In a conversation the other night, a lovely woman said that she couldn’t consider remarriage because she didn’t feel she deserved to be treated like she was special. It’s a common phenomenon when your self-esteem dives after divorce, though admitting it to oneself can be hard.
I don’t usually talk in-depth about my current relationship, but that conversation prompted me to share with you how I came to realise that finding love again simply meant removing the emotional blocks which make us believe we can’t have new love after a painful break-up. I love my story, and hope you will too. It still fills me with gratitude and awe to have found someone so right for me after such miserable heartbreak. I hope it will inspire others to have faith, listen to their hearts, and let go of the past so that they are in a place where new love is both possible and inevitable.
So here it is…
Hard Work And Cosmic Ordering
About a year after my ex-husband left, I began divorce proceedings. It had been an intense time of grief, letting go and starting to move on with my life. It was January 2011, and with the ‘new year, fresh start’ as impetus, I knew I didn’t want to be married to him any longer than I had to.
I began to see that an important part of my future involved having someone to love and love me in return. I had no interest in dating for fun, my aim was to find true love. But despite my aversion to the dating game, I knew I had to start somewhere. I set in my mind an intention that I would go on a date in July of that year.
As the divorce proceedings ambled along, I was faced with further layers of grief to overcome, each part of the process releasing a bit more hurt and bringing up emotional issues to deal with.
The turning point
Somewhere in the midst of this, a book was brought to my attention entitled, “Calling in The One: 7 weeks to attract the love of your life” by Katherine Woodward Thomas. Despite the title, and the first impression from the front cover, the book was not 7 easy steps to bag a husband! It doesn’t teach you skills to be interesting, sexy or funny. In fact it was a book that takes a lot of courage to work through. It requires determination and a willingness to really look at yourself, and your beliefs around relationships. It is kind and encouraging, but also requires you to be open and vulnerable, which can be difficult after divorce.
But it’s exactly the kind of necessary work you need to do in order to attract the kind of relationship that is going to serve you well, and make you happy. As I started work on the book in the spring of 2011, I worked out that 7 weeks to “Call in The One” meant that the man of my dreams would enter my life some time in mid-June.
Keeping the faith
I treated the book like a really important project; completing the exercises, pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone when I had to, and really opening myself up to the possibility of finding love, though realistically I had next-to-zero prospects! I lived in a small town, was a 37-year-old mother of three young children, and I was not in the least interested in online dating. Eligible single men were thin on the ground for me. But I persevered.
July arrived and although I had not given up hope of a date, I was also very much OK with the fact that it might not happen right now (divine timing, and all that). But then on 19th July I sat and simply asked for what I wanted. Out loud. “Universe, please send me a really great boyfriend. Not because I need one, just because I want one!”.
Within an hour of that request I was at a friends house. She told me she had a friend who thought I was beautiful and had asked if he could have my number to ask me out on a date. I was stunned! The jaw dropping synchronicity had me smiling for the rest of the week and that Saturday night we went on our first date.
In the fairytale ending version, we lived happily ever after. But here’s what happened next…
The date was amazing. I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so comfortable and having so much fun and we both felt the connection. Before we’d even had our second date he had asked me to go away with him for a weekend where I’d meet all his close friends.
That summer I fell in love. But there was always a part of me worried that it was too good to be true; wondering what I’d done to deserve being this lucky and meeting someone so special so soon. And when you put those doubtful, fearful thoughts out there, they just hang around waiting for an opportunity to prove you right.
Half way through September we broke up. The circumstances were cruel. Our feelings for each other had not changed, but sometimes forces bigger than you play a part in determining the course of your life (as I knew only too well). His decision to break up with me crushed me more than I thought was possible, yet the irony was that I respected and loved him more for the choice he had made.
Dealing with a second blow
I couldn’t make sense of it. I knew in some way I was being tested but I couldn’t see how, or why. It just felt so bitterly painful and unfair to have lost someone again, when I thought I was on top of my life. I was torn between letting go and holding on to hope that his circumstances would change. I saw a therapist and sobbed my way through a session. She asked me a question that became pivotal to my happiness:
“How long are you prepared to wait for him?”
I knew then, that my lesson in all of this was about putting myself first. Not losing myself in love again. Remembering that with or without a relationship I matter. At home that evening I wrote down a statement on a piece of paper. It said:
“If he is the right man for me, please let him come back to me by the end of October”.
I had answered the therapist’s question. I decided in real time how long I would wait for him, then I would accept and move on.
The six weeks until the end of October were not filled with endless waiting, expectation or longing. I cried, I mourned. I had an endless supply of love from friends. But I picked myself up; I’d been through harsher. I had already learned about heartbreak and was teaching others through my writing. I listened to my own advice and continued to work on myself and my happiness.
Let it all go and see what comes back
Towards the end of October I spent the day with a male friend. It wasn’t a date, but we had always been a bit flirty and enjoyed each others company. It was a beautiful day; despite the time of year it was sunny and warm. At the end of the day, sitting quietly on the beach we kissed. Neither of us wanted more, we were still just friends. It was lovely. But it made me miss my love, because deep down I still wanted him back.
Still, I was smiling about the unexpected kissing for the next 24 hours, and that kept me happy and my mind off of heartbreak the next day at work. That evening the October weather was true to form. It was a rainy, chilly evening. The kids were away and I was cosy indoors. Alone on a Saturday night, but happy.
When the door knocked he was the last person I was expecting, despite the fact I’d asked for it. He told me that his difficult circumstances had passed. He was sorry for the way it had ended between us. Ever the respectful man, he had not come over expecting anything from me. We hugged, and I felt I had come back home as he filled my arms, he was rainsoaked and vulnerable. I loved him deeply still, but gave him space, aware that emotionally things were not ideal for him. We chatted for a while, then he left.
It was the 29th October, and I knew in my heart that he was the right man for me because this was what I’d asked for.
When I think back on how far we’ve come I am so thankful for the six week break-up because it was a vital part of making our relationship what it is today; strong, respectful and amazing.
Finding love again after a divorce is not always easy. But you have to believe you are worthy of being loved again, and that the right person will come into your life when you are ready.
With love and hope for happiness