Dating after divorce can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you were married for a long time. You may go on a few bad dates and think that it might be easier to just give up and stay single. Don’t despair! Instead, discover how to date after divorce so that you actually find love again.
If you’ve taken time to heal your heart and you feel ready to put yourself out there again you may wonder what’s changed. Most of all what has likely changed is: You.
Decide what you’re looking for when you start dating so that you’re clear on what you want. Maybe you’re just curious to meet new people and you want to keep things casual, or perhaps you know you want another serious relationship. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, then you’re leaving what you find up to fate.
One of the biggest problems with getting back into dating after years of being married is that you may feel like you don’t understand the rules. Dating after divorce is different than dating in your teens and twenties.
Dating when you are young is relatively easy. Most people you meet through your friends are single, and you have a large social circle to meet new people. Plus when you’re young a new relationship doesn’t feel so serious.
When you’re older and coming out of a divorce, you are likely a bit more guarded, and have specific criteria of what you are looking for in your next partner. The people you meet have had their own heartbreaks and emotional baggage. It’s also likely that your social circle is comprised mostly of other married couples.
This can appear to make dating feel difficult and somewhat daunting. Instead of avoiding it altogether follow these steps on how to date after divorce. You’ll discover that dating can be fun and rewarding, even if you don’t immediately meet your new soulmate.
Make Sure You Are Ready To Date Again
Still thinking or talking constantly about your ex? You might have some healing to do before you are ready to enter the dating world again. No one wants to go on a date with someone who is still bitching and moaning about their ex.
Don’t rush into dating just because you don’t like being alone. You’re not doing anyone any favors to date them when you are emotionally unavailable for a relationship. Instead, take time to process your negative emotions about the breakup. When you can go on a date and not make comparisons to your ex, then you’re probably ready to take dating seriously.
You’re older and your life is busier, so you don’t want to waste your time. Once you feel ready to share your life with someone again, you have to set time aside to go through the dating process. Here’s how to date after divorce – make sure you are open and ready to date again.
Get Clear On The Mistakes You Made In The Past
The phrase, “Those who don’t understand history are bound to repeat it,” definitely applies to dating after divorce. Take time to examine why your marriage ended and take responsibility for your part.
You are not 100% responsible for the relationship ending, only for your side of things. Know where you can improve on your relationship skills and own the mistakes you made and make a promise to yourself to do better next time.
This may require an upgrade in your communication skills, or you may have to break an unhealthy relationship pattern. You don’t need to be perfect to start dating again, but you should be aware of your patterns and strategies that didn’t work in your marriage and make some effort to change them.
Take Time To Forgive Yourself And Your Ex
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you excuse bad behavior; it does mean that you are no longer tied to your ex energetically and emotionally.
Do you find yourself reliving everything that happened in your mind wondering if you could have said or done something differently? Are you carrying around anger and resentment about your ex and unable to let it go?
Everyone makes an error in judgment sometimes. Holding onto those mistakes will only leave you feeling tired and bitter about love. You are worthy of love and you can find love again. Forgiveness will open your heart to the possibility of finding a new love that will last and bring you deep satisfaction.
Just because the two of you were unable to make it work doesn’t mean that it can’t work out in the future with someone else. To date after divorce, it is imperative that you put aside any bitterness and practice forgiveness for yourself and for your ex.
Don’t Date Like A Teenager
Teenagers have raging hormones and tend to go all-in as soon as they find someone they are attracted to. They become obsessive over one person and are convinced that is the only person they will ever love. Teenagers also twist into a pretzel trying to please their partner and sacrifice their own needs thinking that will earn them love.
These strategies for dating may seem foolish to you now but you’d be surprised how many grown adults make the same mistakes and behave like teenagers in love. You probably don’t know how to date after divorce, especially if you haven’t dated since you met your ex.
Don’t assume that the strategies you used in your youth will be helpful to you as an older adult.
Love is an amazing and magical feeling with the right person. But finding lasting love is not a magical process that just happens when you least expect it. Take an intentional approach to dating. Use it to weed out people who are not a good fit. Refine your search depending on the results you are getting.
You’ll want to remain open and curious and have fun along the way. But you don’t want to get carried away like some love-obsessed teenager. Upgrade your dating skills and you’ll find that dating after divorce can be very rewarding. You can even discover things about yourself through the dating process that ultimately makes you a better partner long term.
Date Slowly And Don’t Rush Into A Commitment
Dating after divorce isn’t always fun and everyone has their share of dating horror stories. This doesn’t mean that it is a good idea to jump into exclusivity with the first decent person who shows up.
Take your time getting to know someone. Date more than one person at a time. Don’t rush into bed before you are ready. Slowing down the dating process allows you to avoid many of the mistakes of the past. You can evaluate a stranger over time instead of giving a stranger the benefit of the doubt. Never give a stranger the power to determine if you feel desirable.
Just because you are still learning how to date after divorce doesn’t mean that you want to take yourself off the market right away. When you go on dates with people who may not seem like your type you discover a lot about yourself and you get to practice your communication skills without too much risk.
Don’t Complain About Your Ex
It may feel cathartic to dump on your ex during a date, however, doing so will not bring you closer to getting the love you want. If you need to vent about your ex, call a friend instead of being that person on a date.
Just because you are dating after divorce doesn’t mean that every date should be about your divorce. You are a whole being with interests, hobbies, and opinions so share who you are and focus on the positive. Share what lights you up and what inspires you when you’re meeting someone new.
You can share the answers to all these questions and a whole lot more:
What do you want to create in your life?
What are you excited about?
Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?
What are the top 5 items on your Bucket List?
Share your dreams and goals and see who steps up to meet you there. Bonding over your dreams and goals creates a much stronger bond than over your pain and frustrations. When dating after divorce you’ll want to be sharing the life you have left to live, not what you’ve just lived through.
Don’t Put Too Much Emphasis On Chemistry
Chemistry and attraction are important in a relationship, but they are not the only important qualities in a healthy relationship. Attraction is only one ingredient. Don’t put too much emphasis on chemistry and forget everything else you desire.
Putting too much emphasis on attraction can lead you to date a lot of people who are not a good match for you long term. Lasting love comes from sharing the same values. When you have shared values, you will be much more able to navigate the challenges that life will inevitably throw your way.
Take time to create a vision of your ideal relationship, and then date to find a match to the vision. Most people dating after divorce are clear on what they do not want. This highlights what they do not want out in the world. So everywhere they look they see their ex. Instead, get clear on what is really important to you and the dynamic of your ideal relationship. When you take time through the dating process you can discover what this new person values and see if the two of you can navigate through conflict together.
Nothing Is Real Until You Meet In Person
You will come across plenty of fake profiles while online dating. There are even high-profile stories of people who were victims of a scam on a dating site. This won’t happen to you if you focus on one simple rule: Nothing is real until you meet in person.
Scammers like to build trust and emotional intimacy through text, email, and phone calls. But once you meet in person you put a face to a voice and a name. The chances that you’ve met a scammer are significantly reduced. Plus, if you never give money to a stranger you’ll never be scammed.
The best way to protect yourself is to never invest emotionally in someone you’ve never seen face-to-face. Be sure to ID the person through video chat and see that their photograph matches who they really are.
The best place to meet people to date is through an online dating site or app. There are more people online now more than ever in every age bracket. By taking these simple precautions you can protect yourself and relax.
Refusing to date online is like looking for a new job and refusing to go on LinkedIn. Most people are just like you, looking to meet someone they can date and discover more.
Focus On Authenticity
Your life is busy, so you don’t want to meet anyone playing games. It may seem a little scary as your heart may be a little scarred from your divorce, the key to finding an ideal match is by being authentic.
Authenticity means that you share how you feel and what you want. It isn’t about your opinion of your date. Authenticity is an invitation.
Through the dating process, as you share about yourself you’ll find out who is really into you. The cream will rise to the top and you’ll connect more with one of the people you’re dating.
The only way to be loved for you really are is to show up as who you really are. It is completely freeing to know that when you are authentic you are able to be seen by someone who will love you, without needing you to change.
Plus when you’ve just met someone new you have nothing to lose by letting your freak flag fly! That is what your beloved will love about you most of all.
Don’t Rush To Introduce Your Children
Dating after divorce adds an extra layer of caution when you have children that you share with your ex. You deserve to have a loving romantic relationship whether your children think so or not.
It may seem scary for your children to know that you’re going out to meet strangers. The last thing you want to do is rush to introduce your dates to your children. They are probably going through enough anyway with the divorce. Wait until you are exclusively dating one person for a considerable amount of time before introducing your children.
You’ll want to consider the age of your children in this decision. The younger the kids, the longer you’ll want to wait.
Focus On What You Desire
Dating after divorce can leave you stuck looking only for someone who is nothing like your ex. You don’t want a repeat of what didn’t work out, so if your ex cheated, you look for someone faithful. If your ex did not communicate well, you want someone who wears their heart on their sleeve. If your ex was ambivalent about you, you desire someone who is head over heels for you.
What you truly desire is not the opposite of what you do not want. Focus on what you really want. What could be possible for you if you allowed yourself to dream big? Get clear on how you want your ideal relationship to function. Then go out and find the person who wants to create that dream with you.
Dating after divorce can seem daunting at first. But once you embrace a new approach to creating lasting love, you will find that your search can be fun and exciting.
Are you afraid to try dating after divorce? Maybe you’re still angry or heartbroken about your ex. Join us for a complimentary Soulmate Strategy Session and we can show you how to release the past and get ready to love again.
Orna and Matthew Walters are TV’s favorite dating and relationship experts. They uncover subconscious blocks to love so that you can select an ideal partner to share your life with. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.