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
If you're a divorcee getting back into the dating world, congratulations—you’re on the verge of making a fresh start. Chances are you’ve taken some time to reflect, brushed the metaphorical dust from your clothes, and are feeling primed to enter singledom again with a renewed sense of energy.
Of course, leaving the past behind isn’t easy. However, you don’t need to leave it all behind. Yes, it’s important to move beyond your previous relationship on an emotional level, but taking the lessons you’ve learned and using them proactively as you start dating again can make you a more attentive partner and ultimately, a happier person.
In fact, this is the key to dating after a divorce: finding emotional balance. On the one hand, you want to rid yourself of any resentment or ill feelings lingering after the divorce. On the other hand, it’s also important to be cognizant of the problems that arose in your past relationship so you can learn from them. This way, you’ll be able to handle the ups and downs of your future relationships with maturity and wisdom.
So take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back for making it here, and then get ready to re-embark on the exciting adventure of finding romance. In the meantime, here are some do’s and don’ts of dating for divorcees ready to take that exciting leap back into the dating pool.
1. DO the Emotional Work
First and foremost, before you start dating, make sure you’ve done the emotional work around healing any wounds leftover from your recent divorce. No matter what your feelings are toward your past relationship, it’s important to dedicate some time to process and reflect. It takes several months or longer to process all the feelings involved in a prior marriage, whether the breakup was amicable or not. Dating with a broken heart is counterproductive, since it will be obvious to others that you’re not ready to truly commit yet. If you’re still harboring some unease, that’s perfectly normal. Hang out with friends until you're feeling positive about meeting someone new.
2. DO Go Slow
You can't rush back into love simply to make yourself feel better about a failed relationship. You can't make up for lost time. An overeager attitude about falling in love can intimidate others, not to mention set yourself up with impossible expectations. It’s better to be patient and realistic as you dip your toe back into the dating world. It takes time to evaluate someone's qualities, and the process of getting to know someone is complex. I've heard stories about men and women proclaiming their love on the first date, and it seldom goes well. Remember that it’s easy to mistake lust, desperation, or overexcitement for love, so take a breath, trust the process, and enjoy the playful back and forth that makes the first stages of relationships so intoxicating.
3. DON'T Date the Rocket Ride Believers
Avoid dates with singles who are moving at a faster pace than you are or simply seeking emotional highs. This takes some reflection and communication, but it’s well worth it in the long run. It’s as easy to get swept up in someone else’s emotions as it is your own, and when 2 people are on different wavelengths, the results can be jarring. They may even negate all the work you’ve put in up until now.
4. DON'T Mention You Ex
Try your best not to talk about your ex-wife or ex-husband. If you’re dating another divorcee and the topic comes up naturally, it’s okay to briefly discuss your marriages. However, try to keep it brief and stoic, and avoid emotional outbursts and negativity. If you're still angry enough to need to talk about an ex, you may not be ready to begin a new relationship. The focus should be on your partner, definitely not your ex-partner.
5. DON'T Rush The Sex
While you may not have been intimate with anyone since your marriage, your first date is not the place to release pent up desires. Rather, it’s all about getting to know each other. Sexual expectations on a first, second, or further dates without establishing an emotional connection can threaten the relationship and create a sense of rejection that could’ve been avoided with a bit of patience.
6. DO Create Friendships First
Do consider dating as a way to create relationships through building friendships. As we get older, it becomes harder to make authentic friends. Even if a man or woman may not be your dream partner, they may be a great candidate for friendship. Plus, if you do actually meet someone with whom you want to be serious, creating a friendship with them first will ensure a more lasting relationship as well as better sex.
7.DON'T Date Your Opposite
Don't assume that opposites attract. There isn't a relationship expert who advocates this as a smart dating philosophy. Relationships are difficult enough under the best circumstances, and the more alike 2 people are, the better their chances are 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 than 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. Dating has changed rapidly over the last 10 years. Online dating has dramatically changed the way singles interact. With those changes come new rules. It’s best to be open up to these changes and learn as you go.