This is a question that so many people deal with after a divorce or break up. Everyone is different but I have read in many books that three years is ideal. It gives a person time to heal and figure out what they want in a relationship.  Some people start dating right away while some stay away from dating for a long time. In my opinion, people that begin dating immediately tend to be the kind of person that cannot be alone. I know several people like this. They bounce from relationship to relationship. When one ends, they tend to find the next one quickly. I wonder if these people can ever learn to be happy alone.

I do understand how people do this though. When I got my divorce, I was scared to be alone. I was lonely. I had so many emotions that I could have stashed away  and started a new relationship. I didn’t want to do this though. I had already started a journey of self-improvement. I knew that I had to figure me out and be independent before I could give myself to someone else again. I also did not want my divorce. I was heart broken. I did not feel lovable or beautiful or desirable. I didn’t know if I could ever love again or trust again. The thought of being with someone other than my husband after 23 years was terrifying. I had had three kids. I wasn’t in the shape I was 23 years prior. I am older as we all are.

I realized I was ready to date again after  a few months when I met a man that I couldn’t quit thinking about. He treated me real well and taught me that I could be interested again. We dated for a few months but were never serious. We were good for each other. He was going through his divorce at the time so we knew it was too soon for both of us. I did get a bit attached to him and that scared me (and him). He disappeared from my life for a few months and now we are friends again.

I went out with a few people before I actually met  my ex-bf. It was almost a year after my divorce was final when I met him. Looking back, it was probably still too early. I did fall madly in love with him BUT I was still holding onto so much anger towards my ex. He later told me how much the ex was in our lives really bothered him. I hadn’t realized until that day how much the ex still infiltrated my life. That is not the reason B and I broke up but I am sure it was a contributing factor. I also stated early in our relationship that it wouldn’t last. Was that me being negative because I didn’t know how to trust or was it me being wise to signs that I saw early  in the relationship. I definitely think i was a bit of both. I knew pretty early that I was not what he wanted long term, though he professed his love first. He spoiled me and taught me how to accept love and to give love again.

It has now been three years since my divorce and only a few months since B and I finally really broke up. It took us 16 months too do so. I look at myself after all this time and I think I am finally ready for a real relationship. I am not in a hurry for something to happen but I am not so scared anymore. I know I will not sacrifice myself for a relationship again. I won’t give myself up nor try to change anyone else. I know more and more what I want in a man and where I am willing to compromise. I am willing to be alone forever if I do not find  a compatible man. I hope that doesn’t happen. I would prefer companionship but I no longer NEED it. I think we all need to reach this stage before we get serious with someone after a heartbreak.

Three years may be what the experts recommend but I do think that may be too long for some and definitely not enough for others. I know I do not want to date a man going through his divorce or immediately after. I have recently met two men, probably very nice men, that are obviously dating too soon. One, I suspect, is going to jump into a marriage as soon as he finds a woman agreeable and the other even admitted that he still loves his ex. Not men that I want to date. I am glad I didn’t rush into a marriage or commitment. I am glad I have taken the time to get to know ME. I like ME and if I find a man that I commit to again, he will be lucky to have me and I will be lucky to have him..