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Dating after divorce

1 May

Dating after divorce can be daunting here are my tips on how to get back out there and successfully date post-divorce.

Couple out for dinner having wine poured by a waiter

The ending of a marriage can make you rethink everything you thought you knew about love or  even yourself. But, it shouldn’t prevent you from finding happiness with a new person. In fact, it has been proven that getting divorced in your 40s, or 50s, can actually improve the quality of your future relationships. At any age it can help you figure out what you want from a new partner and relationship and what you want from yourself.

Here are my top tips for dating after divorce: 

Make sure you are ready 

Even if you know your marriage is over, you still need to give yourself some time and space to process what has happened. Although it might be tempting to lick your wounds with positive attention from another, this distraction can actually inhibit you from the healing work that is necessary to move forward. You have to take the time to heal, let go of resentments, and come to a healthy emotional place before you can be open to a new relationship. Be patient with yourself and don't let well-meaning friends pressure you into dating before you are ready.

Ask yourself why you want to date again

If your 'why' is to avoid painful feelings like hurt, anger, or loneliness, then you need more time to heal. If however your 'why' is because you now want to date more and you're willing to feel all the emotions involved in dating again, then it’s a good sign that you're ready. Dating requires a certain amount of vulnerability, tolerance of uncertainty, and willingness to feel a range of emotions in the hopes of making positive new connections and relationships. If you are not ready for that, be honest with yourself and take your time – rushing will only hurt you more. Be patient and kind to yourself, you will get there. 

Set reasonable expectations

You don’t have to  go on every date assuming you’ll get married. Instead, you can look at it as an experience to learn more about yourself and the new life you’re creating for yourself moving forward. Equally don’t write off any relationship as a rebound, keep an open mind and make the most of this time of self discovery to firm up what you want for your life.

Know what is important to you

Figure out what you're looking for in a partner. What are the values you're most looking for? What are your deal breakers? Figuring that out first will save you from wasting time with someone who isn't going to be a good match in the long run. Remember this is a two way street so also consider what type of partner you want to be. 

Be informed about online dating 

When it comes to online dating there are so many choices it can be a minefield. It is important you research which ones offer the experience you're looking for, some are better suited to those looking for long-term partners, others are more for casual flings. Also make sure you know about all the scams that target online daters and always remember dating is about deeds not words. Professional charlatans of either sex are practicised in knowing how to flatter you - but you can always tell where you are from somebody’s actions rather than what they say. 

Don’t discount the slow burn

When returning to dating after a long monogamous relationship craving excitement of a spark filled romance is understandable but don’t discount the slow burn. Chemistry especially in women can grow over time, so keep your mind and your options open. And if somebody moves too fast, do not be afraid to make them slow down. Being introduced to someone’s children or their ex on your first date is a definite sign something isn’t quite right..

Be honest about your past

Don't be misleading about yourself, your life, or kids! In an online profile or in person. Eventually, the truth will out, and, you want to find someone who shares your values – who will like you for who you are. Anything less than honesty is setting yourself up to fail. 

Tell your kids when the time is right

Introducing a new partner can be confusing, anxiety-provoking, and troubling to children. Getting this right will have a huge impact on your children's acceptance of your new partner so do not rush it! I would advise you to wait until you have been seriously dating for at least 6 months before introducing a partner to your children. I would also advise you to get your ex on board first. Having their support will pay dividends in creating the family dynamic you hope to achieve.  

Dating after divorce can be a scary concept, almost as scary as being on your own. The truth is 3 out of 4 people go on to remarry, so it does work. You have every chance of meeting someone new and creating a happy loving relationship and life together when you put the time and effort into healing and making sure you are ready. I hope these tips help but if you need more help please get in touch.

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