The key is to learn from your relationships and use them as a stepping stone to become your personal best. Then you can choose to be single, or you choose to find a good match with your new standards.
I have experienced different forms of heart break in relationships in my life.
Puppy love: as I watched my first crush choose my good friend to “go with” over me.
Same gender best friend: loss of my 8 year-Bestie friendship and still not sure what happened.
Bad boyfriend: My first real relationship just over a year, violent and unhealthy and he ended up breaking up with me! Ironic. This one really helped me set some standards.
Good boyfriend: friends first, first true love. Realized we were not growing on same paths, I ended it but coped with alcohol and made a mess of things.
Husband: I met him at 18, married by 20. I was crazy in love. He was my soul mate. I dreamed of growing old together. I really thought nothing could bring us down. I didn’t ever consider broken trust, ever. Until 15 years into the marriage. He had an 18 month affair with my business partner and friend, right under my nose. Two years of healing, we survived. I healed from it, but now I am not sure he did. It showed me supernatural forgiveness. Three years later that experience moved us into Marriage Ministry to help counsel and teach couples about Communication, Respect, Forgiveness, Love Languages, Healthy Sex, and Commitment. I guess the devil had to work overtime to attack our marriage again, but he was up for the task.
In May of 2012 the devil took my marriage. He did not do it carefully or quietly, it was in full destruction. The enemy comes to lie, cheat and steal and he uses humans to get the job done! After two years in the fires of hell, I signed divorce papers three days after my 28th Anniversary. We both claim that neither one of us wanted it.
The communication was lost, even with the help of therapists, counselors, our grown children, mediators, and finally lawyers. This one took me down. I grieved heavy 2012 – 2015, for 3 years. That grieving process is a whole seminar in itself. I made some mistakes that slowed my healing. I coped with alcohol at times, food, travel, sleep, depression, even social activity. I fought rumors, miscommunication, and suffered detachment from loved ones.
I lost acquaintances, peers, some “friends”, and even some family members.
I couldn’t function to work, there were days I just plain couldn’t function. I had brain fog, confusion, anger, sadness, I became detached. As a decision maker with a strong strength of Activator, this made things very difficult. I kept pushing myself into healing. I told myself I was fine and then tried to move into big decisions. I put money down on two beautiful homes trying to move forward. I walked away from my home of 25 years where I raised my babies and spent more than half my life. I couldn’t really even help my grieving children. They are all grown, but each of them dealt with this trauma in their own way. I felt checked out of my own life. I prayed for change, I prayed for peace, I prayed for restoration – I prayed a ton. God was with me the entire time, there is no doubt, but I had moments where I yelled at him like a child would shout at their parent when they didn’t get their way.
In that three years I also found a best friend, but opposite gender. I was used to having a guy for a best friend, but I was so unhealthy and admittedly coping. I broke his heart. I am forever grateful for his place in my life and in that chapter, but I am forever sorry that his heart was hurt. He moved out of state.
Dating after my marriage loss: Oh boy, here I was 48 years old, I was 18 the last time I was in this position! Let me tell you, times have changed!
Dating before divorce was legal: This is a lesson, I wouldn’t repeat and I do not advise. I dated before my papers were finalized, for 3 months. This man fed me emotionally, and intellectually – but ultimately I went against my personal values. We are still friends today. I was coping and trying to move forward. I know I hurt my kids and for that I have asked forgiveness.
Scared to death to online date, tried two dates: I waited 4 months after my divorce was final and went on a few dates with two guys, no connection. I am glad I experienced it. Online dating was exhausting. Too many emails and sorting, and hoping they were not liars or bad guys.
Long distance love, it’s not my favorite: 8 months later, at a charity event, I met a man that showed me I could fall in love again. The problem is, two weeks later I bought a home in a different state across the country. It took me 7 months to move there, but we saw each other that whole time. I wasn’t supposed to fall in love! We tried to make the distance work for another year, but it just wasn’t what I wanted.
I was writing again and published my BRAVE book. I started writing my next book on healing a broken heart. I was back to work with my wellness business. I was on my own and making decisions again.
So when it came to the thoughts of finding the right person to spend the second half of my life with, I developed a list. I know this bothers some people but I really believe in knowing what you want. Let me back up. I think it is first important to know who you are! So take the time to get to know you. I had learned how to do this many years ago, when I was training to become Mrs. Minnesota. You had to be able to answer any questions about yourself, your views, your values, your likes and dislikes. I think everyone should do this anyway. I have asked people on occasion, “what do you want?” It could be in a mate, for themselves, in their job, anything. Many times the answer is “I don’t know.” Well, maybe it is time you know!
When you go through a major loss or break up: You need the time to regroup. Look at yourself deeply and see who you are and what you believe. Once you have done that and you are okay with you, and you are okay being alone. Then you develop an idea or in some cases a list of things that are important to you. I defined deal breakers as well. Some of my deal breakers were: I need to be with a Christian man, someone self-sufficient financially, a communicator, non-smoker and not a big drinker. I need to be with someone who is honest, loyal, respectful, kind and loving. Those were non negotiables. Then I listed out things I would like. This list was lengthy, but it was so I had an idea of what I like and do not like. I was manifesting a man so that I would know him when I met him. I think it is important to be the right person before we look for the right person. This is where the work comes in.
It’s time to work on YOU! Forgive yourself and others for past mistakes or lessons. Start with a clean slate. This is a whole process in itself. I encourage you to improve your health, mindset, faith, finances, friendships, and qualities that you are looking for in others. Cultivate peace, love and joy in your life. One of the best pieces of advice I received is to go volunteer at a charity. Do it regularly and give selflessly, it will fill your heart with the right kind of love until it spills over! Turn away from negativity. Stop giving power to the negativity of your story, other people, and yourself. Don’t get stuck in the blame game or a victim role, take responsibility for where you went wrong or where you can do better and move forward! I do my best to speak well of my kid’s dad. I don’t even say “ex” husband, because it carries negativity! I wish my former husband well, I pray for the day that we can have peace in our family unit and find the new way to be when we are together.
I am visualizing my broken heart stronger than before. It is more capable of loving than ever before!
Here’s to being your best you, with a stronger heart.