Magazine article Psychology Today

Unconventional Wisdom

Magazine article Psychology Today

Unconventional Wisdom

Article excerpt

DATING AFTER DIVORCE

I've been divorced for three years and have two boys ages 5 and 9. After a bad one-year on/off relationship, I've been pushing men away. At first I was angry, but now, even though I feel ready to date, I'm unintentionally rude and critical to new peoplB who show interest. When I try tD be nice, I feel awkward. I have forgotten how to flirt! I feel guilty for even considering a new relationship because my kids don't want me to date at all. I feel my focus should be even more on them, and I'm torn. I don't get out much, but I would like to feel willing to accept a new opportunity if it presented itself. How do I stop pushing men away?

Start by pulling yourself together and managing your conflicted feelings. Flirting is one of life's great skills and pleasures. It's worth regaining the ability, which operates on playfulness, the very thing that anger robs. If for no other reason, it's time to ditch the anger. But of course, there are plenty of other reasons. It's not clear whether you're angry at your last lover for not fulfilling your dreams (especially after your divorce) or at your kids for not wanting you to date. No matter-the romance is history that anger can't rewrite, and your relationship with your kids needs boundaries, not furies.

What makes a person ready for a new relationship is examining and accepting his or her role in the liaison that went bad; it really does take two. Devote a little time now to thinking about why you got into an unhappy relationship or allowed it to continue-kick yourself once, if you must-and figure out what you will do differently next time. Now you have something to put into practice, something to propel you forward. Even the worst relationships aren't a complete waste if you at least salvage some life lessons from them.

You have every right in the world to date-as long as you're meeting your children's needs. …

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