Finding Love Again

When we are young and our hearts are relatively intact, love seems to be an easy endeavor. Potential partners are everywhere and the possibilities seem endless. As we get older (or, as I prefer to think of it, wiser), love no longer seems so simple. We are more aware of the pitfalls and are more critical of potential partners. Our hearts are laced with cracks and we fear any other breakages. We become more accustomed to our ways and less likely to want to change them.

Finding love again is possible but it takes a different approach than before. First, you have to be ready to allow yourself to love again. This means choosing to move through the fear of being vulnerable again, to release the trepidation of another broken heart. Since life isn’t a romantic comedy, simply welcoming love is not sufficient to make that special person appear; you have to be an active participant in life and engage in opportunities that will allow you to meet people. Once you find that connection, it needs to be nurtured. It will take deliberate action to create the relationship that you want. I have found that this is an ongoing cycle: I continually have to work to allow myself to be open and to not let fear close me in. I am always actively seeking the love I want (now within the context of a relationship instead of on the dating scene 🙂 ); I hold a vision of what I want. And, finally, I am consciously working to create and maintain the vision.

I’m often told that I’m lucky to have found love again. Sure, there is an element of serendipity but there is also quite a bit of choice and deliberate action.

I screwed a lot of things up on the way to love. I had a tendency to act married immediately upon meeting someone (what can I say, I knew how to be married, but I had no idea how to date!). I looked to men for escape or validation. I confused dates with old friends, looking to them for emotional support. I walled myself off, using my strength and survival skills to keep men at arm’s length. I didn’t always listen to my gut. I let my anger get the best of me. I dated before I had fully dissected my role in the end of my marriage. I overlooked certain things that I probably shouldn’t have. I hurt feelings carelessly and I failed to listen to advice (that damn defensiveness!).

But I also did a lot of things right. I saw dating as practice and I made sure to get plenty of it. I was patient with myself and others. I said “yes” more than I said “no,” and, as a result, I opened myself up to new people and experiences. I made time to play and I didn’t take myself or dating too seriously. I may have been angry with my ex, but I never transferred that animosity to all that carry the XY chromosome. I didn’t let my natural introverted nature keep me inside, buried in a book.  I approached everything as a learning experience and I allowed myself to be open to change. After some false starts, I accepted the value of baby-steps and taking a relationship as it comes.

Here’s what I learned from my journey to love again. Maybe this list can save you from some of my mistakes 🙂

Intention: Know what you want. Have a mental vision board. If something or someone doesn’t fit, it may be best to let them go.

Step Out: Step out of your comfort zone. Step outside. Step out of your routine. Step out of your normal group.

Acknowledge: Accept your fear. Your doubt. Your hesitations. Acknowledge them but don’t let them control you.

Practice: You won’t get it right at first. No one does. Try again.

Patience: Be gentle with yourself. And others. Most people are doing the best they can in that moment. Be patient in your search. Enjoy the journey.

Openness: Say “yes.” Remove barriers. Explore new ideas and new experiences. Withhold judgment. Replace it with reflection.

Forgiveness: Forgive yourself. You are not damaged goods. You are whole and okay as you are. You are worthy of love.

Levity: Have fun. Laugh. Everything is better with a smile.

Effort: Love isn’t passive. You have to be willing to be an active participant and to make an effort.

Listen: It’s amazing what you can learn.

Grow: Let your successes and not-quite-successes fuel your development.  

Love is worth it. Allow it in, seek it out and create it in your own life.

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22 thoughts on “Finding Love Again

  1. I’m going to print this out for future reference but I have to be honest, at this time, it seems like a pipe dream to me. My fear, my anger, my contempt, my wall are all that’s protecting me. Nothing and no one else.

    Damaged goods? Beyond repair. How can I inflict this level of shit on someone else? That would make me as cruel and selfish as her. I have loved deeply, passionately and it has been thrown to the ground, worthless. Twice! Why on earth would I put myself out there like that again?

    I have given my absolute best, and it hasn’t been good enough. I don’t know how to give anymore.

    1. It sounds like the anger (justified, understandable and yet damaging) has to be addressed before you’re ready to date. I had to do the same thing.

      I guess it comes down to choice. I felt much like you do. I decided I didn’t want to feel that way anymore. I saw it as letting him win, letting him choose how my life would be. And that thought pissed me off enough to do the work to let go of the anger and paralyzing fear.

      I think of my algebra students. I am asking them to do hard things. They often try and fail. Sometimes, they throw their pencils across the room in frustration. I convince them it’s worth another try. Eventually, they get it. It takes some longer than others, but by the end of the year, they’re all there. And for those that had to try the hardest, the success, so hard won, is even sweeter.

  2. I would have to agree in the idea that some of these concepts, at this moment in my life, seem extremely abstract. But I am so grateful to know that the work it takes to rebuild the framework of life is not a futile endeavor!!
    Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s heart warming and inspiring to know that the shell of a life today is merely the beginning of something beautiful. Knowing that happiness is to be aquired through effort and vision affords personal responsibility for success. I commend you for the blueprints you’ve shared.

  3. I love this, it’s such positive and wise advise. My experience of finding love again was very different. I set an intention and he came into my life like a miracle, the first man I dated after healing from the divorce, we’ve been together early 2 years now.

    He has asked me before if I regret not “playing the field” before getting into a relationship but I don’t. I totally understand what you mean by knowing how to be married but not how to date. I must admit that I was afraid of the whole dating scene and of getting my heart broken, but I was also equally convinced that if I healed my own issues and set an intention for the love I wanted, then I would receive that, and I did. And you are also right about the serendipity involved – circumstances lined up perfectly for us to meet!

    The relationship has been tested though, we split for a while but it only served to make us both realise how right it was to be together. I too really want anyone going through the hell of divorce, break-up and feeling like they will never be happy or find love again to know that it really is possible and not a fairytale fantasy.

    Thanks again for sharing, I am going to share this on my blog and fb page as I think it’s really helpful.
    Marissa xx

  4. Hey thanks for the follow- 🙂 I’m right there with you except I never really acted married because I was the runaway bride and now that I’m divorced I kept saying I should have definitely run from that one- but have finally found one that I am more than positive I don’t want to run from. Hopefully right? 😉

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