Dating as a Divorced Christian
Looking for advice…….
Or just looking for more information about the book Risking Romance Again
Then read on
If you’re a divorced Christian then you probably know that most advice about dating after divorce is pretty gung-ho. Those who give it seem to be confident people with sorted out lives and generally up-beat about the whole process – but what about the rest of us? For many, dating as divorced Christian is like jumping into a swimming pool at night – with no idea whether it’s the deep or shallow end we are leaping into. Perhaps we will sink without trace? Maybe we will land, all too soon, with a spine-jarring jolt? The truth is that dating as a divorced Christian at any age can be scary, and dating after divorce is in a league of its own.
Looking for a new YOU?
Most of us, once we have struggled through a marriage break-up, take a hard look at ourselves in the mirror and make some decisions. Getting fit, losing weight, buying new clothes and getting a new hair-style are all symbols of how different we want the future to be. Six months later, we look in the mirror again and feel ready for new friendships… and who knows, maybe more?
Has the experience of dating been something like this?
We prepare ourselves for dating as a divorced Christian by looking ahead. We want to leave the past behind (and move on from elements of the present we don’t like), so we establish a new image, sort out conversational gambits about music, books, films (and so forth) and make decisions about places to meet and levels of physical contact. This kind of preparation can be thought of as establishing our personal rules of play in order to create a new future. Our date, however, is probably doing exactly the same thing – so when we meet, it feels as if we are both playing different games – very possibly with two different sets of rules! Instead of meeting in the middle with friendly (or even intimate) contact, the date feels like lobbing information at each other from a distance. Why is the date like this?
- Because we have failed to face the past (and some of the present), we have both concentrated on the externals.
- Because we are out of touch with our own internals, we have little to share.
- Because there is no mutual sharing of anything internal, the date feels like an impersonal game.
On our first date, it may dawn on us that all is not as we thought. We look the part (this is who we want to be from now on) and yet the more we talk (or the more tongue-tied we become!) the more we feel just like ‘me’. After all that hard work, maybe we haven’t really changed ourselves at all? It helps to realise that most advice about dating after divorce deals only with the externals of how we look and how we interact with others. Perhaps as well as puffing around the gym we should do some ‘internal’ exercise too? Maybe a good look at how we tick will also be time well spent?
Looking for a new experience?
Most dating after divorce advice presumes that everyone dated in the past – so all that is needed is some confidence boosting allied to the brushing up of old skills. In reality, a significant number of divorcees have never dated before. When they were in their teens, or early twenties, they got to know people at school, college or work; at their youth club, karate class or church; and then, over a period of time, these relationships turned into ‘going out’. In spite of what the media portrays a surprising number of people only go out with a few people before they settle down with the person they will marry. For these people, the idea of meeting someone for the first time on a date is quite foreign. Dating can then feel like plate spinning because there are so many things to remember (don’t talk too much but be interesting; flirt a bit; be interested in your date; don’t reveal everything all at once; don’t spill your drink) and to make it worse the stakes feel very high. What if this person is ‘the one’ but they are scared off because we keep the wrong plates spinning while the important ones crash to the ground?
Dating after divorce
People are complicated, and a marriage break-up introduces extra complications. Relationships are complex even for single people, (if they weren’t, very few novels would be published!) but ‘complex’, and even ‘difficult’ is worthwhile. Every human being is an individual, but when two individuals become one in a relationship the end result is greater than the sum of the parts. That’s why so many of us want to share our lives with another person. It is costly, complex and often difficult – but worth it. Dating is just the first step (in a journey which may lead towards a relationship, or away from it) but the date is itself ‘of the same kind’ as the potential relationship (costly, complex, often difficult, but worthwhile). Any advice which makes dating after divorce sound easy should therefore be treated with acute scepticism before being consigned, with all due ceremony, to the bin!
Dating, for the young and single, is a matter of establishing trust and risking the possibility of romance. Dating after divorce is less straightforward though, because divorcees have experienced both the loss of trust and broken romance. It is therefore important to understand the internals of new friendships and potential relationships as well as the externals of social contact.
friendsfirst is currently undertaking some research about the issues divorced and separated people face when trying to find new friends. If you would like to participate in the survey click here.
Risking Romance Again
If all the above rings bells with you, then we strongly recommend you read ‘Risking Romance Again, Dating after Divorce’. It is written from a Christian perspective by Revd David Robertson, a remarried divorcee who met his second wife through friendsfirst. David, as an ordained minister in the Church of England, draws on his own experience as well as pastoral insights gleaned from others coming to terms with marital breakdown and making new relationships. Risking Romance Again will be invaluable to anyone seeking to understand the personal issues surrounding dating after divorce.
See below for details of how to purchase the book.
‘Risking Romance Again, Dating after Divorce’
Price £7.99 plus P&P
To order your copy direct from the publishers ring 0121 427 1286 or click on this link to request a copy
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