Pre-dating preparation usually begins with single parents having to recover from something: a death, a divorce (or relationship breakup), or some other significant loss. But you are deceived if you think that once you've "recovered," you've moved past that pain forever.
Tragedy changes us forever. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, but do not be mistaken, it changes us forever. One of the biggest mistakes I have seen countless singles make is assuming that because they or their dating partner graduated from a support ministry, there no longer exists a residue of pain in their heart. Because the intensity of pain has lifted does not mean that you have learned everything you needed to learn or have moved past your pain. Sadness, pain, and doubt will coexist with faith, at some level, throughout life. You are forever different—in both positive and negative ways.
If you are a single parent who has been through a death or divorce, as you ponder how your life has changed, here are three points to chew on.
Humble yourself enough to admit that you are changed. Real recovery does not transport you back to being the person you were before the tragedy; it incorporates who you were with who you have had to become. Be open to discovering this and integrating these various parts of you.
Keep in mind that your kids are different, too. As I've written in each of my other books, children never recover from the death of a parent or parental divorce. They live the rest of their lives in the shadow of that event. Yes, they are resilient and quite capable of adapting to the new normal of their family, but no, they don't stop wondering about what might have been, wishing that broken relationships would mend, or grieving the multitude of losses that keep accumulating since the death or divorce.1