He Said-She Said: Starting to Date Again
- Thursday, June 24, 2010
EDITOR'S NOTE: Each He Said-She Said column features a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness, please click here to submit (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: I have a question pertaining to the single life. I was married for twenty years to a Christian man. For the last five he had an affair with a woman who he claimed was just a friend; she was also married. My husband and she filed for their divorces at the same time. My husband was very deceitful and used both of us for a while and when I gave him an ultimatum, he finally chose her and her family. We were separated for four years off and on, and it was very emotionally abusive. I finished the divorce last year. I don't feel ready to date, but am finding that I am beginning to develop a negative view of men from past deceit and don't want to do that. How do you know when you are ready to start dating again after a traumatic long-term marriage has ended, and how does a godly man treat someone he dates? I have never dated before; it was straight out of high school and into marriage.
HE SAID: Having never been married, I cannot specifically address when a person is ready to start dating after a divorce (or an abusive relationship), however, I can speak from having had a long-term committed relationship break off. In either case, there is no set physical timeframe or guideline to work off of. Each situation is different and each person will be "ready" at various times.
As with any loss, personal or relational, there needs to be a time of emotional healing.
The process usually begins with you being honest with yourself, acknowledging the need for a time of healing and taking the time to heal. The hardest part of this "phase" is probably accepting the fact you were a part of something that didn't work—something that failed.
Our pride sometimes gets in the way of us believing we may have been wrong in our decision-making process, our assessment of the other individual, or of our own specific needs and desires for a mate.
We all want to be successful in everything we are a part of, whether it is a job, a venture, a sport, or a relationship. When those expectations are not met, we experience hurt and disappointment. We may feel deceived, wronged, disillusioned, frustrated, regretful, or a number of other things. In any case, it's alright and natural to feel that way.
The struggle is to not hold onto the blame we want to place on the other person (or ourselves). Granted, your ex-husband sounds as if he was completely responsible in this situation; however in every relationship it is rare for one person to be completely 100 percent at fault.
In any event, it is important for you to recognize and acknowledge these feelings along with the need to work through your loss.
If you are having a difficult time processing what you are going through, you may want to seek godly help in order to understand the pain and hurt you were caused. It is usually best to find an outsider who can look objectively at the situation rather than a close friend who may be too one-sided.
The most important and probably the more difficult barrier to cross prior to being ready to date is one of forgiveness.
I understand the fact you were hurt and abused by your ex-husband, however, until you can find it in your heart to forgive him, you probably won't be fully ready or able to enter into another relationship, or to trust another man.
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