Visit your nearest search engine and read the tops stressors in a person’s life. You’ll learn that after the death of a loved one, number two on that list is “divorce.” Thus, it is important not to underestimate its potential impact on you.
It’s okay if you were hurt. Or just knocked off balance for a while. Even if you feel relieved and happy to be single again, such a major change takes time to process.
Now, part of moving forward may involve a return to dating for you. If so, this milestone manifests differently for each person. However, some general guardrails should be considered. Therefore, it is essential that you simultaneously trust your gut while factoring in some universal advice.
Reentering the dating world can be a tricky blend of excitement and apprehension. But before you get to that, you want to handle some basics, e.g.
- If you have children, prioritize their wellbeing and emotional health
- Prioritize your own wellbeing and emotional health
- Safeguard your finances
- Prepare for waves of emotions when you may least expect them
Once the idea of meeting someone on a romantic basis feels feasible, follow some well-worn advice:
- Don’t talk about your ex on your first dates — and probably not unless you see lots of this new person.
- Never lie about having children. Yes, this could be a dealbreaker for some people. Respect that boundary but do not let it inspire you to “forget” to mention that you are a parent.
- Try dating apps but remember, in-person meet-ups are still the best.
- When creating a dating app profile, get input from trusted friends and loved ones.
If you’ve reached the point of dating apps, it’s definitely time to hear some fundamental guidelines for what lies ahead.
5 Strategies for A Successful Return to Dating After Divorce
1. Be As Ready As You Can Be
This is a fine line to walk. If the idea of dating fills you with dread, you may tell yourself you’re just not ready. Conversely, you can end up rushing in. So, let’s set up a few guidelines:
- The divorce is final
- Your children have at least somewhat settled in their new situation
- You’re over your ex
Set yourself up to succeed. Being in too much of a hurry can sabotage a lot more than your dating life.
2. Have a General Idea of Why You’re Dating
Are you looking for something casual? Perhaps you’re considering another long-term commitment. Are you lonely? Ask yourself tough questions. Give yourself honest answers. Talk them through with a non-judgmental friend or loved one. Proceed with as much clarity as possible.
3. Let Go of Anger and Resentment
Divorce is often a painful and contentious experience. It’s only natural that you may build up a fair amount of anger or resentment. These are powerful emotions that must be processed in a healthy manner. Post-divorce therapy is an ideal setting for this up to happen productively.
4. Open Up Beyond Your “Type”
Depending on how long you were with your ex, it may be a long time since you were in the dating pool. Don’t limit yourself. Your “type” has probably evolved a lot over the years. This is where online dating can come in mighty handy.
5. Don’t Introduce Your Kids Too Early
If you have children, keep their needs in mind. You may head-over-heels about someone. That does not mean you should feel compelled to set up a family meeting. When it comes to all things post-divorce dating, patience is your friend. When it comes to protecting your children, patience is non-negotiable.
There is no how-to manual for a successful return to dating after divorce. But counseling can be the most productive way to navigate and smooth out this new phase of your life. The path forward after divorce is often navigated best with support. We enjoy seeing our clients recover and reconnect in the dating world when they are ready. If you would like to know how we can help you, please contact us for a confidential consultation.