One of the hardest things to deal with when you are newly single is how life continues to whirl along without any regard to the trauma which you have just gone through. You’re still moving back and forth between your “before” life and where you are now as you try to get comfortable with this new role of yours.
You have your days where you think you’re ready to move on, and sometimes you just can’t imagine letting go. But either way you believe you have to jump at the opportunities presenting themselves or you’ll be stuck forever.
Lisa, a newly single friend of mine, told me recently that she was going out on her first date, with a guy whose situation was very similar to hers. They had met once before, but really didn’t know each other. She was cautious, but felt ready to take that step just for the company of someone new. He was a smart and funny but just as uncomfortable as she was stepping out alone. They both longed for an evening of good conversation and dinner with someone new. Nothing serious of course, just dinner and conversation.
That afternoon though, Lisa called me for help. She was having second thoughts about the whole going out thing, but didn’t want to cancel. Then the more we talked though, the more excited she sounded about going.
The usual bundle of nerves took over as she vacillated between “what the heck, why not?” and “what the heck am I doing?”
Fortunately, we were in the “why not” frame of mind that evening when the doorbell rang. She put on a big, brave smile and opened the door and off to dinner they went. Mission accomplished!
Later that evening Lisa called to tell me about her date. It seems that mixed emotions took over not too long after they sat down for dinner. While they were looking at the menu, a feeling came over her that she just wasn’t in the right place.
So many things brought back memories, and it still felt raw.
They both floundered a little for conversation that didn’t focus on their respective spouses and you could hear the sadness in her voice as she described that struggle. Maybe neither one was ready, but they were both very brave for trying.
We coached through the situation that night and Lisa realized she needed a little more time to embrace and become her new single self, fully. She wanted so badly to move forward, but her memories took her back to a place that felt comfortable and familiar and she stayed there mentally throughout the whole date. This admission alone was a milestone for her. She worked through defining what “happy” means to her and the steps she would need to take to move closer to it. Turtle steps were all she could handle.
I’m happy to say that this actually ended up as a one step backwards – two steps forward dance.
Lisa recognized that the evening gave her the nerve to move forward.
She’s stepping out by herself more often now and not afraid to take a good book and head for a restaurant. And she’s becoming acutely aware that she isn’t the only one dining alone. A table for one doesn’t sound so bad after all. As for dating, well let’s just say that she is still enjoying the newfound freedom of her own company and this beautiful person she’s becoming. But stay tuned!