Divorce Recovery Advice and Help How To Go New Places After Divorce
2000 Janet L. Jacobsen

  • Use the "ease in" technique

    One of the early difficulties of single life is what Harlan calls "moving to a new country"--even though you may still be in the same town.

    • It is suddenly very much different than when you were married.

    After Divorce, you no longer go to the places you "always" went, and eventually you learn the places that singles go.

    • But that doesn't necessarily mean you immediately start going there.

    Psychologists talk about "approach­avoidance"; some things we really want to do while at the same time we're afraid.

    • Then the closer we get to doing the thing, the more frightening it becomes, until at the last minute we turn around and run.

    It seems to me this may be one of the primary reasons it takes many recovering from divorce, newly-singled people months and even years to go out to singles events and other places to meet people. The closer they get to actually going, the more frightening the idea becomes and finally they "chicken out."

    • Such behavior is "normal" in the sense that lots of people do it however, it's also unhealthy in the sense that it delays you getting started on your social life.

    By changing your approach, however, it is possible to win out over your anxieties about going some place new for the first time.


    One way to make something do-able is to break it down into smaller parts, and this process works for going to new places. It's simply a case of turning big fears into little fears that we then handle one at a time.

    • For instance, when going out to a new "night spot," the first thing you might want to do is simply drive by the place sometime during the day, to see where it is and what it looks like.

    Next time drive by at night, to see what it looks like then, how many cars, and that sort of thing.

    • Next time go and just "peek" go with the intention of just looking around briefly to see what type of people are there, how the crowd dresses, etc.

    This is good to do when you're on the way to somewhere else, then you don't feel obligated to stay.

    Then the next time you'll know what's acceptable dress, what the musk's like, and you can plan accordingly.

    • Again have a short time expectation, just "drop in" and stay a short while, to see how comfortable you are with the crowd.

    By this time the place is going to seem fairly familiar to you, and not all that intimidating, so that by the time you want to plan an entire evening in the place, it will be relatively comfortable for you.

      Occasionally a girl friend and I will go out for an evening with the specific intent of "checking out" several new places, where we mostly just peek and get some idea of how we feel about the place.

      • More fun with two, and you can share your first impressions.


      For some reason we often seem to think that when we're going to do something new we have to throw ourselves in full force, or not do it at all. I advocate a more gradual approach;

      • it doesn't eliminate the butter­flies in your stomach, but it does keep them flying in formation.


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      When in Divorce Recovery process....give yourself permission to just "ease in" to new places and things.
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