Dear Dr. Love,I am a 39 year old female and have been divorced for 2 1/2 years, to a man I really loved but had to end the marriage because he was in love and seeing someone else, for this reason I didn’t have a choice but to ask for a divorce.Enough about the past, I am definitely going forward and really enjoying my life. I have been seeing an old friend of mine that I have been friends for 20 years. The nice thing about this is that I know him really well and there are no surprises about his past. I care deeply for him and would love to fall in love with him. He is kind, caring, generous, loves me very much and also loves my children. He is patient and will wait until ‘Cupid’ comes along. We have so much in common and are having a great time. The trouble is why is it so hard to fall in love with someone after a painful divorce? And is it possible to love someone you have seen as a friend for so long with no romantic feelings for him.I want to see’sparks’ and to fall in love, could this be possible?
You asked why it is so hard to fall in love again after divorcing. In your case, because your husband left you for another woman, I think your mind fears being rejected again. As a protection, your mind has numbed you ( it’s like you’re in an emotional cocoon); if you are numb to feelings of love, then you can’t fall in love and be hurt again.I know you say that you have worked through the loss and moved on. Unfortunately, the healing sounds like a burial in a shallow grave. I say this because the carcass of that failed marriage obviously still haunts you and keeps from moving on with another lover. I understand the temptation to bury a painful past, but in this case, it I think you need to exhume the marital remains and make sure that you have really worked-through all the feelings (anger, hurt, fear) associated with your husband ‘s horrible treatment of you. Next, in order to help you let down your guard with your lover, take a trip down memory lane. Do an honest evaluation of your ex. Search for tell-tale signs that he wasn’t trustworthy (signs that he was capable of infidelity).Oftentimes, during the dating phase, a woman will overlook these signs because she wants to believe in her man and the relationship. When you reexamine your ex. , with a cool eye, can you find signs that he wasn’t entirely trustworthy? Now, compare lover and your ex. . Do you see the same warning signs in your lover, or is he different? By making this honest comparison, you will probably find that: because you were burned, you have opened your eyes wide and can see your lover for who and what he is (unlike your first go around); knowing that you see your lover accurately and that you can’t be easily snowed should help you feel more confident to invest your heart in him.Finally, research shows that in cultures where arranged marriages are the norm (they don’t marry for love) they develop deep attachments over time and are very satisfied. Also, we know that many happily married couples admit to having been best friends before they fell in love. So, don’t worry, no matter how long it takes for your heart to thaw, your friend loves you enough to wait (would your ex. have done that?)So, be patient, make sure you have healed the wounds of your divorce, keep comparing your friend with your ex. and when you least expect it, Cupid will strike. Keep me posted and let me know when the arrow hits.