I don’t often do guest posts, but if you met Janice, you would be fascinated with what she thinks as well. While we’ve covered a dating post about not being defined by being divorced after dating (guest post by Jordan Moss), the 7 D’s of dating after divorce and how to avoid divorce through adventure and confirmation bias…this takes on the angle of FEAR of dating and how to combat such a frightening fight. I hope you will find perspective or peace from her writing.
Let me just start by saying that I hate dating, with a passion. It’s akin to eating your greens as a child or exercising as an aging adult—necessary but dreadful. But it is just that, necessary.
Hi, I’m Janice and I’m a recently divorced 20- something year old. Divorce is terrible; I wouldn’t wish it on my arch nemesis. Marriage is lovely, on the other hand, and you should totally try it sometime, just be real sure you and your someone are in it to win it. Turns out my someone wasn’t remotely in it to win it, but that’s not what this post is about—this is about dating after D-Day.
If you’re anything like me, which I’m going to assume you are, the thought of dating also makes you want to vomit. This is no exaggeration, post-divorce dating gives me anxiety—bad anxiety. I’m talking cold sweats, shaking, uncomfortable in my skin, super nervous to the point of regretting eating anything hours prior. There are a million reasons why I get anxious, but that’s not the important part, the important part of this post is how we can get over it.
The only way to get over the fear of dating is…
You’re not going to like this answer.
Are you ready for it?
The only way to get over the fear of dating is to date.
Ugh. I know right?! I remember coming to this realization with my therapist some months after D-Day and trying in vain to negotiate some other solution, but here’s how he put it to me:
You have an internal smoke detector; it’s that part of you that gets uncomfortable in a bad situation. It starts pinging when someone’s acting suspicious, or maybe lying to you. It’s that voice in the back of your head that says “Maybe you shouldn’t be here…” when you are chilling with your way shady friends on a Wednesday afternoon and you enter a dingy club through a back ally after someone whispered the passcode to a giant bouncer with some gnarly looking teeth and a forehead tattoo (not like that has ever happened to me).
Anyways, that smoke detector used to be spot on and you relied on it daily to keep you safe and protected.
Then one day, out of nowhere, a huge, raging and completely unexpected fire broke out and your smoke alarm went off.
Since then, your smoke alarm has been broken. It’s been chirping and going off like it needs a battery replacement at 3 AM on a Monday. Someone looks at you and smiles, it chirps. Someone sweetly puts their hand on your back, it chirps. Someone asks you on a date, it chirps.
And every time it chirps, you freak! I mean it’s going off, there must be something wrong and you should probably run. But alas, this is not the case; your smoke alarm just needs a hard reset.
It’s tough realizing that you can’t trust that part of yourself anymore, and I know you want to! So let’s work on this together. You need to retrain your detector into recognizing what is and what is not a potential threat. You need to help yourself see that not all guys are bad and out to completely obliterate your heart. Good guys do exist. (The same can be said to guys about girls)
Learn about them; be aware of how you feel around them. Compare how you feel with one date verses the next, learn how to feel again. Learn how to trust yourself and those feelings. Trust me when I say I know this is hard, I am right there with you. But we need to get our smoke alarms back to a reliable and functional place because it is only then that we will be able to find love after D-Day.