Dating after divorce. It sounds like one of the scariest phrases in the English language, but if you enter it with the right mindset, dating after divorce can actually be very enjoyable. Before you venture back into the dating pool, follow these ultimate guide to dating again after divorce tips to ensure your experience is a successful one.
Are You Ready?
The first question you need to ask yourself before you start dating is whether or not you’re really ready to take this step. If you start dating before you’re truly ready, you can end up breaking your own heart in addition to someone else’s.
Determining whether or not you’re ready to date involves two parts- are you healed from your divorce and are you dating for the right reasons. Trying to cover up your pain with another person isn’t going to help you heal- it’s just going to prolong your healing process. It’s not fair to you and it’s certainly not fair to any potential partners you meet.
Ensuring you’re dating for the right reasons is equally as important as making sure you’re fully healed from your divorce. If you’re just dating to fill up your time, that’s fine if you’re in search of a casual relationship, but it’s not healthy if you desire something long-term. Dating to make your ex jealous is also not the right reason.
Ideally, you will have allowed yourself ample time to heal after your divorce and figure out who you are on your own before entering into a relationship with someone new. You’ll want to start dating because you are ready to find a compatible partner and you have a desire to build a life with them. Dating before you’re ready can set you back in your healing process, so it’s best to wait until you can answer yes to both of these questions.
How Do You Start?
If you haven’t been in the dating scene for a while, the whole process may seem overwhelming. Dating in 2021 is very different from dating even five years ago. Thanks to technology and the pandemic, dating apps are the go-to way to meet someone.
If the thought of downloading a dating app makes you cringe, you’re not alone. Many divorcees have that mindset when they first get divorced, but then they realize that meeting someone in today’s dating scene (especially if you’re a single parent) is nearly impossible without going through a dating app. Yes, you may be lucky enough to meet someone at the grocery store (masked- of course!) or through a mutual friend, but there will likely come a time when you’ll decide to take the plunge and download a dating app.
There are some important tips to make sure you’re staying safe online, and that you’re putting your best foot forward in your search for the love of your life. You can have a successful relationship from a dating app, but you will probably have to suffer through a few bad dates before you find it. Look at these dates as a learning experience and a way to get your feet wet before you settle down again.
Dating App Tips
There are literally hundreds of dating apps available for you to download. Finding which ones are worth your time might take a little research. Which one you use really depends on what you’re looking for in terms of a relationship. Some apps are more for hookups while others are geared towards those searching for a serious relationship.
The number one concern you should have when downloading dating apps is your safety. Most apps have safety procedures in place, like blocking and double-checking before you give out your phone number. You want to put enough information on your profile to make it stand out, but not so much that you end up with a stalker. Utilize the safety procedures that the app has in place and only give out your phone number or social media profile to someone you’ve been speaking with for a decent amount of time.
To make your profile stand out:
- Use a bright, front-facing photo of yourself as your main profile picture (preferably one of you smiling).
- Avoid using pictures with other people in them, but if you do, don’t make it your main profile picture.
- Be honest in your profile about what you’re looking for. It’s better to be upfront and scare someone off now than to throw things at them a month or two down the road.
- Put some interesting facts about you that will trigger a good conversation. There’s nothing worse than making small talk with dozens of people on a daily basis. Give your potential matches something entertaining to discuss with you!
Safety While Dating
First dates are exciting, but it’s important to keep a clear head when you’re just getting to know someone. Keep in mind that this person is a stranger, aside from maybe a few phone or text conversations. Follow these tips to keep yourself safe:
- Meet in a public place for the first date.
- Tell someone you trust where you’re going and who you’re meeting. Have them check in with you an hour or so into the date to make sure things are going smoothly.
- Never tell someone where you live until you have gone out on a few dates with them.
- Drive yourself to the date so that you have an easy out in case you need to leave quickly.
Taking Things to the Next Level
So, the first date went well (and hopefully a few dates beyond that) and you’re ready to make things a little more serious. Whether this means physically or emotionally, be sure to take precautions in all aspects. Don’t move forward with the person you’re dating until you know you can trust them. Your divorce may have caused your self-esteem to take a hit, so be honest with yourself about whether you really like the person you’re dating, or if they’re just activating your attachment system.
If you are ready to take things to the next level, be open and honest with your partner about everything. Your marriage likely had some communication issues (most end in divorce because of this reason in one way or another) so make good communication your number one goal in your new relationship.
Continue to keep safety in mind as you enter this new stage of your relationship. Protect yourself both physically and mentally by taking precautions. There’s no shame in asking a partner about things like STD testing and what form of birth control they use. It may seem like a foreign topic coming out of a marriage where you were committed to one person, but these conversations are important to have when you’re starting something new.
Protect your heart just as much as your body. Be upfront with your partner about what you want out of the relationship, and ask them to do the same. Most divorcees don’t want to get divorced again, and one way to avoid that is to be honest from the very beginning with your partner, in all aspects.
Having a Healthy Relationship
Just because your marriage failed doesn’t mean you’re incapable of having a healthy relationship. You’re actually better-equipped to have one as a result of your divorce because now you really know what you want. You know how difficult marriage is and you won’t enter into another serious relationship with someone unless you know your partner is fulfilling your mind, body, and soul. There are three key things to any successful relationship:
Honest, open communication from the get-go can avoid a lot of misunderstandings. Try not to text when you are angry, as the tone of text messages can often be misconstrued. Have a willingness to listen in addition to discussing your feelings.
This may be difficult, especially if your marriage ended due to infidelity, but trust is one of the most important aspects of any healthy relationship. Instead of thinking that trust needs to be earned, give trust freely at the beginning until your partner gives you a reason not to. Remember, they aren’t your ex and they deserve the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.
Committing again after your divorce might seem scary. You don’t want to end up in the same situation, so it’s understandable, but a healthy relationship requires a strong commitment from both parties. You can’t expect your partner to commit to you if you don’t commit to them, so at some point, you’re going to have to take a leap of faith and just do it.
Is Happily Ever After Possible After a Divorce?
Yes! Absolutely! But it takes time, patience, and a willingness to be open in order to achieve that. It also takes the right partner, which is why it’s so important to take things slow when dating after a divorce.
This is your chance to make things right. Not everyone gets a redo at their happily ever after, and you’ve got it, so don’t take that for granted. Have fun with dating and enter into it with an open heart. The love of your life may be just around the corner.