It’s hard to see a way out of the darkness when you are plunged into the abyss after a horrific break up.  And, the more unprepared you are for that moment, the greater the challenges will be for you to regain your equilibrium.  It may seem impossible, which is why more so than ever during those trying times,  you truly need to rely on the love and guidance of others to get you through to the other side.

Usually, I am the one responsible for guiding others to a brighter place.  For decades, hundreds have trusted me during their divorce process to walk them through the ordeal, and I can do it easily with a blindfold on.  But when the roles are reversed, and I am the one in need of assistance, I’ll admit it is an incredibly uncomfortable and humbling experience, and yet is it precisely in those most vulnerable moments that I am reminded of the grace and beauty that surrounds us all.

Last year, after discovering my ex’s deep betrayal in the middle of COVID, truth be told the very idea of returning to the dating scene was so unappealing that I thought I’d rather opt for another colonoscopy instead.  So, while everyone kept prodding me to just keep an open mind, I embraced the simple pleasure of whacking golf balls while listening to Beyonce’s song Irreplaceable– especially that line “since I’m not your everything, how about I’ll be nothing, nothing at all to you.  Baby, I won’t shed a tear for you… lose a wink of sleep, because the truth of the matter is replacing you is so easy.”

True to Beyonce’s prediction, replacing my ex (who later became a stalker) was not as difficult as I’d originally imagined, even during a pandemic.  Adopting to virtual dates, socially distant walks, and limited options for dining out took some adjustment, but in some ways these new methods of meeting people created a very efficient process for weeding out bad matches.  And maybe because we’ve all been dealt our blows during COVID, people are far more honest about their current circumstances and what they want for their future.

Putting yourself back out there after you’ve been burned is not easy, and I completely understand and respect someone’s choice to just fly solo.  Lots of my divorce clients choose to focus on their kids or careers while putting dating on the back burner, while others waste no time at all getting back into the dating pool.  It’s a personal choice that no one should judge, because at the end of the day we all have to accept that there is just a wide range in the capacity we each have to forgive, move on, and find love again.

I choose not to give up on the belief that the world is made up of far more good and kind people, despite some really bad apples out there.  Maybe the courage to remain cautiously optimistic stems from the stories I hear every day from those around me that have recovered from immense heartbreak.  That low point sucks, but it doesn’t have to define you.  Here’s hoping you too will find a way to see that light at the end of the tunnel.

By Regina A. DeMeo