We’ve all got baggage from previous experiences and previous relationships. No one is exempt from this. These experiences shape who we are, sometimes for the better, and, sometimes for the worse. We can’t help it can we? It’s hard to trust again once your trust has been betrayed time and again. It’s hard to open your heart again after so many have stomped on it. Isn’t it easier just to put up your walls and just NOT get into another relationship? I’ve been in that situation before. In my post “Whirlwind Romance“, I speak about a disaster of a dating relationship I had with someone – his baggage and my baggage collided into one big mess. It’s hard to take that leap after being hurt, so what do you do? That’s what today’s Ask Single Dating Diva is all about … What do you do when you’re once bitten, twice shy?
Dear Single Dating Diva,
I’m divorced. I had a bad experience with my ex husband who I thought was my soul mate. Everything was great at the beginning and we were very much in love with each other. We were a match made in heaven. Then as the months and years went by we grew further and further apart and my happily ever after became a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. He became verbally abusive and I suspect that he was cheating.
The only way out was separation and then divorce. So I did. Now, it’s not that I don’t want to meet someone new and have a relationship, but, I’m afraid of making the same mistake again. I thought this man was my soul mate. He was everything I ever wanted. Every box on my checklist was checked. I couldn’t believe my luck at the time. So how can I trust my instincts again? Is there any hope for me? Can I trust that I won’t be hurt again?
Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Dear Once Bitten, Twice Shy,
Thank you for your question and raising a very important issue that is very close to home for me. Being divorced myself, I’ve struggled with getting back on the horse as well. I do go out and date a lot and meet a lot of great men, but, until recently, I’ve found it hard to commit. Again, for the same reasons, I’m afraid of making the same mistake twice. So I will share with you what I’ve done to slowly get over it and move closer than ever to my own REAL happily ever after.
First and foremost you feel betrayed. This person was one thing when you met and married him and then turned Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on you. You have to think really hard. Did you project his idealness on him or was he really that ideal? Were there red flags that you ignored? Did you justify his actions that you didn’t like? All these are things that we miss because we’re blinded by love and the desire to get married. Many many women and men do the same thing. They forego reality for the promise of a dream come true. Only you know the truth, but if you look back what do you see? Also look at what were the reasons things changed? Was it out of the blue or was it a result of another life change? Infertility? Loss of employment? Death in the family? Whatever the case may be what’s done is done, but you can’t let it dictate all future relationships. Take it as a lesson learned. Learn from those challenges and your role in them.
Here are my main suggestions that I am confident will help you as they did me:
- Take things slowly and at a comfortable pace for yourself. You know what’s right and wrong for you, no one else does. No one else can know what you are going through. Don’t be coerced or influenced.
- Stop defining yourself by your failed marriage and divorce. You’re not the only one who has experienced what you have. The only difference is that some choose to keep playing the tape over and over while others choose to live and create a happier tape.
- Don’t blame anyone else for the mistakes of your ex. It’s not their fault he was an ass. Just because he hurt you doesn’t mean everyone else will. There are truly some great guys out there.
- Trust your gut, it NEVER lies. Look out for those red flags and don’t discount them.
- When a person tells or shows you who they really are believe them.
- Know what you want and don’t settle for less.
I heard this recently, “to put the past behind you, you must accept that you’ve moved beyond it” (Hell on Wheels). I think that’s good advice for everyone because most of our anguish is all stuff we’ve created in our head. Before you can forgive others you have to learn to forgive yourself.
You really don’t need that extra relationship baggage! Let it go! Move beyond it! Leave it behind! You don’t need it. I encourage you to put the past behind you, know who you are, be confident in who you are, make wise decisions, listen to your gut and move forward. Make the CHOICE to leave the past behind you. Make the CHOICE to be with someone who is the RIGHT someone because you’ve made an informed decision based on their actions (not words), what you’ve experienced of them and your gut instinct. Trust yourself, you’re wiser than you think!
Hope this helps!
What do you think? What advice would you give? Have you been in the same situation?
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Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
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