Two years after a divorce that left her confused and frustrated, Lucy walked into the sexology clinic seeking to rebuild her life. She had met a new love interest and was not sure how to respond.
She had come for counseling to help move her life forward. She hoped to re-learn how to love, how to trust a man again and how to avoid the errors of yester-years.
Lucy’s experience is a common occurrence. Many relationships are breaking up, both before and after marriage.
Breakups, separation and divorce are difficult experiences. They happen when the physiological needs for sex and intimate connection are still present and strong, not in the elderly who may care less for these.
They are further complicated by need for a soul mate in whom to confide as one goes through troubles of this life.
Divorce cases in the Kenyan courts have been rising over the years. There were about 101 cases in the year 2001. These rose to about 250 last year.
However court processes are complex and expensive, and many couples simply part ways without seeking a legal separation.
For every case of divorce that ends in the courts, there are several thousands of break-ups, separations and divorces settled out of court.
“I hear you doctor,” Lucy said, “So how do I pick up the pieces and start again?”
You need to understand your situation to be able to take control of it. First, you will feel that all the men are taken and you have no one left for you now that you have parted ways with the one you were meant for.
Many people feel this way and so fall victims of even worse circumstances by dating every Tom, Dick and Harry who approaches them, thinking that these men are doing them a favour.
You need to be confident to say no when you do not feel like the time to start another relationship is nigh or if the man is wrong for you. Maintain your pride and only go for Mr Right.
Remember that your relationship just ran into trouble because you could not cope with the other person. That does not mean you are a reject.
Another common feeling is that you are no longer as beautiful as you were before.
You may have had a baby or two in the course of the ended relationship. Your weight may be just above what you desire. You may have a scar from Caesarean section and your body could have had its share of battering from the ups and downs of life.
But you know what? There is more to beauty than the physical body. Your self-confidence and the esteem with which you carry yourself is what matters.
If you feel hopeless you tend to attract less serious people to your life and vice versa. Compose yourself and be proud of the many things that make you unique and beautiful.
Some women feel unsure of how to handle their new mates physically. “I feel like the world has moved on and I really do not know what is currently expected of me as a lover,” Lucy said.
“My sex life had become routine and boring by the time I was getting divorced.”
Studies have shown that men prefer to relate with divorced women because of the wealth of experience that they have acquired in their previous relationships.
You are not an amateur in matters of the bedroom, so you should not undermine the competence gained through experience of the many years.
Finally, there is always a question of how soon you should start a new relationship after the separation and even then, how fast you can go physical with the new lover.
Remember that divorce or separation can make you emotionally vulnerable and you can easily fall in the hands of scavengers.
Allow yourself time to grieve so that you come to terms with the separation.
When you do not feel anything for your ex and are in perfect control of your circumstances, then you can start thinking of new relationships.
The recovery time can take years. The more patient you are, the better.
Once you make a new start, do not forget the basics. Do not rush into unprotected sex. HIV infection is still a big threat. You also do not want unplanned pregnancies.
Most important, you have values around sex that still apply as much as they did before you got married or entered into the ended relationship.
Uphold those values and plan your sex life accordingly.
“Good enough doctor, expect a wedding invitation soon,” Lucy said as she waved goodbye, smiling warmly.