Dating After Divorce

No one plans to be divorced and back on the dating scene, but it happens to many of us. 

Getting back into dating after you’ve been out of the scene for quite awhile can be confusing and scary, but there are things you can do to make it easier on your dates, your children – and yourself.

1. Don’t start dating right away. All your friends are telling you to get back on the horse, get out there, etc. Don’t do it. If you date when you are still emotionally raw from your divorce, you are going to make a hash of it, upsetting yourself and the people you meet. Before you start dating, make sure you have closure on your divorce, that you are not still actively angry, that perhaps you even understand why the divorce came about. And make sure you’re stable and not just looking for someone to fill a monetary or emotional void. Most importantly, do not date just because your ex is. This type of competitive dating is always going to end badly.

2. Minimize any mention of your ex. It would be abnormal if you never mentioned your ex-wife, but try to refrain from making an absent person more important than the one in front of you. No one is going to be as interested in the minutiae of your last relationship as you. In fact, they are probably going to find it entirely unappealing. If you find yourself unable to talk about anyone but your former wife, maybe you aren’t quite ready to date yet. Yes, if you’re both divorced you can bond over that, but don’t ever make a divorce the central theme in a new relationship. And if you can’t mention them without saying something negative, you may not be ready to date yet.

3. Don’t get serious right away. If you have just come out of a serious relationship – one that went wrong – you do not want to jump right into another one. Date as many people as you can so that you get a fair impression of the people out there and how you relate to them. Divorce is not generally great for the ego. As a result, you are likely to be a bit vulnerable, so don’t settle for the first person that pays attention to you.

4. Get ready. Before you start dating, you want to see yourself as an available, sexy, modern man. Get a haircut. But some new clothing. Change your facial hair. Work out. This isn’t shallow – it means you are paying attention to yourself and making yourself feel good. Dating is scary under the best of circumstances; it is bound to be more so if you’re trying it for the first time in ten years. And we all fall into patterns in relationships where perhaps we don’t take as much time with our appearances as we would when we are single. So make sure you are feeling your best mentally and physically before you get out there.

5. Engage. When you are out and about, notice the men around you at the grocery store, at the gym, and the bank. Chat with the guy who’s reading a book you like in your coffee shop. Even if you don’t end up dating everyone you talk to, you’ll be happier and more confident on your dates. It’s important to engage with the world outside a computer screen, so make sure you aren’t limiting your prospects unnecessarily.

6. Don’t look for a replacement. When you’ve been married for six years, you get into a way of being with someone that is vastly different to how you are when you first meet a girl. The level of familiarity you develop with a spouse cannot be replaced quickly – by it’s nature, it is a matter of time. Many who just got out of marriages will try to fill the role of spouse too quickly by jumping into bed, becoming dependent, and overly attached. Remember, your date is just looking for a pleasant afternoon, not a husband.

7. Minimize contact with your ex. Particularly in the period shortly after a divorce, you might be inclined to hold on to your life with your ex-husband, checking in regularly and seeing them. Especially if a divorce was amicable, and even more so if children are involved, an ex can remain an important part of your life. Let him go. It might be comforting to check in with him every night, but you are not going to get over your divorce until you admit your relationship as you knew it is over. If possible, give yourself a period of no contact and if you can’t do that (because, say, you share children) at least change the frequency and way that you interact with him.

8. Don’t take out your issues with your ex on your new partner. The person you are on a date with is not your ex-wife. She doesn’t know what your ex-wife did to you, she doesn’t care. She should not have to deal with your issues about your ex-wife. If something she does reminds you of your former mate, let it go.

9. Develop interests outside dating. Post-divorce is the perfect time to read Moby Dick or take up Brazilian jiu jitsu. Use the time and energy you have to do things you love or might love. Explore yourself. Yes, it will be great to meet someone new, but don’t focus all your energy on that.

10. Relish the opportunity to date. Ok, so your marriage did not work out. You can’t let that stand in the way of all future romance. Despite the pitfalls of dating, it has its beautiful moments too. You get to have a crush again and a first kiss. You have, once more, a sense of possibility



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Posted 07-15-2013 7:21 pm by