How to Start Dating After Divorce 

When in the throes of marital strife, it’s not unusual to fantasize about the freedom of being divorced. You might see yourself enjoying a life that includes lots of dating. In some cases, it works out like that. In most cases, things are far more complicated. Even when everyone agrees that a divorce is necessary, you are still undergoing a major life transition. You may be surprised by how much grief is involved.

If you have children, of course, the complications multiply. Then, there are potential financial issues and perhaps the need to reinvent your social life. Suddenly, those dating fantasies have been pushed to the back burner. How can you revive that part of your life?

How to Start Dating After Divorce

There’s hooking up, and there’s dating. Either approach can be fraught, but if you’re looking to make an ongoing connection, it will require patience. Three suggestions:

Remember to Grieve

Don’t underestimate the sense of loss you will experience. When you recited your wedding vows, you had some plans in your mind. Thus, you’re not just mourning a lost connection. You’ll also have to come to terms with losing a potential future. Again, even if you need to move on, you will still feel grief about what you’ve lost.

You must allow room to go through a period of bereavement. If this makes dating feel more difficult, you have every right to wait until you feel ready. Speaking of waiting…

Take Your Time

You miss cuddling, holding hands, having sex, and more. It’s natural and understandable. But loneliness is not always the best motivation behind dating. Speaking of motivation, this is not the time to “prove” you’ve still got it. There is no single timetable for everyone. But be sure that you’re being guided by intentionality more than revenge or lust.

Learn from the Past

If you got divorced, it’s safe to say that both partners made mistakes. What can you learn from this? How can it guide you to be more conscious this time around? You have a fresh start, so honor it with mindfulness. This goes for everything from one-night stands to committed relationships. Set aside time to ensure you know why you’re dating and your goals.

Post-Divorce Dating: The Basics

Of course, there’s more to post-divorce dating than self-exploration. Don’t ignore the seemingly little details like:

  • When you feel ready, tell trusted friends and family members you’re receptive to being “fixed up.” This reduces the stress of meeting complete strangers.
  • Should you opt to try online dating, get some input and advice from someone with experience. It’s a whole new world.
  • If and when things become intimate, always practice safe sex.
  • Be honest about being divorced when you meet someone new. Set a precedent of honesty and transparency.
  • If you are a parent, be upfront about it. Find out right away who is and isn’t open to dating someone with kids.

On that last item, you must prioritize your children over your dating life. You can find a healthy balance without compromising the well-being of your children.

How Can You Find the Right Balance?

Take heart: the above warnings are designed solely to help. Countless people have happily dated after getting divorced. What’s important to remember is that each situation involves unique factors. General advice is priceless, but it’s necessary never to lose sight of your specific scenario. That’s where therapy becomes indispensable.

Working with an experienced professional positions you to better understand your patterns, needs, and strengths. If you’re unsure about moving forward after a divorce, let’s connect for a free and confidential consultation soon.

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