Divorce is a life-changer. One of the difficult parts of moving forward is dating. This can be a lot of fun or it can be draining, depending on how you see it. If you know you are ready and want to explore, dating after divorce can be exciting and much different from dating before your marriage. If you are hesitant and somewhat scared, it may be the exact opposite.
Is This The Right Time?
There is no “right” time on the calendar to get back to dating after a divorce. It depends on you– it depends on when you are ready, and not a day before. Friends and family can pressure you, no matter how well-meaning they may seem, but it is up to you to decide. Everyone needs space and time to heal from a divorce, and it’s okay to take the time you need.
How will I know when I am ready?
- You want to be romantically involved with someone again. Maybe it’s the guy you talked to last weekend at the coffee shop and got his number. You think that there might have been a spark and want to see where it goes.
- You no longer want to even think about getting back together with your ex.
- You have some idea (at least) of what you want in a relationship and new standards for yourself. Those can change after you grow within a relationship or marriage.
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The Journey Begins
Meeting new people can be a bit scary. Dating apps and/or websites can be beneficial, but require a bit of screening for safety reasons. People aren’t always who they say they are and you may not realize this until you are in a potentially unsafe situation. It’s suggested that meeting others through classes, meetups, etc are a safer way to find potential dates.
Of course, there’s the old-fashioned “blind date” through a friend or family member. Those can go really well or be a complete disaster. I think anyone who has dated at all has at least one terrible dating story. Don’t go into it afraid! Think of it as a new adventure, but just be careful.
Tips for the first big night:
- Find a new outfit if you have the money and time. Maybe a new haircut, makeup, etc. This can give you a boost of confidence, plus this can be a lot of fun. If you need a second opinion, take a friend.
- Make sure you take care of hygiene. It’s not fun to have onion ring breath from lunch or a dirty outfit. Check yourself out before leaving.
- If you have kids, mention this, but don’t make the entire conversation about them.
- Ask lots of questions- this helps you learn more about the person you’re with and whether you want a second date. They might be thinking the same about you.
- Don’t focus too much on your ex. Total buzz kill.
- Have fun! That is the main idea of the date, right?
- Put your phone down. The date is about trying to get to know someone new and that’s not possible if you are on social media.
- Be yourself! If someone wants to get to know you, they don’t want to know a person that you are pretending to be.
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What’s The Next Step?
Moving past the first date is different for everyone. Some people are ready to sleep with their date on the first night. Some want to wait a while or decide the first date was enough. Personalities clash or a couple can be better off as friends. I dated a couple of guys in high school, it didn’t work out and we remain friends.
Going into a relationship after a divorce can be tough- there are fears that things will go as badly as the marriage did among other issues. One factor in helping post-divorce relationships thrive is communication. Both parties need to be able to discuss what they do and do not want in a relationship, whether they are coming out of a divorce or other relationship. They need to be able to talk about their standards, as in what they will and will not tolerate from one another.
It’s also important to take a relationship at a speed that both parties are comfortable with. One may be reserved about how fast the relationship moves after divorce due to their own thoughts and beliefs. Post-divorce life adds other factors to relationships, like children and their comfort levels. Some children take months, if not years, to be fully okay with their parents dating again.
Your speed is the best speed. The hardest part is making the decision that you are ready to begin dating again and getting out there. You are the only person that can make that decision.