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New Year Advice Needed

F Updated
Hi all Happy New Year - I hope we all continue to make progress in 2016 and I wish you settled lives. I have been living alone since August having managed to get away from my verbally abusive, emotionally retarded husband. I am happy to be away from the abuse and do not long for him as I don't love him, but after 37 years, my single status is taking a lot of getting used to and I understand that it will take me a long time to adjust. This weekend I was wondering why I cannot yet define myself as 100% happy. But I was abused. Just because that abuse is no longer there doesn't mean I should now be satisfied. It merely gives me a chance to find my life. But how do I make another life? I have many good friends and plan to go out and be part of the local community. Join a choir etc. Over the Christmas break, I took many long country walks and every couple you meet has a dog. I have never had a dog before (not even as a child) but feel that if I get one it might give me a focus. It might help me meet new people. On the other hand at this early stage in my readjustment to single life, I wonder if it might be a big mistake. What do you think? And where do I start? Also, what about Internet dating; how long should I wait until I begin to look for someone else? I am not even sure I want someone else if I meet another man like him.... How do I stop myself from making the same mistake. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Have you gone through this aftermath period and come out the other side having learned some lessons you can pass on? Or even - can you give me any advice on dog ownership?

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Thanks Vastra. I have been asking around my new village about taking local dogs for walks, and there is a lovely lady across the road with 2 Yorkshires that need a bit of airing!

I am grateful for the advice I have been given here. I know I am expecting too much. So I am just trying to take one day at a time and pleasure in small things and be grateful for what I have now that each day I am with me not needing anyone else for happiness.
Great advice from Eliza and HKHD. Hold off on any major decisions for as long as you can, 4 months is a short time and you'll probably still be reeling from the shock. I also toyed with the dog idea and my compromise to my kids is that once we have secured the fences, we will mind other people's dogs for short periods. It's a huge responsibility which I chose not to take on. You could potentially foster dogs or take them for respite from a shelter?
As for not being 100% happy, perhaps don't set that as your goal as you will probably be disappointed! Maybe focus instead on making a meaningful life for yourself and learning to weather the emotions that come and go (I'm still working on this). It takes time to heal from an abusive relationship, and I agree with Eliza that until you really understand what happened and why you tolerated that, best to steer clear of relationships. I'm still very wary despite my friends wanting me to get out dating again, and it's coming up to 3 years for me now. When I'm feeling like I'm totally self-sufficient and have the right balance of work and fun in my life then I will consider it again.
Thanks. This is great advice and a wake up,call. I think it will tread water for a while.....,
I thought about getting a dog. I used to have one years ago. Whilst they provide championship, if I admit it I didn't want to be alone. Then I came to my senses - my kids were growing up and I was either at work or out - who would look after it? What about its food and vets bills on top of what it was already costing me sorting out the divorce. Do you have the time to invest in a dog - look at your lifestyle, etc. I'm not trying to put you off but these are all things that need seriously thinking about as a pet isn't for everyone. Dogs live depending on their breed for says 8-16 years, sometimes longer.

As for internet dating - well all I can say is you need skin thicker than a crocodile. Only you will know when it is right for you to get back into the dating game. First of all you need to love yourself, find yourself again, the real you. Learn to be alone and like it, find new hobbies, etc. It takes a lot of courage to get out there again and join new groups and make new friends, especially if you have been rejected. Accept any social invitation you can even if you don't feel like going. I mainly did this and to start off with the hassle of getting ready, etc was a real chore, but then I began to enjoy it. When you are newly single and have confidence in yourself it shines through. Instead of smiling at people before they look at you, smile after they look, it will give you a boost of they smile back, if not, their loss. The first time I went out as a single woman after 20 plus years of being in a relationship I got asked out!! Of course I ran a mile and then some. It boosts your confidence though and yes you will make mistakes along the way, probably lots of them, but you will learn from them and make your own set of rules to suit you.

Good Luck
I have just put down a deposit on a dog, so I get that. The part I don't get is internet dating.

You were married to an abusive man for 37 years, and have been apart just four months. It astonishes me that you are even thinking about dating (internet or other). I know of course that different people 'get over' or 'move on' at different speeds, but my concern is that you seem to be rushing from one relationship to another (human or canine).

I have to tell you, as someone who was utterly dependent on my husband, that being alone has been a bit scary. I have realised that I don't know what *I* think, only what he or we think. I suspect (especially with the abuse) there may be similarities in your case, and my advice to you would be to get more comfortable with your own company before you try to find happiness with someone else.

Look around you here on wiki. There are people who have been divorced for years and are still struggling to make sense of it all. It is a struggle, but a worthy one.

A friend who divorced before me once gave me some advice. It was too soon for me to know what to do with it, as it may be for you, but I repeat it here. It stayed in my mind, and has been useful to me.

If you fall into the water (she said) your first instinct is to paddle back to the shore from which you fell. But sometimes it is best to tread water for a while, and see if there isn't something you prefer in another direction.

My husband walked out on us over three years ago now, and it took me almost all of that time to get up off the floor. For quite a lot of it, I wanted him back. That was me wanting the familiar shore. For now I am enjoying learning how well I can tread water, when all this time I thought I would drown.

Incidentally, I have always wanted a dog but my x was or claimed to be very allergic, so we never did. When he left the children asked 'can we get a dog now?' All the same, I waited for three years before looking into it and am still agonising over whether it is a good idea, given it is a 15 year, 7 days a week commitment. You sound to me as though you are flailing about a bit - quite understandably! - and I would urge you not to make any hasty decisions EVEN about a dog. Take it easy. Tread water. Get to know yourself first. I recommend psychotherapy to understand how you chose and stayed with an abusive man for 37 years (I got a year on the NHS and it was very valuable). Be kind to yourself by not rushing into anything, even if it does have the seemingly useful side effect of distracting you from your pain.

Going for walks is great! Meeting people is great! You can continue to do that without dating, and without a dog. (You could maybe borrow one - there are websites for this.) Don't run away from confronting your hurt, and your part in it, so that you can form new relationships that are happier and healthier. It can be painful, but it will be worth it, and you will feel much better about yourself.

Why not give yourself 2016 to learn, lick your wounds, grow, and not make any hasty decisions? That's my advice. Good luck.