Are you no longer legally married and trying to figure out how to date again?
This article will help you realize that nothing is impossible and will teach you how not to make the same mistakes when it comes to dating.
When my marriage ended, dating someone was the last thing on my mind. Thanks to good friends and an excellent relationship counselor, I finally overcame my fear of dating.
After several dating sites and paid memberships, I put myself out there and got back into dating. Once I unburdened myself from the idea that the date would define my future, I started enjoying meeting people, and eventually, I met my new husband.
I know it’s hard to open yourself up after getting hurt, but there is love in this world, and you deserve it all!
So, without further ado, let’s see why and how dating after divorce is possible!
How long should you wait to start dating after divorce?
Getting divorced is tough – no doubt about it! Some are amicable, others get messy, and looking for a specific timeframe that fits everyone is a total waste of time.
When you get back into the dating game largely depends on how you are coping with the situation. Are you relieved to be single again? Are you dreading the thought of starting anew? Are you still counting your losses?
Although there’s no specific number to aim for, therapists suggest giving yourself a few months, if not up to a year, before you start dating again.
You should use this time to “regroup.” Leaving a dysfunctional relationship behind may feel like a blessing, but that’s not all you are leaving. You are also saying goodbye to the good moments, happy memories, a home, the pet you were sharing, or maybe even children.
The worst thing you could do is jump on a dating app and look for instant gratification. It may feel refreshing to meet someone new and enjoy some good sex, but is that the right way to deal with the emotions still running high after your separation?
Some people rush into a new relationship, still carrying the old baggage and still dealing with old feelings, grudges, or even the ex-partner themself. By doing so, you are setting yourself up for failure.
On the other hand, taking some time off will do wonders for your mental and emotional health. Sit with yourself! Reflect, heal, and grow! Before falling in love with anyone, fall in love with who you are becoming.
Self-awareness is key when getting back on the dating scene because you may hurt yourself and “damage” someone else, which is not fair!
How do you know you’re ready to date and find a new partner again?
There’s no fixed period that will have to pass before you’re ready to swim in the dating pool again. Your confidence and preparedness to let go of your past relationship and open up to meeting new people will tell the best when you are ready.
Here are some tips from the experts that will help you determine whether you are ready to set sails again.
The best way out is through
The divorce may have put a strain on you, and you may want to seek distractions to keep your mind off the painful separation process. Although there is no right method for dealing with a divorce, seeking distractions will only save the hurt for later.
Sitting with all the strong emotions and dealing with the breakdown of your marriage head-on will help you to process the relationship – grieve; heal; figure out what went wrong; find closure, and hence the confidence to move on. And you don’t have to do this all alone. Going to therapy and talking to friends or people in support groups may make this process much easier.
Allow yourself to mourn and to feel so that your next partner doesn’t have to carry your emotional baggage.
When you think you have made peace with your past relationship and built up confidence, then it is your sign that you’re ready to date again.
You’re not looking for a rebound
One of the distractions that some may think is a great way to get over their ex is dating. However, those unhealed wounds from a divorce aren’t just magically going to heal when you start hanging out with new people. Not only will you probably end up being hurt again, but you will also hurt the other person.
So, instead of dating because you’re lonely and hurt, surround yourself with precious people you already have in your life until you heal. When the time comes, and you don’t feel the need to date to patch up your damaged parts, that’s when you’ll know you’re ready.
How to start dating after divorce
Wait Until It’s Official
Even though there is no specific timeframe for when you can start dating again, you should wait at least until you’re officially divorced, so you can have enough time to recover.
The best way out is through, so processing the separation as it happens is the best you can do for yourself, even though you’d probably want to find distractions not to feel this painful process. Taking time to heal and find closure will give you the confidence you need to move on and meet someone new.
Take Things Slow
It will take some getting used to before you feel comfortable in your skin as a singleton. Divorced women are better at taking things slow than divorced men, but there is no general rule.
Instead of rushing headfirst into a new relationship, whether emotional or sexual, spend some time getting to know this potential partner. Maintain regular communication – talk over the phone, text, do some video calls, and perhaps grab a casual coffee together. There is no need to label things right away.
Set reasonable expectations
To do so, first, ask yourself the real reasons you want to go back to dating. Are you leaning more toward marriage or just a casual connection?
Once you determine your goals, look for a healthy amount of chemistry, emotional intelligence, similar worldviews and values, a good sense of humor, and overall compatibility. Otherworldly sex may be great, but it’s not always the best guideline.
Don’t dwell on the past
What is the biggest turn-off on a date? Talking about your ex-spouse.
It’s great to be honest and tell your date what’s going on with your life, but going on a rant about your failed relationship and post-marriage dating flops is one of the major red flags!
To attract healthy people, you need to do your inner work first.
Give chemistry a chance to kick in
Chemistry is very important when it comes to finding a new partner. If you need to get drunk to get in bed with them, it’s not going to work.
Chemistry is also dangerous because people mistake it for compatibility, and once it wears off, they notice there isn’t much there except good sex.
So if you think you have found someone you feel you can be yourself with, give them a chance and genuinely enjoy their company. Chemistry sometimes takes time to bubble up.
Watch out for red flags
Dating after divorcing a marriage may be hard at first, especially when you haven’t been in the dating scene for a while, but you shouldn’t just settle for the first person you meet.
Ignoring deal-breakers and signs your gut is sending you just because you want someone to take your mind off your ex will probably do you more harm than good. Take your time getting to know your potential partner, and always trust your intuition if you notice that something is off.
Stay informed about dating online
For some people, online dating wasn’t even a thing when they got married the first time. I’m pretty sure navigating a dating website is easy, but cracking down on cyber dating post-divorce can be challenging. There are tons of con artists, gold diggers, and low-lives aiming for your bank accounts.
Luckily there are dating sites like Separated, where divorced people can safely and comfortably look for matches for a serious, long-term relationship or marriage.
Be careful with your kids and family
Dating after a marriage breaks down is uncharted territory. You may find true love, but you may also run into a total douchebag that only looks like your soulmate.
Many will feel honest and trustworthy when you meet people, but don’t expect your children always to share your enthusiasm. They need to come first in life, and they need to know that at all times!
How to meet people as a divorcee
Once you’ve mourned, processed, and made peace with your previous relationship, you will be ready to move on. But as it’s probably been some time since you’ve been in the dating world, you may feel a bit lost and like you don’t know how to meet new people anymore. There are plenty of ways, though.
Try online dating
Online dating apps are the most common way to make new acquaintances nowadays. There are many different apps available, and they have different focus areas. So before you sign up for one, you should have a clear idea about what you’re seeking.
If you’re looking for something serious, dating apps and sites like eHarmony, OkCupid, and Match.com could be good choices. On the other hand, apps like Tinder are best suited for those who would rather have something casual and short-term.
Whichever you choose, it’s important to be honest about what you’re looking for, so you can connect with people who want the same as you.
Another great way to meet potential dates is by getting involved in activities you already enjoy. Those may be events in your child’s school that you’ve already been attending, throwing a neighborhood party or organizing quiz nights.
These relaxed settings are great for meeting potential matches. If you’re nervous about it, though, you can always ask a friend to introduce you to their single friends they think you may like.
Enroll in a class
Breakups can spark new interests and hobbies. People often realize that their interests have changed from what they were in the past when given the freedom to explore the things they love on their own.
So if there’s anything you’ve always wanted to do, enroll in a class if it’s available. This can be anything you’d want to explore further, from cooking and dancing to photography.
The best thing about attending classes in anything you’re passionate about is that you are already surrounded by people who share your passion. So if there is anyone in your class you’re attracted to, you already know that you have something in common.
Join a meetup app
An even easier way to meet a potential date is by joining an app like Meetup that can match activities you like with people you can do them with. Some of these apps are exclusively for single or divorced individuals. All you have to do is select a localized app and go to events you think you’ll enjoy.
Also, meetup groups frequently communicate online in between gatherings, which is another excellent way to meet new friends.
Rules for dating after divorce – what to do on your first date
If thinking about dating after signing the papers gives you a headache, you are not alone. For many women and men who have been married for several decades, going out with someone new post-divorce is a dreadful thought.
But going alone through life is hard. Loneliness creeps in quite fast after you become single again, and here you are, about to dive into the dating pool.
Here are all the Dos and Don’ts for a first date:
Do Go Easy
Aim for a place with a light atmosphere – not too fancy, nothing too casual. Focus on getting to know each other without of pressure of figuring out where this is going on your first date. Smile, flirt, and enjoy each other’s company.
DON’T Give Them the Third Degree
It is a date, not an interrogation. There is no need to rush into learning everything about your date in one outing. It’s impossible, and it quite frankly reeks of despair. The most important thing is to let them open up, not bury them under a pile of questions.
DO Have Realistic Expectations
A first date doesn’t always lead to a relationship, nor does it point to marriage. Don’t burden yourself with thoughts like “I want us to work out” or “I hope she/he is the one.” Having realistic expectations will save you from a lot of heartache.
DON’T Talk about Your Ex
As we already mentioned, talking about your ex can be one of the worst things to do on a date and a real deal-breaker!
DO Give Compliments
We all like to hear a compliment or two, especially when the ego is bruised after a divorce. Take the pressure off your potential partner and tell them what you like about them. Of course, try to sound natural, not creepy.
DON’T End up in Bed with Them
Dating after divorce can be confusing, so you may want to postpone going back to their place until you are sure of their intentions (and yours). To give your future relationships a chance, you must first be careful with your emotions.
DO Aim for 50/50 Communications
The first few dates are all about communication. Say whatever you want to say about yourself, and then listen to what your potential partner has to say. Allow them to pick up the conversation, and don’t be afraid of awkward silences.
DON’T Answer your Phone
That is pretty self-explanatory. Unless it’s a real emergency, lay off your phone and focus on your date!
Tips for Dating After Divorce – Grieve and Move On
A paced return to the dating world after a divorce is a healthy way to recover your love life. Don’t be discouraged by a previous bad experience or a difficult divorce. Eventually, the wheel will turn, and you’ll find the right person/partner. Your next relationship might just be around the corner.