There is no cookie-cutter formula for a guy to get through the difficulty and pain of divorce. I’m not pretending to say that “if you follow these three easy steps, you’ll have no problems getting past your divorce.” No, instead, I’m sharing from experience what was exceptionally helpful for me.
On the heels of my divorce a handful of years ago, someone told me to not put myself into any kind of serious dating relationship for at least one full year. Instead, I was told to take that time to figure out what a single ME likes and dislikes, enjoys and despises. Instead of grasping at something I felt I desperately needed (another relationship), I was free to investigate for the first time in my adult life who I had become. Not only that, I was able to avoid making some relationship decisions I know I would have regretted because I was a needy, broken man without a clue. So, I found out a few things about myself.
Just a few of my personal discoveries:
**Although I knew that I had enjoyed playing the trombone in school and a little bit in college, I never realized that I absolutely LOVED listening to big band swing. I also discovered for the first time that I got a big kick out of 60s rock (yes, I became a fan of Credence Clearwater Revival. Don’t judge me…).
**Regarding food, I quickly ascertained that I like key lime pie, and I don’t normally care for popcorn or cake.
**I learned that I enjoyed trying different beers and I occasionally enjoy smoking a Sherlock-Holmes style pipe.
**Regarding my viewing experiences, I discovered that I was not so much of a movie guy as I am a historical, nature, and crime documentary person.
**About books, I had the freedom to determine that I am thoroughly swept up in reading biographies and Charles Dickens and Old Testament prophets.
**When it comes to transportation, I found that I am a Jeep-a-holic and have been bitten by the motorcycle bug.
**Spiritually speaking, I finally was able to articulate my own set of theological fingerprints. Who knew that I was a cautious continuationist with shards and shreds of Calvinism embedded in my beliefs?
**Concerning mental health, I had no idea that I had been dealing with severe clinical depression since I was a little kid. What a major difference it made to find treatment!
**Interpersonally speaking, I discovered that I greatly value deep communication, I learned that usefulness of expressing anger, and I determined many of my defense mechanisms.
If you are on the fresh end of a painful divorce, I urge you to take my ONE-YEAR CHALLENGE. Despite the urge, don’t date for a year. Read lots, talk lots, and introspect lots. Experiment with food, music, hobbies, and other tastes. Surround yourself with a small crew of trusted people. If you can’t find a crew, settle for one person you mildly trust. If that’s a stretch, then at the very least, keep a journal of what you discover. You will pleasantly surprise yourself during those twelve months!
If you are willing to take this ONE-YEAR CHALLENGE, let me know. I’d love to keep tabs on how your progress moves forward. Let me know your thoughts!