BROKEN relationships are usually hard to get over, but eventually there will come a time when the parties involved will feel the need to move on and start afresh. But dating after a divorce can be complicated, especially if the marriage was long-lasting and involves children.
Dr Fred Hickling, professor of psychiatry at the University of the West Indies, said when considering the issue of dating after a divorce or the end of a relationship, one should not carry emotional or economic baggage to the new union.
According to Dr Hickling, this usually causes conflict and in a bid to avoid such occurrences, he suggested separating emotional and economic needs from the relationship.
Dr Hickling also explained that bad-talking your ex with your new spouse can turn into a very messy situation.
Some other dos and don'ts when dating after a divorce include:
1. Don't use the opportunity to cast blame
In any marital problem, it's never the fault of one person. Being able to assess what went wrong is good and it will help eliminate the adversarial feeling towards your ex-spouse.
2. Don't repeat past mistakes
Dr Hickling suggests that this may be difficult as it is likely that the new partner may be very similar to the previous one and conflict is almost always repeated. Where you recognise where the fault was, seek professional help if necessary.
3. Do seek counselling
According to Dr Hickling, a counsellor will help you work through conflict.
4. Try out support groups
Join a divorce support group as the participants may be having similar feelings as you.
5. Do protect boundaries
Look out for sexual or emotional predators who provide a shoulder to cry on, then pounce. Divorcees should beware of rebound or pity relationships.
6. Don't punish yourself
There's no good in allowing yourself to look like damaged goods. Seek to grow in a holistic way, which includes body, mind and spirit.
7. Don't be subjected to stigma
"It is often religious settings which can be hypocritical, as many of these people are emotionally divorced but keep up an appearance though they are sleeping in different beds at home," consultant psychiatrist Dr Anthony Allen said.
8. Use it as a time of reflection
When dating after a divorce, take time out to reflect, regroup and grow with your new partner. Dr Allen suggested that you use it as a learning process.