Ask Single Dating Diva: Once Bitten, Twice Shy

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,

once-bitten-twice-shyI’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:

  • Ask-Single-Dating-DivaTake 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?

Do you have a dating dilemma? Just Ask Single Dating Diva by clicking here.

Your Sister in Dating Bliss,

Single Dating Diva

Copyright Single Dating Diva


  1. Great advice! It’s all about paying attention. You can’t be paranoid and miss out on a potentially great opportunity. You have to move with caution and like you said, “trust your gut.” If something smells fishy, then it might be a tuna. You also have to know what questions to ask. What makes the person uncomfortable in conversation? Do they tend to shy away from certain topics? It’s a like a job interview over drinks.


  2. Divorce is one of the hardest things to move-on from, even when it’s your idea! You definitely shared the golden rule for anyone post divorce: take it slow! Don’t be in a hurry to find love, first you must find yourself. Best of luck to your reader, if she follows your advice, she’ll be fine ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Slightly off topic, but I think of it every time I see a relationship article about “baggage”. I’ve noticed one of the most common comments on online dating profiles is “no baggage please”. I always think to myself anyone who has made it into adulthood and claims to have no baggage is actually in denial, or a big fat liar, and both of those count as baggage. My theory, it’s about having compatible baggage so both can grow past it. But maybe I’m just being cynical.

    Back on topic: Yes, trust your gut, but while it may never lie, sometimes it is being a big chicken. Learn to recognize the difference between actual red flags and just making excuses why something won’t work so you don’t actually have to put yourself out there. I used to be guilty of this last one a lot: “she couldn’t possibly be interested in me, so why bother even trying.”

    Actually, come to think of it, I’m still frequently guilty of that one. Guess that’s my baggage… ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Even though we all have baggage, it’s pretty easy at times to only see a person’s baggage, and not be able to see the real person. I have found a number of women that spent more time looking through their baggage, and finding something in there that they tossed at me, because I have a certain trait their ex had. Been asked a few times…. are you an alcoholic?. I was not sure why the lady asked that, but it sure made me move on and say….. NO, but hey, nice talking with your – Bye bye. Better to just throw out that steam trunk full of baggage, and keep your eyes and ears open as you date. I can assure you there are many clues on how a person is as you date them – but too many people make excuses on what they see and hear, and just continue dating the person, before the time bomb goes off.


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