During separation and divorce, many feel starved of companionship and intimacy as they emerge from lifeless or turbulent marriages. Given this scenario, it is natural to seek a new romantic partner during this time. Failed marriages leave a gap within, causing an aching loneliness that many long to soothe with the presence of someone else who brings them joy. New relationships need to be navigated with caution, discretion, self-awareness, and authentic communication in order to respect the needs and best interests of both partners.
First and foremost, it is important to take stock of the best primary relationship you can possibly have: the one with yourself. When looking solely to others as sources for filling our emptiness, we suck energy from them that leaves them depleted and distracts us from our own healing. Conversely, when refusing to reach out to others, we deny ourselves needed support, and leave others feeling shut out.
Ponder this instead: what if your need to be with another person came from a genuine curiosity in who he or she is, and an authentic desire to share the truest parts of yourself? This is love; it is a giving and receiving from a place of inner abundance. This is an honoring of the balance of unity and individuality that characterizes healthy relationships. Each partner takes responsibility for him or herself, and also partakes in the unique chemistry that they bring together.
How can you get to this life-giving place with yourself and others during separation and divorce? Like all worthy investments, it takes time. Think of yourself as a new stock in the market. With regular contributions of time, energy, attention and care, you will naturally grow, thrive, and increase in value.
What can you give to yourself that will invest in your ability to relate to yourself and others from a place of abundance? The answer is different for everyone, but here are some common themes: rest; exercise; nutrition; supportive friendships; new interests; therapy, coaching and self-care resources; a balance of time alone and with others; the allowance and willingness to endure uncomfortable emotions so they lose their power over you; and the courage to risk being “real” with those you trust so you know you are loved as you are.
Consider yourself a fragile bulb buried in the winter snow that needs to take in the nutrients of the soil and the thaw of the coming spring. There are no hothouses for true personal growth, just like there is not another partner who can completely fill you. We can only attract and recognize in others, and joyfully share with them, what we also own for ourselves.