“I ditched the idea of dating again and decided to look after my three children."
By Joseph Kizza
Eight months after ending his two-year marriage, Moses Mukasa decided – rather reluctantly – to start dating again. Close friends and relatives had long advised him to get back to it “as soon as possible” or else “I would never let go of my past”.
Their premature divorce had come after several months of fighting and counter-accusations over extra-marital affairs.
Mukasa would accuse his wife of cheating on him, and she would throw the same jabs back at him. And by the time the divorce papers were unleashed, their rocky marriage had reached its breaking point. Before parting ways, they agreed that she would remain with their three-year-old daughter.
Months on, Mukasa resolved to throw a cloth over his past, dump it into the closet, throw away the key and start afresh. But this begs the question, how do you know you are ready to date again after separation?
“This wildly varies from person to person,” Judith Sills, a Philadelphia-based psychologist, is reported as saying by webmd.com.
“Everyone ends a relationship by grieving the emotional investment. For some people, that happens before they move out. Others are still emotionally married after the divorce is final,” she says.
And that’s somewhat the case with Mukasa. He says it took him eight months to finally get back to dating because “I needed some time to recover – to heal – as I did not seem to let go”. And he did albeit, understandably, with some degree of reluctance.
But not everyone is fortunate to recover from this emotionally-charged phase of their lives.
“I ditched the idea of dating again and decided to look after my three children,” says Monica Agasha, a 42-year-old retired school teacher now doing her own business.
Her separation from her husband of 10 years left her emotionally shattered that she elected never to engage herself with another man. Not even dating. And she seems to be managing well, considering it’s now five years since their divorce.
‘A little time to think’
But some argue that moving on and managing to keep your emotions at bay post-divorce requires that you are spiritually, mentally and financially sound.
“A woman especially will want to quickly get into a relationship if she does not have means to support herself,” weighs in Patrick Guma, who has gone down the separation lane once before.
“For me, I took my time to get back to dating since I had a well-paying job and was not troubled by finances. All I had to do is to keep my emotions at bay and concentrate on my job,” adds the graphics designer who will turn 33 next month.
While it might be easier for some people to spring right back into the dating game, others might take years or even never – like Agasha.
It’s important to give yourself “a little time to think, a little time to grieve, a little opportunity to find someone else,” Judith Sills is reported as saying.
For those who move on swiftly, it may be because they are sending a signal to their former lover, like 35-year-old Lillian Namukwaya.
“I assumed he was following my after-divorce life on social media and so I decided to prove a point to him. Within three weeks after the split, I hooked up with a previous ex [oh, yes!] who I had dropped for my latest ex. Two months later, I was being walking down the aisle!” she said.
And she made sure to splash their wedding pictures all over her Facebook page – primarily to prove to her ex that “I was done with him”.
Meanwhile, how easily you can open yourself up to new experiences can also determine how soon you can date again. If you are an introvert and prefer settling for the ‘couch-potato’ lifestyle, then it might be harder for you to hook up again.
But if you are into new experiences, like joining a sports club or attending events, it’s a lot easier to make new friendships that could potentially breathe fresh life into your emotional faculty.
Personally, I think it’s a question of if you want to get back to it and just entirely quit dating – forever.
You can follow Joseph @joekizza