Divorce is one of the most traumatic life events we can go through. Your entire life gets rearranged – friends and family part ways, you have to separate every item you own, move and restart many aspects of your former life.
But once the dust has settled and you decide you’re ready to throw your heart in the ring again, it’s time to look to the future. Dating after divorce is scary, after going through the aftermath of a relationship gone bad.
But you can do it. We have the tips to help you get back in the dating game after a divorce.
1. Be Optimistic
Sure your last relationship crashed and burned. You may have talked more to your divorce attorney than your friends and your “happily ever after” plan turned into happily never after.
But you know what?
You’re alive. You’re breathing. And you have new possibilities to find a new happily ever after every single day.
Don’t enter back into the dating world with a chip on your shoulder. Yes, divorce is hard. It took a toll, and you may feel battle-weary and defeated.
But look at it this way. Not only did you survive. You survived and you’re considering, at least a little if you’re reading this, the possibility of something new. And that’s a win right there.
Enter back into the dating world knowing that each new date is a new chance at happiness.
2. Make Sure You’re Truly Ready
Don’t try to rush. You’ve been through the gamut of emotions. Whether your breakup has been a long time coming or a complete slap in the face, it’s a huge event to process.
Your entire life changed. Honor that and make sure you’ve taken time to allow yourself to grieve. Be angry, mourn, cry, scream and shake your fists at the heavens a little if necessary.
But make sure that when you enter the dating world, it’s after all that. You don’t want to bring old baggage into a new relationship.
3. Learn From Your Mistakes
Take time to do a post-mortem on your past relationships and look for clues. Do you date the same type of man with the same results?
What are the negative things you brought to the table in your relationships?
Learn from your past mistakes to make sure you don’t repeat the same ones again, with the same disastrous results.
4. Start Doing the Things That Bring You Joy
Enter the dating world by dating yourself first. Make a list of things that bring you joy and pursue them. Whether it’s things you’ve always wanted to try or hobbies that got lost in your marriage, prioritize those things back into your daily life.
You’ll get to know yourself and what you desire and like better. Meaning when you do find a new love interest, you’ll have a better sense of yourself and what you need in your daily life.
5. Know What You’re Looking For
Make a list of the traits and characteristics you desire. Pinpoint the nonnegotiables, and then classify the others according to importance.
When you start dating, you’ll know immediately if a relationship has any potential, because you’ll know EXACTLY what you’re looking for. It also means you’ll know exactly what you’re NOT looking for so you can avoid trouble right from the start.
6. But Leave Room for the Unexpected!
On the flip side, don’t get so stuck in your list you forget that sometimes life hands us things we didn’t know we wanted or needed!
Maybe you thought you wanted someone who was completely grounded and stable. Then you meet someone who has it all together but is more adventurous than you would have liked.
It could be that extra little streak of adventure ends up appealing to you and introduces you to hobbies you’d never considered. The best relationships enhance us and make us grow, so don’t immediately write someone off just because they don’t adhere perfectly to your list.
Chances are, life might be bringing you not just something you didn’t know you wanted, but something you didn’t know you needed.
7. Don’t Settle
You’re getting back out in the dating world, and that’s great.
Allow yourself to enjoy this period of time. You don’t need to settle on the first person who catches your eye.
Date around. Keep things light and casual. Enjoy meeting a variety of people instead of finding one person and immediately jumping into a new serious relationship.
Maybe that first person you happen to date is also the last one. But resist simply falling into a new relationship head first. At the very least, a slow play will make sure that when you do settle down with that person, you won’t wonder if you settled too hard and failed to look at other options.
8. Create Possibilities
Join a new club. Start a new hobby. Go to places you generally don’t.
By creating opportunities in new hobbies and groups of people, you expose yourself to like-minded people.
And if you can find someone who loves pottery as much as you do, you at least have a great start to a first date!
9. Be Gentle With Yourself
Remember, you’ve been through hell and back. While you may be ready to get back into the dating game, realize that it might be a difficult transition.
There will probably be hiccups. Emotions will come up. You’ll have awkward conversations and moments you feel you may never find someone again.
And that’s all okay. Be gentle with yourself as you enter the dating arena and remind yourself that while it might not always be easy, it’s worth it.
In other words, don’t worry – you’ve got this.
Dating After Divorce – You Can Do It!
Dating after divorce is scary – but it’s also a new chance for a fresh start. And you deserve that.
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