Whether you have been divorced for weeks or years, there are things you should consider before returning to the dating world. Divorce is messy and painful, and dating too soon can end up in more heartache. Waiting too long may find you a bit too comfortable as a single. Here are some guidelines:
No matter what, the divorce should be final before you start dating. We aren’t our emotional best during a divorce. As a result, we are vulnerable. Sometimes even the slightest kindness from another feels like true love, and few rebound love affairs turn intolong-lasting relationships. Additionally, a prospective love interest doesn’t need to be exposed to the process and your ups and downs regarding it. You probably won’t make the best impression.
Be sure you have healed and want to date for the right reasons. Here’s a test: Starting after work on Friday, go the entire weekend without socializing or talking with anyone else (if you have children, do this on a weekend when the kids are with your ex). If you are not feeling completely isolated, lonely, or verging on insanity come Monday morning, you’re probably ready. If you aren’t comfortable spending time alone, you may be looking to date just to fill time. This exercise also forces you to take a break from talking about the divorce and your ex. A new romantic interest really doesn’t want to hear all the slights, insults, challenges, etc. of that event.
Analyze what went wrong in your marriage and decide how you would prevent that in the future. Unless you were in an extreme case of abuse or infidelity, chances are you contributed to the relationship ending. Rarely is it all one person’s fault. What are you going to do different next time? Even if it was entirely your ex’s fault, ask yourself why you didn’t see the warning signs before the marriage. How are you going to improve your radar for the future?
Maybe the reason your marriage failed is because you just picked the wrong person to marry. Why? In most cases it’s because more time was spent on planning the wedding than the marriage. People often get caught up in the feelings of romantic love and, therefore, fail to define exactly who and what it is they want. Write down your must-haves for a perspective partner and enter the new dating world with that vision.
If you’ve been divorced for years and are just now deciding to start dating, ask yourself “why now?” Many people live so long as a singleton that they become quite comfortable with that arrangement. Are you truly ready to invite someone new into your life? Is there room and time to nurture that new relationship? Or are you still harboring some deep resentment or wound from your previous experience? For many, divorce stunts emotional growth. Be sure you have the maturity to enter a loving relationship.
With the right mindset and healing, post-divorce dating can be exciting and rewarding. Just be sure to leave your baggage behind and you know what you want in a new relationship.