One single mom asked:
“Is it normal to want to find someone new ASAP? I see lots of ladies say they are content to be single forever. I definitely don’t feel this way.”
When posed with the possibility of moving on from our past and into a new marriage in our future, many single moms do one of two things: swear off men forevah…evah…evah…OR quickly jump into the next relationship they come upon.
Can we admit that both are a little extreme? Let’s talk about group two.
With a little bit of freedom and the release that comes after being in a bad marriage, one of the many emotions we may feel is elation at the thought of possibly finding what we hoped for desperately in our relationship but weren’t able to achieve: a loving marriage.
But, whether we felt it during our marriages, or are dealing with it in the aftermath, we are likely struggling with some of the following:
- Feeling unloved
- Feeling unwanted
- Feeling unnoticed
- Feeling misunderstood
- Feeling misrepresented
- Feeling lonely
In my own marriage, I’d become so familiar with these feelings that I didn’t know any other way anymore. I would watch my children play and think of their future lives filled with possibilities, but choke on the fact that my future would never be anything more than the deep sadness I was living in my marriage.
When it finally became clear to me that my marriage was over, I grieved in ways I never knew were possible. Days, and weeks, and months of crying out to God, begging Him not to give me the future that I knew was up ahead for me. I just wanted a happy family, after all.
But there was a point—a clearing of sorts—when I suddenly realized that what I was being given was not doom. But, a redirection towards God’s best. And the thought of having another marriage down the road flitted through my mind momentarily.
I was elated at that.
Thrilled in fact.
So much so, that it came to mind over and over again. It felt like something beautiful, and freeing, and new might come into a life that had hunkered down in sadness for so long. I went online and typed into Google: “best online dating sites.”
And that’s when I felt it.
That “buzz” that the Holy Spirit places in my heart sometimes when I’m about to do something I shouldn’t. As I continued to dream a little over the next weeks, the buzz would come and go. I soon realized it was occurring not at times when I thought about this for my future, but at the times when I started planning and considering ways to take action and start dating again. And while I’d often ignored or misunderstood that “buzz” many times in my life, this time, I knew it was from God—and I listened because I knew the truth about myself:
I was completely broken as a person.
I didn’t value myself like I should.
I certainly didn’t value myself as God did.
And until I did, I knew that I would allow others to devalue me as well.
I had to admit (and hated to do so after feeling that rush of promise) that I was grasping at the thought of love as a release from the pain I was in. And if I were to move on to fill that painful spot with a new relationship, I wouldn’t attend to the pain itself—which God was showing me needed to be worked through.
Like any other wound, pain and tenderness require time and a gentle focus to heal.
At that point in my life, love was a desperate need. And anything we do out of desperation always results in rash decisions. We can create complete disasters in our own lives when we rush into things that God has not prepared us for. Am I right?
I had to get my mind refocused, and my heart content. I took a full year to grieve and seek healing from God. I wouldn’t allow myself to consider dating anyone even though lots of people were encouraging me to get out there, and I really, really wanted to listen to them. But, I decided that I would use at least the one year separation period required by my state (and more if I needed to) to find healing and direction from God.
I want you to do the same. Whatever your timeline looks like. Decide to secure your heart and your life before you allow yourself to date. In fact, before you even press enter on that search bar, search for the following instead:
A Secure Healing with God
Let’s admit it, we’ve got some healing to do. There’s only one place that healing that deep comes from: God. If we don’t want to repeat past mistakes, we need to do the difficult work of facing our issues and allowing God to work through them. We need to spend time asking, praying, thinking, and considering all that’s happened, our part in it, and what God wants to heal in us so that we can move forward. There’s no timeline on healing, but the sooner we allow Him to show us where it needs to happen, and then allow Him to take us through that painful process, the sooner we can move on to the life He has up ahead for us. While we are in this process, let’s cling to and remember that not only is He with us in it, He will fill our hearts and quiet them with His love while He prepares them for more.
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17.
Healing for my Children
Though at times I felt like the battle was all mine, I had to constantly remind myself that my children were grieving as well–even if they didn’t let on to that. There was confusion, and hurt, and anger that had to be dealt with. My ex was trying to manipulate the situation to his advantage by lying about the root cause of the pending divorce, and my sweet children were caught in the middle of the maelstrom. My focus beyond my own healing was helping them through theirs. Don’t leave them alone in this. Your future relationship with your children depends on it.
A Steady Home Life
The only dream I had as a child was to one day have a happy family. The fact that divorce was in my future was something that devastated me to my core. As a child of my parent’s very difficult divorce, it was literally my worst nightmare coming true. I spent considerable time and thought as to what our new version of family should look like once I became a single mom. I didn’t want their childhood swept away by the flood of emotions and difficulties I was about to face. Make plans, make memories, make family a focus. Until you’ve secured your home to a point where you feel like a thriving family again, you really have no right to bring another person into it. Doing so too early will make your children feel like you’ve left them in the grief or that you are moving on without them.
Many women are financially devastated by divorce. If there weren’t problems prior to the divorce that caused it, the difficulties of rebuilding and starting over often do. One reason that so many women get into bad second marriages is because they have been financially devastated and cling to the next “good provider” they find. Please listen to me friends: you should NEVER choose to be with someone because they can financially support you. Never. Ever. It would be better to be financially devastated and alone than with the wrong man a second time. You have to get yourself as financially stable as you can before you move onto dating so that you aren’t tempted to consider the wrong person for the wrong reasons.
You have been given a gift. A restart. And it shouldn’t be wasted. You need to figure out what you want, and the things you aren’t willing to have in your life, and then stick to it no matter what. This can actually be a healing part of the process if you give much thought to the things you allowed in the past that you will not allow in your future. It’s taking your power back and admitting that you are worthy of so much more. Then, once you start dating, if the guy doesn’t meet your list, He’s not God’s best for you. Don’t compromise.
The short answer? Yes, it’s totally normal to want to find someone. Not only normal, but something to look forward to.
But, we have to protect ourselves from getting back into a situation similar to what God has just pulled us from. We’ve just been through something tragic. We need to process it. To grieve it. To understand it. And most importantly: to learn from it. We have to seek healing that literally changes us. We can’t go into it the same way we did our marriage—unless we want to end up in the same situation all over again.
Let’s agree not to do that.