3 Tips for Dating After Divorce
By Mikkie Mills
Going through a divorce can be a harrowing and emotionally draining experience. You may lose confidence about your own identity and what you want in life because such things are challenged in the divorce process. And then there’s dating. Having the courage to put yourself back out there after a long-term relationship or marriage has come to an end can be scary. Scary because dating requires what may feel like uncomfortable levels of vulnerability for those who have gotten used to the idea of finally being with somebody.
Whether you feel like jumping right back into the dating pool or taking your time, remember to be mindful of your own needs. Trust yourself. When you do decide that dating again is something that you feel ready for, here are three helpful tips to make the experience a fulfilling and optimistic one.
Take stock of your previous marriage. Do the “inside work” to achieve your goal of ensuring that your next relationship is a healthy one. It is helpful to identify what went wrong in your marriage, as well as to acknowledge the role you may have played in keeping the relationship from being the best that it could have been. This can be a sobering part of preparing yourself to date again, but ultimately it will be helpful in establishing expectations when you do find the person you want to be with.
Taking inventory of your own preparedness is also necessary in helping you decide when you are ready for new relationship possibilities. Unfortunately there is no silver bullet for dating after divorce, but making sure that you are mentally in the right place can be a great beginning for a refreshing and fulfilling dating process.
Do What Makes You Happy
Coming through the settling dust of divorce can leave you wondering what actually makes you happy. In order to cultivate a successful and happy marriage, serving your spouse and putting their needs before your own are essential ingredients. However, it is good to take time for yourself, too. Some people get so lost in trying to accommodate everyone else around them that they eventually lose sight of what makes them happy. Setting aside time for self-care and trying new things like photography, cake decorating, or painting are important to ensuring that you remain yourself in a relationship that demands so much of both people.
So, take advantage of your status as a single adult and try new things. Or rediscover what made you happy in the first place. Making time for yourself can also help you determine when you feel interested in dating again, because doing what brings you happiness can help you have the confidence to know who you are when you dip your toes back into the dating pool.
It can be easy to feel hard-done by after your divorce. You may even feel pessimistic about relationships and love in general, which may cause you to start thinking that you don’t even want to give it a try. However, pessimism can bar your chances of discovering someone out there who is compatible with you. Practice optimism. Force yourself if you have to. By keeping your negativity in check you will find that over time your thoughts will become more optimistic and hopeful for love again.
Practicing optimism will also give you the mental resilience to try and try again as you hope for the best and give dating your best efforts to make your next relationship work out. Although dating after divorce requires a lot of trial and error as you put yourself in new and uncomfortable situations, optimism gives you the courage to be vulnerable and to open yourself up to a variety of dating experiences.
No matter how alone you may feel after your divorce, remember that dating is never easy for anyone. It will probably be a little messy and a little awkward at first. Acknowledge that every new relationship presents its challenges, both physical and mental. By taking stock of who you are and what you want, and then approaching your goals with optimism, you will feel the confidence to jump every hurdle that comes your way as you navigate the world of dating.