Dating after divorce can be challenging, nerve-wracking, and exciting all at once.
If you’re divorced, these fundamentals will help you reenter the dating world and make the dating process rewarding.
Once you have taken the time to decide the qualities you are looking for in a date, thought about your goals for dating, and had a chance to reconnect with your authentic self, dating can be the next step that helps you move past the divorce, reemerge into the social world, and be the first step, should you so wish, toward finding new love.
6 Fundamental Rules for Dating After Divorce
1. Reconnect. The divorce process is often an isolating experience. During a divorce, we even become isolated from our close friends and family. I encourage my psychology and divorce coaching clients to make a conscious choice to emerge from the divorce and re-engage in their communities.
Reemergence may mean attending a church or synagogue, volunteering for a favorite grass-roots organization, or taking the time to have a coffee with a friend you have not seen in a while.
Think of beginning the process of reconnecting with your community, old friends, and family like taking a stroll in the direction of where you want your new life to grow. This enables you, from a place of plenty and gratitude, to gaze upon the dating landscape. Along the way, those you reconnect with may offer you insights and tips for dating, help you navigate the new world of online dating, and answer your questions about changes that occurred since you were the last single.
2. Differentiate Loneliness from Being Alone and Don’t Give Up Time Spent Alone. No one enjoys the feeling. Allow yourself to feel this emotion and remember that experiencing loneliness is a part of being human that none of us will avoid, regardless of whether we are in a committed relationship.
Being alone is different from feeling lonely. When you are alone you can take time for creating, self-care, and engaging in mind-body wellness. You can read a book by your favorite mystery writer or spend an afternoon scouring thrift shops for treasured finds without needing to justify your activities or your purchases to anyone else.
Loneliness involves perceived social isolation. When we feel lonely, we yearn to connect with people who get us and with whom we can share ourselves and feel accepted. The experience of the absence of these connections in our lives is the experience of loneliness, an experience we can have even when in the presence of others.
Critical to dating success is dating without giving up your alone time.
Choose to go on a date but do not need to date, to have a partner but not need a partner, to enjoy your own company or to seek the company of friends or romantic interests.
3. Wait to Worry. Try to Be Curious First. I will not say “Don’t worry” because if I do, you, like me, will instantly begin worrying.
When you sense yourself worrying about dating, the dating world, or dating life, ask yourself if you have a good reason to be concerned, as you are, right in this moment. If you do not have a prompt reason for a specific concern, put the worry on hold. Tell yourself that you will have the opportunity to worry later, should the worried over event actually present itself. Then get curious about what person or place you might find delightful.
For example, can you know what your ex will think about your dating? Should you care about what they think? This is an analysis for later, should it ever become necessary. Right now, tune in to your own thoughts about spending time with another person. Who is it you would like to spend some quality time with? Even if the date is to be casual and lighthearted, all your time should be treated as quality time, and more precious now than ever.
Clients share that they worry that they will not know what to say on a date, as if a date is a standardized event with a standardized person. You cannot now know what the two of you, in particular, will have in common or if you will be fascinated by what you do not have in common. Also, your level of comfort in communicating may be more related to the particular space in which you find yourselves. The place is a variable about which you will have a choice when deciding about a date. You will be able to consider whether this particular person in this particular place offers an opportunity to communicate with another when you have knowledge of the exact person and place.
Put the amorphous worries aside and consider the unknown possibilities about which you can instead be curious. Be curious about who you are now and how the wisdom you have gained will play a role in dating life.
4. Appreciate the Benefits to Dating Beyond Developing a Connection With Your Date. New places and new experiences are an exciting part of dating. You may discover a pristine hiking destination, meet someone at the party or dinner you attended with your date who will become a fantastic professional resource, or come to realize that you love foreign films or vegan lasagna. New people, places, and found adventures offer an opportunity to transform your palate, your places, and your life.
Pay attention to more than the world with which you became familiar during your marriage. You will notice dating opportunities in places where you may enjoy your time even if you could not see yourself falling in love with your date.
5. Research and Visualize Online Dating. Different options of dating sites exist. You can choose between online dating sites that cater to people who enjoy specific hobbies, have certain kinds of professional experience, or who have cultural similarities. Explore the terrain before paying fees. Ask friends to help you with your dating profile as they will see qualities you may not have seen about yourself. Critically, be yourself.
6. Keep children Out of Your Casual Dating Life. It can be tempting to involve children and ask their opinions of your dates, this puts them in a difficult situation as they may think their judgment is comparative with their judgment of their other parent, They may also feel their opinion as a kind of responsibility. Even if you are asking from a place of true concern about what your children think, realize children do not have a responsibility nor a place in the evaluation of your dates.
If you find yourself in a serious or long-term relationship with someone, discuss the person with whom you are in a relationship with your children before they meet this person. Answer your children’s questions and listen to them as they share their concerns or fears about the relationship.
Depending upon your parenting plan and the kind of relationship you have with your ex, you may be required to discuss the matter of a serious relationship with your ex before discussing this new person with the children or having the children meet them.
Manifest Your Dream Future
Your cup is going to be full! I am Dr. Jodi Peary, a psychologist who specializes in helping individuals and families get through and heal from divorce. I created a Manifestation Journal for my clients to manifest their dream life in the new year and I’m excited to share it with you.
Mindfully taking action in line with your heart, mind, and soul is the secret to building a meaningful life.
The Manifestation Journal is jam-packed with journal prompts, affirmations, visualizations, lists, mood trackers, and mindfulness tools you can use right away to get in touch with your authentic self and create the full life you want to live.