The Complete Guide To Dating After Divorce At Any Age, After Any Length Of Time
Divorce is one of the top five most stressful events a person can experience, and it takes a toll both physically and emotionally. It can leave you feeling like a failure and wondering if you really know how to create lasting love. Have no fear! You can take a new approach to dating after divorce that helps you create a whole new relationship with yourself and an ideal partner for life.
Fear of repeating the same mistakes, concern over dating apps and dating in general, plus confusion about when to introduce your children are some of the biggest concerns you may have. If you desire another romantic relationship you’ll want to take a more conscious approach to choosing a life partner.
Deciding to date after divorce is not something you should jump into lightly or as a way to ease your loneliness. Instead, see it as a way to develop new skills in your intimate relationships and to have a fresh start on the journey to long-lasting love.
This complete guide to dating after divorce is intended to give you the tools and resources you need to date with confidence.
Why Do You Want To Date Again?
The best place to start is to get clear on why you want to start dating again. Are you feeling lonely and want some company? Does being alone make you uncomfortable and you’re simply accustomed to being in a relationship? Are you really ready to get back out there, start dating again, and find your soulmate?
There are a lot of different reasons people choose to date and not all of them are about finding a lifelong partner. Be honest with yourself about what you are emotionally ready for. Knowing why you want to date and what you hope to get out of it will allow you to set your expectations and take appropriate actions towards getting what you want.
Are You Really Ready To Move On?
Divorce can leave a lot of emotional scars and if you’re still angry or hurt about your ex, it will have a negative effect on your dating life. Give yourself time to grieve the loss of the relationship. Don’t try to cover your sadness by getting busy with dating.
Dating after divorce is not a strategy to ignore your feelings. And unless you’re clear on what you’re looking for, it may not be fair to the people you’re dating until you can speak up and share what you truly desire. You do not have to be part of the cliché that dating a divorcee means you are carrying around emotional baggage.
Every person who has invested their heart will experience heartbreak at some point. It’s a right of passage into adulthood. It’s important to grieve your marriage before you decide to start dating after divorce.
Take Responsibility For Your Part
A marriage either working or failing requires both people’s participation. Pointing the finger of blame or taking too much responsibility will only keep you stuck in the past and lingering on what was, instead of creating a bright future with someone new.
Your task is to take 100% responsibility of your 50%. Keep your side of the street clean by owning your behavior. Stay on your side of the street by not blaming yourself for your ex’s behavior. This way you can focus on what you did or didn’t do to make the marriage work and have a strategy for doing things differently next time.
Dating after divorce is more fun and more rewarding when you aren’t carrying around a lot of blame or guilt for what happened in the marriage.
What Can You Learn From Your Experience?
One of the keys to moving on from divorce is learning from your experiences so that you don’t repeat the same behaviors that you now regret. Take time to journal about your marriage. What can you learn about yourself so that you can create lasting love next time?
You know you’ve discovered the learning when you feel grateful for the marriage even though it didn’t turn out as you had hoped. Feeling grateful for your experiences and your ex for being the person to inspire your growth and learning is an essential part of moving on. Discovering the Golden Nugget of Learning will empower you to approach your next relationship with a whole new strategy and free from anger and resentment.
Finding gratitude does not excuse your ex for any bad behavior. It does however allow you to disengage energetically from the relationship. Dating after divorce is more effective when you aren’t constantly comparing dates to your ex.
Get Help If You Can’t Do It On Your Own
Sometimes the experience is too hurtful or upsetting that you can’t get past it on your own. Getting help to heal your heart and avoid becoming bitter about love is not a sign of weakness. It’s actually one of the most important things you can do for your own self-care.
Don’t try to muscle through it on your own. If you find yourself wanting to avoid thinking about it altogether, then you probably want some guidance navigating your emotional healing.
Find a therapist or a coach who has the tools to help you heal your heart. Then you’ll discover that dating after divorce is more effective when your heart isn’t broken.
Have Your Fun Before You Decide To Get Serious
Dating after divorce doesn’t have to be focused on finding “The One.” You can date casually for a while and have a little fun before you are ready to get into another serious relationship.
Keep your intentions clear and clean. Communicate with your dates. If you just want some company, and maybe to fool around a little, that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with having fun and feeling good. Be sure to be open and upfront with your dates about what you’re looking for so that you’re dating with integrity.
Dating after divorce can give you the freedom to enjoy dating without committing to a serious relationship before you are ready.
Get Clear On What You Really Want
You know you don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past. But are you aware of what would really bring joy to your life? Your next relationship isn’t going to be the opposite of what you just went through.
Trying to avoid the same old patterns can keep you stuck in them. Instead, get clear on what inspires you and what you really want from a romantic relationship. When you are clear on what you desire, then you can avoid wasting time with someone who is not a good match for you long-term.
If you got married young, you probably didn’t really know what you wanted from your marriage. Sure, you wanted to feel loved and to love the person you were with… maybe you wanted a family? But were you aware of what would bring you lasting happiness?
Dating after divorce is an opportunity to create a more lasting relationship dynamic. Take your time getting clear on what you want before you start dating seriously.
Upgrade Your Dating Skills
Dating when you are young is relatively easy. There are plenty of single people your age and it’s much easier to be social in your 20’s. As you get older, you have more responsibilities and a busier life. (You may have children or elderly parents to take care of.)
Dating after divorce is not the same. The people you date will have more emotional baggage and be more set in their routines. You may still have some of your own inner work to do.
You’ll want to maximize your time dating by being more effective and efficient. Be sure to upgrade your dating skills so that you don’t fall into bad habits that you may still have from when you were younger.
Embrace Online Dating And Dating Apps
These tools are designed to help you meet people. Use them. If you don’t like the results you are getting from online dating, get better at using the tool.
Most people quickly write out their online profile and then never look at it again. Writing your profile isn’t a necessary evil; think of it as your marketing material.
Instead of writing down lists of likes and dislikes, share a story that gives a specific example. Anyone can say they like to travel, but when you share about a specific trip to one location: what you did, what you saw, and how you felt, you paint a unique picture of who you are.
Take new photos and avoid wearing sunglasses. Look at the camera and smile. The photos don’t have to be professional, but they should paint you in a positive light. Wear a bright color so you stand out from the crowd.
Set clear dating rules for yourself before you agree to meet in person. Decide ahead of time how much communication you need before taking the next step.
Don’t make dating after divorce a chore. Have fun sharing who you’ve become and who you’d like to share your life with.
Be Curious, You’re Tastes May Have Changed
Don’t get hung up on your type or just dating people who meet a very specific criteria. Date different kinds of people some that you have an attraction with and some that you don’t. Chemistry is a requirement for a relationship, but it not for a date. Be curious about who you’re meeting – curiosity is an attractive quality.
Remember every person you meet knows other people you haven’t met yet. You never know how you’ll meet your soulmate.
Also, be curious about yourself. Do you find yourself being judgmental and closed off? Or are you open to meeting new, different types of people?
The kind of person you found attractive when you were younger may not still be what lights you up. You have evolved as a person and therefore your tastes may have changed.
Don’t decide before you ever meet in-person if he/she is your new soulmate or not. Just go on dates. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and others when you approach dating with an open mind and realistic expectations.
Dating after divorce can be a great time to discover new things about yourself and the people you meet.
Focus On The Positive
It’s easy to try to bond over dating horror stories, and other misery and mishaps. This is not a good strategy to start a new relationship despite the fact that misery loves company.
Do your best to never talk about your ex and your divorce early on in the dating process. If someone turns out to be a good match, you can give them the details later.
Instead, focus on the positive. Share the vision you have of your new life. Talk about your dreams and goals and inspire your dates to do the same.
Dating after divorce doesn’t have to be tedious if you focus on bringing out the best in yourself and your dates.
Don’t Get Fooled By Chemistry
Chemistry and attraction are important in the long run for a romantic relationship to thrive. But chemistry is not the most important ingredient in lasting love. Just because you have an intense attraction to someone doesn’t mean they are a good match for you.
Attraction can also be a false signal from your subconscious. It could be your subconscious yelling, “This is familiar! This is familiar!” If you put the focus too much on attraction and chemistry, you could find yourself heading right back into the same dysfunction you’ve already experienced.
Think of chemistry like yeast in a recipe for bread – it’s only one of the ingredients. Without yeast, you’ll end up with just a cracker and that will not be satisfying.
Instant intimacy can be deceiving so have a clear vision of the kind of relationship you are looking for and then think of chemistry as one box that you’ll want to check.
Dating after divorce can leave you either guarded or too carefree – find the middle ground by knowing that the chemistry spark of attraction is only one ingredient you’re looking for.
You don’t want to end up with another partner who doesn’t value you, or who is unable to take responsibility when things go South. Ideally, you want to be with a partner who loves you and accepts you and isn’t looking to change you.
The only way to be loved as you are is to show up authentically from the beginning. If you’re twisting into a pretzel trying to get someone to like you, then they won’t actually get to know the real you.
Being authentic is like sending out an invitation to someone to meet you at a high vibration. When someone accepts your invitation then you can create the emotional connection your soul desires.
Being authentic means sharing about yourself, so speak up about your preferences and your feelings.
Being authentic is not about sharing your opinion, it’s about sharing your truth by sharing how you feel with someone even if it’s uncomfortable.
Dating after divorce can feel risky because opening up your heart will always have some level of risk. Keep in mind that sharing your life with an ideal partner is worth the risk because the rewards are so great.
Put Off Exclusivity And Intimacy
Rushing into an exclusive relationship with someone you barely know is not only a bad idea, but it will also slow down the journey to your soulmate. Put off exclusivity, and instead date a lot of different people. The cream will always rise to the top.
Also, there is no reason to rush into sex. You don’t want to physically bond with a stranger. You need time to discover who they are and what they are all about. Delaying physical intimacy means you can evaluate your prospects clearly. Anyone who truly wants a relationship with you will be willing to wait.
Dating after divorce means that you can take your time and in the process change your love patterns to reach your desired result.
Take A Considerable Amount Of Time Before You Introduce Your Children
You’ll want to get to know someone before introducing them to your kids. You don’t want to be introducing your kids to every prospect you have through the dating process (unless your children are grown adults and still live with you). Instead, wait until you are in an exclusive relationship so your children have stability while you are in discovery.
Do not use your kids as dating confidants. Don’t share all the details of your dates with them, nor ask their opinion of your dates. There is no need to rush introductions or to blend families.
Dating after divorce means creating a clear boundary between your dating persona and your parenting persona.
Believe That You Can Create Lasting Love
It is possible for you to change your love patterns and create a lasting loving partnership that is fulfilling. Commit to taking a new and different approach to dating and mating and you’ll find that making conscious choices can make all the difference.
When you approach dating with a purposeful mindset, you’ll learn and grow as you discover about yourself in the process. Love by accident says you just need to meet the “right” person. Now that you’ve been through a divorce you know there is more to it than that.
Rather than fall into the delusion that you’ll end up with a conflict-free relationship, use the dating process to discover about yourself and who you are now that you’re a divorcee. Where can you improve your communication and conflict resolution skills?
Expect to have conflicts and evaluate your dates through the dating process. You can create lasting love with a partner who loves and respects you and one that you can count on as sure as you know the sun will rise tomorrow.
Life is better when it’s shared with someone special. If you desire a soulmate relationship and want some tips on how to do just that, click here for our special report: 7 Steps To Soulmating™ and it will be delivered to your inbox in just a few moments.
About the authors
Orna and Matthew Walters are soulmate coaches and prolific writers about love. Finding love, keeping love, healing from heartbreak, bringing in your beloved and more. They have been published on MSN, Yahoo!, YourTango, Redbook, and have been featured guest experts on BRAVO’s THE MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER with Patti Stanger, and as guests with Esther Perel speaking about love and intimacy.