If you’re recently divorced (or just getting out of a long-term relationship), getting back into the dating world can be scary. Dating with Dignity has come up with a handy guide to dating after divorce (or a big breakup) so that it doesn’t have to be as terrifying as you may think.
Make sure you’re really ready to date.
It will be pretty clear if you’re ready to date (or not). Don’t rush it because here’s the truth: the best way to get over somebody is NOT to get under someone else! Make sure the ink is dry on your divorce papers and your emotional clutter is clear before you consider dating.
Rushing into the dating game to mask feelings of loneliness, anxiety or sadness will not only lead you to attract the wrong guy, but it may be an unconscious way for you to collect evidence of your limiting beliefs. For example, if you think dating is hard, and then it is hard (because you’re not truly ready to date), then you get to be right–which will ultimately lead you back into a cycle of isolation, self-pity and doubt.
The good news is that even if you’re not technically ready to jump back into the dating pool, it’s okay (and recommended) to practice getting your flirt on, noticing men (perhaps for the first time in a long while) and noticing them seeing you for the first time in a very long time. Put your “cab light on” and simply go for a drive. This experience in itself is a gentle and important first step toward healing and finding new love.
Move slowly. Repeat: MOVE SLOWLY.
This rule applies to getting back into dating as well as when you start dating someone new. It can be tempting to jump into a relationship because it feels good, and perhaps because it makes you feel as though there was a reason for the divorce after all.
Don’t rationalize, ladies. There is no substitute for taking time to truly get to know someone. A new relationship can’t simply replace the experience of your past. Slow and steady wins the race (unless of course you’re running a marathon), so jogging through dates instead of sprinting will be to your long-term advantage.
Don’t rush it. Take time to date YOURSELF first!
This is so important that we needed to write it twice! DON’T rush into a relationship soon after getting divorced. Before you can become truly relationship-ready, you need to take time to rediscover yourself. Have your needs changed? What do you like? Was there a trip you always wanted to take or a skill you’ve been wanting to learn for years?
This is the time to re-invent yourself and fall deeply in love with the new YOU. Forgive yourself and your ex, strengthen other relationships in your life, and then you‘ll be ready for the healthy, lasting and fulfilling relationship you desire.
Becoming exclusive with someone immediately will almost certainly mean you’re trying to replace your ex. Going from having someone in your life you’re intimate with, eat with and sleep next to to doing those things alone will be a tough transition. But you need to move slowly and make sure you’re entering a post-divorce relationship with someone who is right for you, not just “right now.”
Be honest about what it is you really want.
Upon exiting a long-term marriage or relationship (or even a short-term one in some cases), you’ll need to be honest about your intentions. What you manifest in your new love relationship will be based on what you’re looking for and how you go after it.
Your actions should differ slightly based on what you want. If you’re looking for a serious relationship, you’ll want to be up front about it. You’ll also need to communicate it at the appropriate time and in a feminine way (i.e., don’t bark across the table on a first date, “I’m not here to play games, okay? You’re either in or you’re out!” Instead, take the time to get to know your date, and you should be able to tell if he’s a relationship-ready guy deserving of your time.
You’re important, so take care of YOU!
Don’t forget about your first priority: you! Keeping your wits is just as important as getting proper nutrition, exercise and sleep. Divorce can take a toll on your mental state, so consider seeing a therapist, joining a support group, or taking a mindfulness class. Don’t eat, spend or cry your way out of sadness. Instead, heal, nurture yourself, and feel your feelings. If you take time to do this thoroughly, you’ll more easily and effortlessly attract your true, perfect partner!
When you’re ready, get online!
More people than ever are finding love online, and you could be one of them. If you want to find the right site for you, consider sites such as Match, JDate, eHarmony or okcupid. Sites that require monthly payments tend to have a higher number of singles who are serious about meeting someone, but we have Dating with Dignity clients who have met their matches on a number of different sites.
If you’re feeling nervous, try it out with a friend; you never know who you might meet. Online dating is a great way to practice saying “yes,” saying “no,” and learning what you like and don’t like. Plus, it can help you get your dating mojo back–which feels good no matter how long you’ve been single. If you want help making sure you break free of your romantic rut and stop attracting the same guy with a different face, consider taking our best-selling audio program, Break Free from the Romantic Rut.
Dating after divorce can be a big hurdle if you let it be, but it can also be smooth sailing if you follow the DWD guidelines above and get yourself out there. If you think you might need a little more support, consider checking out Marni’s Find Love Now program to get going today!