I'm not quite sure if I'm ready yet.

But then again, is anyone ever really ready, post-divorce, to put themselves out there again?

With my divorce being legally finalized (Alhamdulillah), I'm starting to reflect on where I'm at with respect to wanting a life partner. Personally, I don't think I've ever felt this happy and grounded. I'm completely accepting of being my own company, haven't felt "lonely" in quite some time, and my self-confidence is newfound. I'm blessed that I'm able to support myself, emotionally and financially, and stand independently on my own two feet. I'm striking a balance between work, family, friends, and leisure - and as my friends would put it, I'm "doing me" and living the way that feels the most true to myself. I am definitely happy.

I could further say that given how good and stable things are, I shouldn't rock the boat. Not that thinking about wanting a companion is a bad thing per se (or that seeking one would happen right away!) - just that there's so much that comes with this. I'm partly apprehensive about re-entering that sphere given that the last time I did was over four years ago and things have drastically changed since then. I'm also weary of the process of getting to know someone from scratch - as "exciting" as that may be, I worry about the lack of honesty, sincerity and openness from the other person's behalf. With me, what you see is what you get, yet too many times the means of securing a relationship is to win at this "game". I'm not up for games, appearing "mysterious", or presenting myself in a way that isn't real or substantial. 

Having said all of this, I do wonder about how I would be perceived with the "D" word being attached to my past. While there have been great strides in breaking down the taboo of divorcees seeking relationships, it absolutely still holds stigma. I wonder about my decision to eliminate a certain culture from my "wanted" list and the impact this would have on who I'd connect with; and about who I'd attract given all the changes I've recently been through, the discerning eye I'd be using, and my "screening network" consisting of a couple of close friends. 

Age wise, I don't feel pressured to rush into anything and refuse to accept people's attempts at pointing out that my biological clock is ticking. Whatever is destined for me is destined, and I cannot change that. Having already endured an unhealthy marriage, I am not at all willing to sacrifice complete happiness with a partner for the sake of breeding children

I also think the biggest indicator that I could be ready is the fact that I am wanting a companion, and not needing one. I'm not so sure that this was the case when I was looking four years ago. Divorce forces individuals to not only heal from the wounds they've endured, but essentially to rebuild a new life, often alone but with supports in place. I could probably sustain myself with my career, family, social network and interests for the rest of my life. I don't need a companion per se, but I am starting to feel that I would like to have one, since I really do believe that life is meant to be shared. Especially since I've discovered this new person and the faith I hold that I wouldn't allow myself to ever be in an unhealthy relationship again.

And my approach would be very different from how I proceeded in the past. Nothing would be apparent or shared on social media; select friends would be involved from the get-go, especially with online platforms; while marriage is the intention, it's not looming over my head in terms of "as soon as possible"; I'd be emotionally guarded until I felt that basic requirements had been met and compatibility had been achieved; I'd be more focused on the quality and depth of friendship that can be achieved first than feeling anything "romantic"; the questions I'd be asking and conversations I'd want to have would need to be substantial and meaningful, and if they're not, I'm not sacrificing what I want just to be polite; and on that note, I will not be afraid to end things when my gut tells me that something is off.  I'm definitely feeling more assertive and confident around asserting what I want.

Looking back at the boundaries I set around not putting myself out there until my divorce was finalized and around a year had passed since the separation, I think this was the healthiest choice I made. Too often, people get into "rebound relationships" or start dating again while in the process of healing, since the feeling of being alone is more difficult to endure than a relationship based on unhealthy parameters. Everyone's needs are different, but for me, the space and time I had not only allowed me to heal from a broken marriage, but from so much else that I was carrying. I feel very blessed and thankful for this :)

And so, as the month of Ramadan proceeds and I'm constantly praying for guidance as to what to do, I'm hoping to find some answers for the direction I should move in. While I am perfectly content with sitting back and seeing what happens, as my friend said, I need to take a step forward and inshallah Allah will run towards me with guidance. It does feel intimidating to think about marketing myself once again as an "eligible single person" and scary with respect to being vulnerable again. But part of me believes that I won't truly know if I'm ready until I take this step. This very small baby step with training wheels that are good friends!

Worse comes to worse, I'll use any "horror stories" as topics for future blog posts. Public shaming at its best ;)


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