It’s common advice –
The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.
And in many ways, this suggestion makes sense. After all, what better way to remind yourself that the one you lost is not the only one than to sample what is available? At the same time, like any advice, this strategy may not be right for you and could even compromise your healing process after divorce or a breakup.
Here’s what you may want to consider before following this advice:
The Pros of Getting Under Someone Else:
Reminds You That There is Life After Divorce
Divorce has an impressive talent for being all-consuming. It expands to fill every nook and crevice in your life, displacing many things that once brought you happiness or peace. The excitement and passion of a no-strings-attached encounter can remind you that a whole world of possibility still exists as your numbed and deadened tissues are sparked into life.
Makes You Feel Desirable
Especially if you were rejected, you may be feeling unlovable and undesirable. So when somebody suddenly wants you, it’s intoxicating. The experience can help you begin to see yourself in a new light – not as a broken and hurting person, but as a whole and appealing person.
Provides an Outlet for the Excess Energy
Divorce often results in a period of almost manic energy. It’s a mania frequently characterized by a need for action and compulsive thoughts and actions. A fling offers a welcome outlet for this energy, both physical and mental.
Acts as a Distraction
Much of the divorce process is positively soul-draining. It manages to be both scary and tedious as it drags on while threatening to take what little you have left. And there’s nothing like a little dalliance to take your mind off the latest email from the attorney or the fact that your ex is ignoring the divorce decree.
The Cons of Getting Under Someone Else:
Can Leave You Feeling Emptier and Lonelier
For a split section, all feels right with the world. You’re snuggling up against your fling, relaxed and happy. And then either they say something or you think something that causes you to remember that for all intents and purposes, they are a stranger. And sometimes that realization makes you feel more alone than if you had the entire bed to yourself.
May Lead to Guilt or Shame if Not Aligned to Values
Sometimes the sudden freedom and mania combine after divorce to make people do things they would never do under normal circumstances. Of course, these are not normal circumstances. On its own, this is not a problem. But if your actions do not align with your beliefs or values, you may be setting yourself up for a major guilt case of guilt or shame.
Healing Can Be Delayed or Confused
Healing is hard work. And for the most part, healing is an inside job. When all of your energy is focused outward, you may not have enough energy or willpower to do the real work of healing. Additionally, the initial high of a fling can lead you to believe that the solution to your heartbreak is found with another person. This often leads to a leapfrogging pattern, where you leap from one temporary relief to another.
You May End Up in Awkward or Even Dangerous Situations
After divorce or a breakup, your brain isn’t working very well. You may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors since you feel like you have nothing to lose. Furthermore, you may find that you’re inadvertently attracting people that are looking to use you or that become too attached too quickly. You’re vulnerable right now and that can lead to ending up in situations that get you in over your head.
All of that being said, do what’s right for you. And feel free to change your mind about what’s right at any moment. When it comes to life after divorce, few of us follow a rational and straight path as we leave the marriage and reenter the world. More often, we stumble around and end up making some poor decisions before we find what feels right.
And there’s no shame in those mistakes and missteps. You’re learning.
If you decide that getting under someone else is not the right move for you right now, but you’re still looking for an outlet for that energy that will also help to give your purpose and confidence, here’s my favorite strategy.