be chopped liver. A “big liability” is what this guy is. Ok you can argue that it’s the sign of maturity to be able to remain friends with an ex after divorce. I agree. Obviously it absolutely is, and obviously it is crucial when you are co parenting. I’m saying that there’s a fine line between him being very close friends with his ex partner, and him possibly showing signs of being obsessed with his ex partner. It’s up to you to be intuitive right from the get go. I guess you’ve got to see what you personally, are comfortable with.
This is the most important one of all to avoid. After just fixing yourself and getting your life back on track, you do not want to start a relationship with this man. He is the deadliest and the largest emotional and psychological threat to you. A narcissist will make you feel like a queen in the beginning. “Hand me my crown and my giant emeralds, and send in the jester, I feel like a giggle”. Every move initially, will be to ensure that he “gets” you, you may feel as though you’ve been blessed. It never lasts. It’s all part of the “game”. Narcissists are generally calculated and manipulative. They will come with a strategy! Unless you spot the signs early and run, then you better prepare yourself for another rollercoaster relationship. The narcissist has so many psychological issues as a result of his ego that you will never change this guy. RUN, Forest! RUN!
Avoiding all of these types of men is crucial. (What? Isn’t that all men, period? Yes, I’ve just about warned you off every man, didn’t I?) If you allow any of these types of men into your life, all of the work that you will have done to rebuild yourself after your divorce could be undone within months. Hold out for a good one. They’re definitely out there. Have fun, but my dear “be smart with your heart”.