9 Tips to dating after divorce.
Oct 05, 2020
Divorce is the second most traumatic event you can go through in your life, second only to the death of a loved one. It can make you rethink everything you thought you knew about love and relationships – and even yourself. It’s hardly surprising then, that the thought of getting back on the dating scene, can be really daunting.
I’d been with my husband for sixteen years – all my adult life – when we split up. I’d thought that we’d be spending the rest of our lives together, so the last thing I could imagine, was being with someone else.
In fact, I’d never really done the dating scene when I was younger - we’d met at university - so it was a whole new experience for me. It almost felt like there was a complete stage of life I’d missed out.
The most important thing before you start dating again is to make sure you’ve given yourself enough time to grieve the end of your relationship. It’s a process that you need to go through, and that process is different for everyone. For me, it took a long time before I was ready to think about dating - for others it might be much quicker.
Try not to jump into a rebound relationship in the hope that it will distract you from your situation and boost your self-esteem. It never works …
Your confidence and self-esteem can take a real battering after the breakdown of a relationship. You need to spend time rebuilding this yourself rather than relying on someone else to do it for you.
However, once you feel you’re ready to face the dating world here are some essential tips to help you:
- Learn from your past relationship – have you taken the time to understand what went wrong in your relationship and the part you played in that? It’s so important that we learn from our past mistakes so that we can take our learnings into any new relationships to help them flourish. If you’re still consumed by any feelings towards your ex – whatever they may be – then you’re probably not ready to date. You need to deal with those first. A divorce coach can help you to work through these.
- Rediscover yourself – when you’re in a relationship it’s only natural that your self-identity becomes entwined with your partner’s. You can lose sight of who you are and what you enjoy doing. We make compromises as part of being in a relationship and over time we can lose ourselves. Make a list of everything you’ve always wanted to do, but couldn’t, when you were in your relationship. Have fun working your way through the list and reminding yourself of what you love doing and how you love to be. Date yourself before you date anyone else.
- Understand what you want and need from an Ideal partner – take the time to identify these qualities so that you can be really focused when looking for a new partner. It will also help you have a fulfilling relationship. Work out what your key values are and those which you want any future partner to have. I think it’s really important that your partner shares your same values for a successful relationship.
- Be aware of any red flags early on - Make a list of 3 - 5 ‘Must Not Haves’, or the deal-breakers, for any potential partner. This enables you to be on the look-out for these warning signs early on and if you notice them you can then make the decision to get out…
- Set reasonable expectations – Go into the dating with the attitude of having some fun rather than expecting to find your next long-term partner straight away. Although that can happen – it’s unlikely. View it as an opportunity to meet some different people and have new and exciting experiences. It could be that you meet Mr Right Now, rather than Mr Right in the short term.
- Know that chemistry doesn’t always mean a long-term connection – It can be easy to be swept away when you meet someone new. It’s exciting after going through your breakup. The feeling is only temporary though and as the hormones reduce to their normal levels, the initial rush fades too. Chemistry, especially for women, can grow over time and it can take many dates for this to happen.
- Be honest about you and your past – there’s no point trying to be someone you’re not. The truth will come out over time and it’s not the best basis for a relationship. Make sure your profile on-line is accurate. Know what you’re going to say about your ex and your breakup on your first date and keep it brief. You don’t want to spend the whole date talking about your ex.
- Take your time before introducing your new partner to your kids – Although it can be tempting to want your kids to share in your happiness and meet your new partner – it’s best to wait. Your kids have already been through a great deal of change and introducing a new partner can be confusing and stressful for them. Make sure you both feel your relationship is serious before taking this step. When you do tell them, reassure them that they’re still your top priority.
- Be safety conscious – If you’re meeting your date in person for the first time, always meet in a public place and let someone know where you’re going. Covid-19 has also changed the dynamics of dating with more of the first dates taking place over zoom but you can still have fun with these.
Dating can be difficult. It can trigger emotions from previous relationships and there is always the risk of being rejected. It can also be a lot of fun – so try and go into it with this attitude.
Make sure you’ve worked through your grief and that you’re happy being single. Be in the position that you ‘want’ to be in a relationship rather than ‘need’ to be in one.
Above all, embrace the opportunity to meet new people, have different experiences and create a future that you love again!
If you’d like any support to work through this in more detail then drop me an email at [email protected] to book in a free 20 minute discovery call.
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