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It's never easy changing your status to single from married.  Single.  It sounds simple, but it can feel complicated and weird.  Some of us just jump in, ready to fulfill what’s missing in our lives.  Some wait months or years to accept our new single lifestyle.

No matter when we let go of the past and move on, we expect our new single identity to pick up where it left off years ago.

Then, as if rejected by the “single world”, we realize it’s far more complicated than once thought.  We try to keep up with it, but eventually fall back into a world of "neither here, nor there.”  Ugh!

Romance so soon?

It's common to feel a little lonely following a divorce.  It's a probable reason so many get out of one bad marriage and right back into another.   While it's not wrong to seek time with someone you like and care about, don't just find a warm body to replace your former spouse.  It’s never a good idea to start a new romantic relationship while still getting over an ex.  At this stage, spending time with good friends and close family members will provide more comfort and empathy.  

You need friends who can understand what you're going through and friends who are as supportive as they are fun.  Socializing with good friends before dating is always a good idea.  Use the opportunity to develop lasting relationships that can help you heal following a divorce.   

It’s totally fine to have separate friends for separate occasions.  You can develop new or closer relationships with colleagues from work, parent’s you know from your child’s school, neighbors, etc.  Some friends will be great to go out on the town, others may be gym buddies or friends to stay home with and veg out.  Regardless, the important thing is to keep yourself socially active.

Figure out what you want for your life, your future and you'll know how a new relationship fits into that.  In doing so, you'll gain better vision of what you seek in a new dating partner and relationship.   After all, if you don't know what you want, what you would consider a successful relationship, how can you find it?   

If romance finds you sooner-than-later, just take the relationship slow and see where it goes.  Don't expect too much and make sure your new partner understands you're still emotionally processing your divorce.  Regardless if you think you are or not - you are.  So, take care of yourself first, rebound relationship second.

Can you find all of what you need in your career, your family or your home?  

If you and your former spouse were good friends as well as husband and wife, you were probably less socially active.  It may have seemed like career, family and home were enough when happily married; but, as the marriage changed and eventually ended, you may have notice something missing in your life.  It's something a new romantic relationship can't necessarily provide.  You need your friends.

Don't put your social life last on the list.  Your family benefits from your emotional stability and good health, both of which are improved with consistent socializing.

How does socializing really help you?

You're not a prisoner.  Isolation is a common tactic used for prisoners of war.  It's also used as a punishment in state prisons for prisoners.  Are you a prisoner?   If you aren’t in a war or a prison, the answer is no. 

So, get out there and make some friends.   Life is shorter than it seems.  That's because much of our life is not spent doing the things that bring us true happiness and satisfaction.  To keep control of your life, most of your time should provide you satisfaction, challenge, positive interactions with friends, family and eventually, a new romantic relationship.  Don't let the majority of your life be "just okay."  Take back control in order to stay healthy, happy, wealthy and wise.  

It reduces the crazies

There's a considerable amount of data that suggests socializing may reduce dementia and brain funk (aka "a few peas short of a veggie casserole").  This means if you're sitting at home alone, vegetating on Netflix® or Hulu® every night, you're not living your life and definitely not livin' the dream!  Ya know!?

Instead, you're letting a fantasy world of shows and movies unfold without you actually experiencing the real thing.  As time goes on, your brain doesn’t get the stimulation it needs to stay active.  Television and movies are great, but don't let them be your only connection to the outside world. 

Worse yet, once you get out into the real world you may wonder why all men don't look like Liev Schreiber, why your daily perspective seems narrow compared to Zac Efron and why you can't start your new single life with your son's hot baseball coach, like in Sweet Magnolias!?  Ya!  Why?  Why? Why can't our life be like that?  

Well, despite the answer, there's still something to be said about experiencing the real thing, being with friends and staying active, that provides an even better platform for discovery that our fantasy world and digital television can't provide!

According to Fit Minds, a cognitive stimulation therapy specialist site, social stimulation is important for optimal brain health. Human interaction significantly improves your cognitive skills. These skills include reasoning, contextual thinking, problem solving and decision making. Interaction such as conversation and activities with other people is very important to keep your mind sharp.  As you age, you naturally begin to lose cognitive function needed to maintain good relationship skills, tolerance and acceptance of others.  Social interaction throughout your life can improve your overall mental well-being and brain health.

It reduces depression

Do we really need to tell you that being around good friends makes you feel better?  Really?  Okay, obviously being able to talk about your day, gripe about your ex and dance until you drop, makes you feel better.  So go out.  Maybe you won’t dance, but you can talk, shop, play sports or just be with someone who shares similar interests, lifestyle and plans. 

It makes you healthier

Stress and anxiety are hard on your immune system.  They cause you to lose sleep, gain weight and become more susceptible to common illnesses.  They raise blood pressure and open the door for numerous issues like heart disease, diabetes and elevated levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol (both are extremely detrimental to long term good health).  

Being around good friends helps you forget about your problems.  It reduces stress, worry and improves sleep.  Good friend chats, nights out-and-about, vacations and a reliable buddy to call when you have had a terrible day reduces anxiety and keeps you healthy.  

Test it out

Go out with friends for the night.  Keep your mind and most of your conversation off your problems and just socialize.  Have fun, start conversations, ask questions, laugh and enjoy the night.  Most of you will feel different about your problems by nights end.  A new perspective will emerge. You'll have removed yourself from the intense concentration on your problems you formerly had before your outing.  When considering it later, it won't seem as plaguing.  Keeping socially and physically active will continue to erode such stress and anxiety from future problems.  Stick with it!

Get socializing

Life is short.  Don't waste another minute with a Hulu® intravenous drip (and no they don't really make those for real).   Get out there on or call some friends from work or school and socialize before you get demented, depressed and diseased.  Really.  Do we need to say anymore?


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