If you're a divorcee getting back into the dating world, your dating behavior might reflect your recent divorce - unless you make a conscience effort to move beyond it on an emotional level. Nothing...
The 8 Do's And Don'ts Of Dating After Divorce
By Ken Solin
If you're a divorcee getting back into the dating world, your dating behavior might reflect your recent divorce—unless you make a conscience effort to move beyond it on an emotional level. Nothing will cause a date to flee faster than a man or woman who's exhibiting the typical dysfunctional symptoms of a recent divorce.
So what are the telltale signs? Anger, sadness, lack of confidence, overconfidence unfocused, overly eager, all about sex, and more, are like wearing a sticker on your forehead that says you're a senior dating newbie.
What should you do to avoid being tagged as the "dysfunctional divorcee"? Here are the do's and don'ts of dating for divorcees, that are simple to follow and critical if you hope to date successfully.
1. DO the Emotional Work
First and foremost, before you start dating, make sure you have you done the emotional work around healing the wound from your recent divorce. No matter how glad you are the marriage is over, you're not emotionally prepared to date if you haven't taken some time to process and reflect. It takes several months or longer to process all the feelings involved in a failed marriage, whether the breakup was amicable or not. A divorce represents the death of a relationship, and like any death, it requires a grieving period before moving on. Dating with a broken heart is counterproductive since it will be obvious to every savvy senior dater that you are not ready to truly commit yet. Don't embarrass yourself by dating too soon. Hang out with friends until you're feeling positive about meeting someone new.
2. DO Go Slow
You can't fall in love quickly simply to make yourself feel better about your failed marriage, and you can't make up for lost time in it either. An overeager attitude about falling in love will frighten off most senior daters. Relationships aren't business deals to close quickly. It takes time to evaluate someone's qualities, and the getting to know you process can't be effectively rushed. I've heard stories about men and women telling their dates they were falling in love on a first date. You'll look silly if you go there, and besides, the feeling you call love is actually lust or desperation.
3. DON'T Date the Rocket Ride Believers
Avoid dates with seniors who still believe in rocket ride relationships, because they're gluttons for punishment and addicted to emotional highs, however brief. Rocket ride relationships fall back to earth with an emotionally jarring thud, and the pain lingers long afterward.
4. DON'T Mention You Ex
Don't talk about your ex-wife or ex-husband. Nothing says recently divorced like a date that rants about his or her ex, and nothing is less attractive either. Your date isn't your therapist, nor does he or she want to become your therapist. If you're still angry enough to need to talk about an ex, you're not ready for prime time dating yet. The focus should be on your partner, definitely not your ex-partner.
5. DON'T Rush The Sex
While you may not have had sex in months or even years in your faltering marriage, your first date isn't going to be sexual, as it’s all about getting to know each other first. Any sexual expectations on a first, second, or further dates without establishing an emotional connection may be viewed negatively. You will become a persona non grata in the senior dating community unless you're aware that few if any senior women are interested in casual sex. Don't look for a sexual partner when you date after divorce. The free love 60s is way over.
6. DO Create Friendships First
Do consider dating as a way to create relationships through building friendships. Senior men in particular frequently lack authentic friends, and even if a woman may not be your dream partner, she may be a great candidate for friendship. And if you do actually meet someone with whom you want to be serious, creating a friendship with her first will ensure a more lasting relationship as well as better sex.
7.DON'T Date Your Opposite
Don't date with the flawed notion that opposites attract. There isn't a relationship expert who advocates opposites attract as a smart dating philosophy. Relationships are difficult enough under the best circumstances, and the more alike two people are, the better their chances for success. With that said, make sure not to typecast and date the same person over and over again. Be open to date others with different physical looks that what you are “used to."
8. DO Keep Up With the Times
Remember that the dating world has changed considerably since the last time you probably dated, which for many recently divorced seniors was decades ago. So much about dating is different today. Women ask men out. Men don't always pay on dates. Casual sex is rare. An emotional vocabulary is required. While the dating stakes are high, expectations should be low. Seniors don't date just to go out like they did when they were younger. A first date is an interview for a life partner.