Divorce is one of the top five most stressful life events alongside unemployment and the death of a spouse. Rushing into dating after divorce can create more stress and damage your self-esteem if you’re not mindful of the choices you’re making.
Your desire to move on from your ex may cloud your judgment, and the last thing you want to do is repeat past mistakes. It’s important to invest some time and energy into healing your heart, process any guilt or regret, and create a new relationship with yourself.
One of the lesser-known stages of grief is anxiety and going through a divorce is a process. Allow time for you to move through all the emotions that this life change can bring up (it won’t be a linear process).
Dating after divorce doesn’t have to mean that you’re ready to find another life partner, you can start dating as a fun social exercise, practice meeting new people, or refine your conversation and communication skills. You may find that your preferences have changed and going through this stage of dating after divorce is simply to ease your way back into the dating pool.
Once you’re ready for a new romantic relationship, you’ll want to take a more conscious approach to choosing a significant other. Don’t leave this important decision to chance again.
This complete guide to dating after divorce is intended to give you the tools and resources to take advantage of your hard-won wisdom so you don’t find yourself selecting the same kind of person again.
Why Do You Want To Date Again?
Having a clear “Why” is the first step to dating after divorce. Are you feeling lonely and want some companionship? Looking to get some affection that you’ve been lacking in your life? Are you uncomfortable on your own after being partnered for a long time? Are you emotionally ready to start dating again?
There are many reasons people start dating after divorce and not all of them are about finding a lifelong partner. Creating a goal (even if it seems frivolous) will give you some guardrails and purpose rather than expecting to just stumble along and end up in a better place.
Love requires risk, there’s no way around it. Knowing why you want to start dating again will reduce the likelihood of repeating your past.
Is Your Heart Ready To Move On?
Divorce can cause emotional scars and if you’re still feeling angry or hurt about your divorce it’ll have a negative effect on your dating life (especially if you’re looking for a long-term relationship).
Whether or not you initiated the divorce you’ll still need time to grieve and heal your heart. Time is your best friend through the grieving process so don’t rush this crucial episode in your life.
The most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one with yourself, and all the time and effort you put into having a solid foundation with yourself will pay off in the dating process and every part of your life. You don’t have to be included in the cliché of carrying around emotional baggage from your divorce — that’s optional.
Evaluating the status of your heart is something only you can do, and few people take the time to know themselves. It may be hard to look in the mirror and to feel all your feelings, but it’s much better to do this on your own than to end up in another relationship that doesn’t work out.
The stats are clear: 48% of first marriages end in divorce. By third marriages that percentage skyrockets to 75%! You won’t get better at creating long-lasting love just by switching out your ex for someone new.
Can You Learn & Grow From Your Divorce?
Moving on from your divorce is much easier when you’ve mined the relationship for golden nuggets of learning. Feelings of regret, anger, and sadness are a normal part of the divorce process, but if you’re still harboring negative feelings years later they can hold you back from growing into a better version of yourself.
You need to find compassion and forgiveness for yourself as well as your ex. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone bad behavior, or that you need to be chummy with your ex because forgiveness is for you. Forgiveness is your ticket to moving on to a better life.
Buy yourself a journal book and spend some time free writing about your divorce experience. Then go through our forgiveness process, the Golden Nugget of Learning, to put the past behind you.
Energetically disconnecting from your ex is a crucial step to free your heart and for dating after divorce. Your true desires are not the opposite of what you don’t want, and it’s impossible to manifest from lack.
Get Help If You Can’t Do It On Your Own
Sometimes divorce is so 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 one of the most important things you can do for yourself.
Don’t try to muscle through it on your own, if you find yourself avoiding your feelings or if you feel depressed then get professional support and guidance to facilitate your emotional healing.
Heal your heart before starting to date after divorce, even if you’re just looking to have fun. Healing does not have a straight trajectory, so having someone guide you through the ups and downs will prepare you for life after divorce quickly and effectively.
Have Some Fun Before Getting Serious
Rather than searching for “The One,” date casually for a while and have some fun before getting into another serious relationship.
You may want to sow your oats! There’s nothing wrong with having sex with no strings attached as long as you communicate your desires, and the other person agrees they want the same thing. Don’t make assumptions about what their expectations might be.
Having clear intentions and communication with people you’re dating is essential to keep your heart karma clean. Treat everyone respectfully by being open and upfront with your desires even if you’re just interested in a fling or a hook-up.
If you ultimately want to find another person to settle down with we encourage you to not set that intention shortly after a divorce. Dating is a process and the biggest mistake people make is rushing into exclusivity. Instead, take your time and embrace slow love.
Get Clear On What You Really Want
Most people dating after divorce are clear on what they don’t want. If their ex was an addict, they want someone sober, if their ex cheated they want someone faithful, if their ex was emotionally distant they want someone who is emotionally demonstrative.
What you want is not the opposite of what you don’t want. It makes sense that due to heartbreak and disappointment, you don’t want to end up with the same kind of person again but knowing what you don’t want doesn’t bring you closer to having the long-lasting love you desire.
Creating a clear vision of your ideal relationship BEFORE you start dating seriously allows you to evaluate potential matches.
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.)
It may be more difficult to make dating a priority after divorce. Your busier life may increase your desire to rush to exclusivity with the first person who excites you.
If you leave your love life to chance you’re likely to repeat the same patterns that lead to your divorce. You don’t want to be dating like a teenager anymore.
Every person will revert to old strategies if there’s no effort to create an internal shift. Your old dating strategies won’t take you to a new place with a different person. Plus, updating your strategies makes use of the learning you’ve gained through your life experiences.
Embrace Dating In The Digital Age
Dating apps, speed dating, and social media groups are all tools for meeting new people. Learn to use these tools so you know how they function.
Most people quickly create their profile and then never look at it again. Writing your profile isn’t a necessary evil; think of it as your marketing material. If you’re not getting the results you desire you’ll have to make changes to your marketing.
If you’re averse to using dating apps you’re not making use of the best tool to get dates in real life. An unemployed person who isn’t using LinkedIn or Indeed isn’t seriously looking for employment. Living in a bustling metropolis you might be able to get away with not dating online, but for most people, it’s an effective way to meet someone that you wouldn’t bump into in your part of town.
Ideally, you’ll want a great photo that shows off your best smile and doesn’t hide behind sunglasses. Your photos should only have you in them, avoid the group shots.
Most importantly don’t invest in anyone emotionally until you’ve met in person several times. Dating after divorce doesn’t have to be a chore. Have fun sharing who you’ve become and be comfortable with your relationship status — divorce doesn’t carry the stigma it used to.
Be Curious, You’re Tastes May Have Changed
Don’t get hung up on your type or just dating people who meet very specific criteria. Date different kinds of people, some that you find attractive and some that you don’t.
Chemistry is a requirement for a relationship, but it’s 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’ve 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 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’s 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 only one thing: to identify your feelings and share them with another person.
Dating after divorce can feel scary because opening your heart will always have some level of risk. Sharing your life with your beloved will be worth it in the end. You’ll both know that you’re better together rather than apart.
Put Off Exclusivity And Intimacy
Rushing into an exclusive relationship with someone you barely know is not only a bad idea, but it’ll 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’s 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’re 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’re in an exclusive relationship so your children have stability while you’re in discovery.
Don’t 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’s 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
You can change your love patterns and create a lasting loving partnership that’s 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.
Ultimately, life is better when it’s shared with someone special. If you want support healing your heart or creating a new mindset for dating after divorce watch this video so you can become aware of your hidden blocks to lasting love. It’s what you don’t know that might be blocking you from long-lasting love.