Have you fallen into the Dating Vulnerability Trap?
I often see clients in the throes of divorce decide to begin dating. They may be looking for an escape from the pain they are experiencing or a few hours of fun with someone who has nothing to do with their current life. Unfortunately, what often happens, is that the client who is looking for a way to get away from the pain walks right into what I’ll call the ‘dating vulnerability trap.’
Certain personality types are expert at finding the most vulnerable person and leading them right into their trap.
1. First, they start with expressing their own vulnerability.
2. Then that they tell you they’ve never met someone like you.
3. They text and call (sometimes hourly) telling you they’ve never felt like this about anyone before.
4. You begin feeling totally connected, not initially wanting to get involved with anyone, all of a sudden you think you’ve found ‘the one.’
5. They may express interest in introducing you to friends and family (expressing that they’ve never before introduced anyone to them).
6. Finally, you let your guard down, expecting that you won’t need to date anymore-how lucky you were to find this relationship so quickly!
This may last a few weeks, even a few months and then all of a sudden – POOF, they disappear (also referred to as Ghosting). Your heart is broken! In addition to everything you are dealing with in your divorce, keeping a happy face for your children and showing up every day for work, you now fall apart again over this person who dropped out of your life as quickly as they dropped in without any explanation.
Sound familiar? You’ve fallen into the ‘Dating Vulnerability Trap!’
The issue is not that there’s anything wrong with you! In fact, you’re behaving perfectly normally, you just aren’t ready to date.
Divorce knocks you down and it takes work to get back up. Your self-esteem may be shot, your ex has been feeding you everything that’s wrong with you or maybe, feeding you nothing at all. It’s no wonder you fall prey to this type of individual!
You need time to process what you’re going through or have been through. Without doing that work, you’re likely to continue to repeat the mistakes of your past and allow someone new to stomp all over your heart. What can you do?
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1. What went wrong in my marriage?
2. What were my expectations?
3. What was missing?
4. Who am I as an individual-not a wife/husband/parent?
5. What makes me happy?
6. What’s great about me?
7. What are my values?
8. If you’re typically attracted to the same type of person but the relationship never seems to work, think about what is missing in your life that you’re trying to compensate for.
It’s helpful to work with a good therapist or Divorce Coach who can help you (we’re always are own worst critic). Take the time to process your divorce, grieve the relationship and work on letting go of the hurt and anger. It’s not until you figure out who you really are and have the confidence to embrace it that you’ll find someone who compliments you, respects you equally and offers you the relationship you deserve.