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Divorce Recovery Series

 Part 26

A Series of Articles on Adjusting to Divorce By Harlan Jacobsen

STOP TRYING TO FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL BE DEVOTED TO YOU FOREVER

For now, concentrate on getting someone who will give you full attention for an hour or two.

MANY ARE HOLDING OUT FOR PEOPLE THAT MEET CERTAIN FANTASY EXPECTATIONS

"I will not associate or waste my time or contaminate myself with people that donít meet what I want."

YOU MAY BE HOLDING OUT FOR MR. RIGHT OR MS. RIGHT

We say for now - give up on Mr. or Ms. Right. You are not ready for them anyway. Do the best you can with all the Mr. or Ms. Wrongs. Youíll be amazed at what you learn not only from them, but about yourself.

HOLDING OUT FOR SUPER SOMEONE TO FILL ALL YOUR NEEDS EQUALS UNHAPPINESS

You will have a lot of lonely time. Each time you go out to meet people, and youíre only interested in meeting Mr. or Ms. Right, then you are always disappointed, and you "failed" again. You will have disappointment after disappointment, when someone you thought might be Mr. or Ms. Right turns out not to be.

THE PAINTER WOULDNíT PAINT UNTIL HE FOUND THE PERFECT SCENE

He looked and looked. Finally, two years later, he found the perfect scene. He finally was ready to paint.

NOW, WHEN HE FOUND THE PERFECT SCENE, HE DIDNíT KNOW HOW TO PAINT

You will not know how to develop or maintain a relationship when you find Mr. or Ms. Right, unless you have been practicing.

NOT FINDING THAT "SUPER PERSON" YOU WILL EVENTUALLY COMPROMISE

You will take up with the best substitute. You will resent them for not being the fantasy person for whom you have been waiting. You will "put up" with the relationship as better than none at all, but be basically unhappy with the whole thing.

GIVE UP ON THE MR. OR MS. RIGHT CONCEPT FOR NOW

Have a period of just developing all kinds of friends to fill your needs. Donít try to fill your needs with one person.

TRY SOME OF EVERYTHING

Being single and latching onto the same old type of thing you have always had as support friends and relationships is like going to a banquet or smorgasbord, and picking up only a baloney sandwich.

You are comfortable with a baloney sandwich because thatís all youíre used to. You are afraid that richer food may make you sick, or that you are such a worthless person you donít deserve "better" than another baloney sandwich. Or, youíre afraid youíll get to like all those good things, and probably want them when you wonít be able to get them.

YOU NEED SOME NEW, SIGNIFICANT PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE NOW

Your success and happiness as a single person is pretty much dependent on the support system of people in your life now. You will need to take some risks to develop this "Network" or "Singles Family".

20 OR 30 YEARS AGO, MOST HAD "RELATIVES" OR FAMILY NEARBY

Nowadays, relatives are scattered all over the county, and continue to move away, so when you become single, you are often left with no nearby relatives as a support system.

THE SINGLES FAMILY WE TALK ABOUT NOW REPLACES THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY SUPPORT SYSTEM THAT EVAPORATED

So, when you need friends nowadays as a single, your need is greater than it used to be, because the traditional family network has basically disappeared, due to the mobility of the entire population.

YOU NEED A NETWORK OF SINGLES FRIENDS TO REPLACE THE RELATIVES AND LOST MARRIED FRIENDS

Once you realize that you have a genuine, normal need, your attitude about developing a network of singles friends will change. Instead of rushing out to find one big relationship, you will be open to concentrate on developing lots of friends of both sexes- your "Singles Family": all sizes, shapes, ages and walks of life.

THIS IS THE FOUNDATION OF SINGLE LIFE THAT ALLOWS MOVING ON, AND DEVELOPING THE FROSTING ON THE CAKE

Most try to start out developing the frosting without the foundations. When the frosting blows away, they wonder what happened. "I am back with nothing!"

WE HAVE BEEN SOLD A BILL OF GOODS: THAT ONE PERSON IS WHERE HAPPINESS IS AT

Movies, television, romantic novels, etc., have all sold us on finding a certain someone, and living blissfully the rest of our lives. We are so convinced, we donít want to hear about or consider alternatives. We tune out anything negating that fantasy dream.

THE MORE UNHAPPY WE ARE, THE MORE WE FEEL WE NEED A CERTAIN SOMEONE FOR WHOM WE ARE DESPERATELY SEARCHING - THAT ONE AND ONLY RESCUER

We are so convinced about the concept, that our goal in life now is "find that someone". We take our mental image of what we are looking for, and reject this one and that one. No one measures up. We have one after another, eventually disqualifying each one.

WHEN YOU HAVE A WHOLE NETWORK OF FRIENDS, YOU WILL SOON DEVELOP SOME SIGNIFICANT DATING RELATIONSHIPS, NATURALLY AND EASILY

You are no longer a needy person. Your singles family will put you in contact with other people. Soon you have more people in your life than you can keep up with.

WHEN YOU HAVE PLENTY OF "OTHER SINGLE PEOPLE" IN YOUR LIFE, YOU HAVE ELIMINATED ISOLATION, LONELINESS AND DESPAIR

We have recognized that it is okay for us to need recognition, warmth, sharing, intimacy and love. We consider other peopleís needs because it is in our self interest to do so.

STOP USING PEOPLE AND LOVING THINGS

Change to loving people and using things. People are not for exploitation, which seems to be some singleís attitude after divorce.

DIVORCE DOES TO YOUR LIFE WHAT DROPPING DOES TO A JIGSAW PUZZLE

If you look at that mess and try to get it back together, it looks hopeless. Do the easy pieces first, and soon it all just "falls" together.

GETTING YOUR LIFE BACK TOGETHER - DEVELOPING NEW FRIENDS AND A SINGLES FAMILY ARE THE "EASY PIECES"

These are the key pieces that you can and need to get together. The other pieces will be much easier, and go back together rapidly, once you get the key pieces together. Friends are the key to putting your life back together.

NEXT ISSUE:

When am I ready for dating?

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