Dating Again After Breakup – Three STOP and Four GO Signs Before Moving Forward
Mindy and Todd were high school sweethearts. They have had quite a journey and have seen some blessed times. They are the parents of three beautiful children. Both served at their local church and have seen God’s supernatural in healing, relationships, financial blessing in stewardship, and just celebrated their 25th anniversary last July.
Their marriage also saw some hard times. Affairs, emotional and financial abuse, lack of leadership, and the loss of trust caught up to them just shortly before their anniversary. Weeks later, one of them walked away and denounced everything they had fought for and believed in during those 25+ years.
There are those who leave; and those who are left. Doesn’t matter which role, if any you can equate to above, choosing to date again is a big choice with trust issues leading the way.
Many of us have been through some sort of breakup, divorce, or even the death of a partner.
With some time many choose to date again. The timing of that choice is as individual as each situation it represents.
Some will jump right back in, in hopes the past doesn’t catch up or that they could maybe mask the past pain that still leaves open scars. Others take a short break for appearances. Then the truly unique take the right steps to secure their personal peace before moving forward. Granted these are NOT measurable statistics but I would guess that 50% of people fall into the first (The Jumpers), 35% in the second (The Waiters), and 15% (The Peaceful) in the third group. The outcomes of each of these types of people are measurable given enough time.
The jumpers will almost always marry again only to find themselves going through another breakup or divorce. The waiters will wait, but without any intentional growth or change, the pain is pushed out into the future. The peaceful will walk forward with authority over their heart able to discern right timing because they paid special attention to the STOPS and the GO’s before moving forward. Which one are you?
I gleaned a great deal about the habits of hurting people through serving as a facilitator in my church’s divorce care ministry. Almost always the big question was “when can I date again.” Naturally the leaders had a calculation; every year of marriage equaled four months of recovery time. So if you were married three years, take one year to recover. One gentleman in my group had been married 40 years. He would have to wait ten years to date according to the calculation. The system of time to calculate recovery is flawed. Some of you will recover within a short period of time, while others it will take years.
How long it takes is between you and God and not some calculation based on beating the odds. Secondarily it is also about grieving and then stabilizing your life. The ‘life’ part I speak of is the big four; spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial. When one of those is out of place, it makes having clarity to move on in relationship much more difficult. Getting involved too quickly will almost guarantee more pain than you experienced in your previous breakup.
Many who find themselves at the end of a relationship are most likely starving for something they didn’t get. Love, kindness, affirmation, whatever it may be, it’s been absent. Then all of a sudden, a magic man or woman shows up and affirms everything you need. You are overflowing. You are happier than ever. Then the realty of your situation hits when something is introduced that triggers the past.
It’s like starving in the dessert. The body itself can handle up to 50 days away from food before death. If food is introduced during the starvation stage it sends shocks through the body causing death. Only by choosing the right process for restoring health based on the person’s level of starvation can they be restored to normal health. 1
Recovery out of relationship is just like that. Try too quickly, and experience an emotional death. I observed many move on too quickly only to see them get hit with much more pain then they experienced at the end of the their previous relationship. Apply the right process, time, attention and restoration is natural.
So how can you gauge if you are ready to move on, or if you have to take some more time attention to clean up the old emotional house?
I have three STOP and four GO signs to consider before taking the leap again.
Three signs to STOP:
- You have not stabilized your spiritual, emotional, physical, or financial life.We all have issues in each of these areas that may never be fully resolved because we are a growing and changing people. However, you have to look past the former relationship and person in such a way that none of those areas are dependent on the past. Outside of support or other court ordered obligations, if you are hung up on any one of those areas and your ex still is part of the conversation, you should pause and work on you.
- You haven’t brought others into your life who will disagree with you when necessary.If you are only surrounding yourself with family and people who agree with you, you will surely make unwise choices.
- Happiness chasing.Your heart is saying, “If I can find the right person, then I will finally be happy or complete.” This chasing of the wind is often referred to as “fantasy land.” I have met these types who watch “The Bachelor / Bachelorette” and think everything is based on the external, which is primarily physical attraction. Leadership of your life means you take the steps seeking God’s divine plan, and actions according to his will.
Four signs that it’s GO time:
- You have stabilized the big four.
When I think of stabilization I think of securing something from the effects of internal or external forces. Here in the Midwest we have tornados. If shelter is underground or has firm foundation, it will still be standing after the high winds. As you work through each area you will have to create bench marks for yourself of what that looks like in the light of your new spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial life.For me it looked something like this: (Yes, I do outline things like this…)
- Connected to God through prayer and personal bible study.
- Connected to a church for the purpose of learning and growing within a community.
- Connected to others through friendship creating intimate lifelong connections.
- Resolved the stages of relationship grief (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance)
- Sought professional mentorship and instruction on past emotional obstacles.
- Created and/or improved a positive self-image and self-esteem.
- Created good nutritional habits.
- Created sustainable physical fitness program
- Get the right amount of rest and relaxation.
- Created a budget and follow it
- Lived within the household means
- Honored financial commitments to God and family
- You have peace.
Today I call it my “buffer of peace.” It’s very difficult for outside influences to affect my buffer of peace. While things are happening all around me, I have learned to seek peace first in each situation, and then move forward testing each foothold.
- You are OK being alone.
The biggest challenge for most is the loneliness that is triggered at the end of a relationship or marriage. When you reach the place where you could stay in or go out by yourself without bringing others into the moments (phone, text, or social), you have found harmony for yourself.
- You are doing you.
When you build your life around another person, children, or friends sometimes you lose sight of what you love to do or who you really want to be. Maybe you really wanted to go back to college get that MBA, you love biking, hiking, or traveling. The part of being single again is you get to experience what you want. You get to do you without excuses. While you may still be a mom, dad, or friend, a clear sign you are ready to date again is that there are things in your life that are uniquely you.
We are all unique. Some of you may take years to recover from a broken relationship, while others will recover more rapidly. Time isn’t relevant when it deals with matters of the heart. What really matters is stabilizing the big 4 and moving forward in peace, ensuring you can do life with or with outside influences. When you finally come to the place where you are doing you, the clarity of mind is present and you are able to weed out the band influences. Attention plus time yields a solid path to moving forward in knowing who you are.