Divorce is easily one of the more traumatic events that people go through in their lifetime. The darkness doesn't last forever though, as there's eventually some light near the end of the tunnel. It's a time of renewal when people might feel some spring coming back into their step and they start thinking about doing things like dating again.
It's not going to to be the same as it used to be though, particularly when you're just starting to get back into the swing of things following a marriage and then a divorce. Keep reading to learn 15 tips for dating after divorce.
Don't have a partly-cloudy outlook of partial positivity. Don't think about 'if' love comes to you. Think 'when' instead. You found it once. You'll find it again.
Some of the inner work you need to do in recovering from a divorce can't happen until it's all over, and maybe even some time after that. Do you know why your relationship went wrong? Have you accepted your own role in the demise of the relationship? Have you made as much peace as you can with your ex, the divorce, and even yourself? Don't skip any counseling sessions that might be involved, and never date when you're coming from a place of anger.
You might think that you won't be happy again until you're married once more, but then again, you might not attract the new romantic interest you want and deserve to be happy with unless they see and sense your own joy. You'll likely be quite busy taking care of things during and after a divorce, and you might even be too exhausted to think joy is even possible. Still, take time to sit down and write out 5 to 10 things which make you happy. Pick one off the list, find a free evening or afternoon in the coming week, and just go do it. Do this once a week, whether you have a date or not, and you'll eventually have someone tagging along for some fun they need too.
This isn't the group of people that you might think about dating, but instead friends and family members that support, inspire, and motivate you while you try and find a new love. It might be other people trying out dating, fellow members of your house of worship, relatives, friends, kids, coworkers, or neighbors. Whoever it is, they need to be people that care about your happiness and are willing to actively support your pursuit of it.
It's easy enough to look at your ex and know what you fall for and what you shouldn't fall for. It can feel really cold-hearted to have a mental checklist to compare your dates to, but you don't want to waste time with anyone that's just not going to fit. Chemistry can be detected pretty quickly, sometimes on a first date, but always within four or five. Once you know the chemistry is there, though, you need to look for 'interior' traits that you want, such as intelligence, honesty, consistency, reliability, and kindness.
Even if you identify the chemistry and see inner traits you want in a partner, you have to look for other things. Do they accept you as you are? Are they okay with your individual complexities? How are they with your kids if you have any? Do you have similar goals in life? Are you relatively well aligned regarding living circumstances, marriage, parenting, and finances?
While it's good to have your list and look for the total 'package', be willing to accept someone who shoes up out of the blue who might be different than the 'kind' or 'type' you're looking for. They might be heavier, shorter, taller, skinnier, various colors, or even different ages than what you're looking for. Don't forget the attraction and chemistry that come first. If lightning strikes, run with it.
You'll get nowhere without great photos. Start that with a good-looking smiling headshot, but you also need good head-to-toe shots of you and just you. Leave out friends, pets, kid, and grandkids.
You might feel inclined to only date one person at a time. It could be just easier to manage or just how you were raised. Times are different, and so are social standards. Until you find someone that you want to be exclusive with, it's good to keep booking dates with as many people as you can. Having said this, it's important to not hook up with anyone or sleep together with them. That's not just crucial to protecting yourself from diseases, but also critical to not confusing things with potential partners too early or just wasting time with those looking for making love instead of falling in love.
You might think of dating as just two people out together, but larger groups can be a way to find potential dates. Spend time in social activities where you meet people like yourself, be it attending sporting events, actually doing some sport, or just painting classes. Making friends is as important as finding dates, and some of those friends might even turn into dates.
Texting is fine for 'heads-up' communications, like you're running a few minutes late. On the other hand, it shouldn't be your only form of communication, because excessive texting can wind up leading to premature intimacy. If you think that someone is texting you a bit too much, consider suggesting phone chats instead. The best way to get to know a person is by actually spending time with them though.
It's easy to fall into something fast and furious, but it can also flame out just as quickly as it started. Going out five times in just one week with someone you just met isn't a great idea. It's better to start with only one date each week for several weeks before moving up to two dates a week. After several weeks of that, you can move up to three dates a week. By the 8-week mark, you can probably have 'the chat' where you two decide to be exclusive.
It's hard to think of dates like homes, but you want someone finished and solid, and not a fixer-upper. The only person you can ever fix or change is yourself.
Dating will take work. Even the easiest couplings need effort. There are not perfect people, and as such, there are no perfect relationships. The more you heal yourself, the more you'll attract healthy people.
If you get a bad vibe about someone, don't stick around to find out what it might be or if your instincts are right or not. Stop seeing that person and move on if you pick up on a 'red flag'. If you date anyone who has also been through a divorce or major relationship, be very suspicious of anyone that blames everything on their ex.
Now that you've read these 15 tips for dating after divorce, you should be better prepared for loving once more, and hopefully for the better.