Life after divorce can be a difficult and confusing experience to navigate. In this episode Dr. John and Dr. Morgan sat down with Marcus, a recently divorced individual who is learning how to develop a new sense of self after his marriage ended. Marcus discusses his anxious attachment style and Dr. John and Dr. Morgan share some ways his attachment style may show up in his future relationships as well as make suggestions as to what Marcus can do during this time of self-discovery to be more prepared for his next relationship.
Some of the takeaways from the episode include:
1. Use being single as an opportunity for self-development
It is important to allow yourself transition time after a divorce. This reconstruction period gives can provide you with an opportunity to get to know yourself without the strong voices and influences that have been present in your life.
For example, if you’re coming out of a relationship with a partner who was critical or controlling, like Marcus described, you may need time to explore your own thoughts, preferences, and ideas.
Some exploratory questions include:
- Who was I then and who do I want to become?
- How do I want to approach X, Y, and Z differently in my life? In my relationships?
- What gives me meaning or purpose? How does this change being out of my relationship? What can I do to deepen my sense of meaning and purpose in life?
- What are things I have wanted to do, but felt like I couldn’t?
Answering these questions can help you create the 2.0 version of yourself and make the reconstruction a period of productivity and growth!
2. Spend time imagining + planning your future relationships
This time is an opportunity to reflect on your past relationships and what you want to do differently moving forward.
There are two areas of pattern to consider:
- How do you show up in your relationships?
- What types of partners do you typically choose?
Luckily each area impacts the other. When you start to show up differently, you will inevitably attract different types of partners.
When you choose differently types (hopefully healthier) partners, you will find it easier to show up differently in your relationship.
By putting in the work outside of a relationship, you can prevent the past from repeating itself and really define the type of person you are looking for.
Here are some key things to remember:
- Partner selection is very important – identify what you are looking for. What are your deal breakers and what are some red flags you want to pay attention to next time around?
- Consider your boundaries. Where do you tend to move too quickly and how can you create a plan to slow down your pace?
- Brainstorm what kind of a relationship you want before you jump in? Plans are much easier to develop before you have feelings of love, attraction, and attachment.
3. Your attachment style can illuminate needed areas of personal growth
Identifying your attachment style can provide empowering insight that can help you understand more clearly how you show up in your relationships.
An anxious attachment style tend to rely heavily on others when they feel anxious. They tend to seek reassurance that “we’re ok”…”that you still love me”…”that you are still find me attractive” more than other attachment styles.
This regular “checking in” can become annoying, at best, or even debilitating to a relationship. For an anxious attachment style, learning how to self-soothe vs. soothe through your partner becomes an essential skill.
Self-soothing techniques and recommendations are just a short Google away, but consider using your time outside of a relationship to experiment with what you find helps when you feel anxious. Consider experimenting with different techniques and fine tuning this skill before you get into your next relationship.
What else is there?
To learn more, listen to the full episode.
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