Are you recently divorced? Wondering when you should start dating after a divorce is normal. If it’s been several years or even decades since you’ve been out on the scene, you may be more than a little rusty. Knowing when to date after things are over between you and your spouse can be tricky. The best way to begin is to start with yourself.
Before You Get Back Out There
Before you get back out on the dating scene, it’s important you take some time to adjust to your new situation. It’s tempting after a tough divorce to take comfort in the arms of new woman. However, when you want something more meaningful than a drunken one-night stand, you need to both mentally and physically prepare yourself to be a romantic partner.
Wait Until It’s Final
Before you start dating, wait until the divorce is final. Nothing will complicate your life more quickly than juggling two women; the one you’re divorcing and the one who’s heart you’re probably going to break. You’re already under enough stress. There’s no sense dragging down an innocent party into your messy divorce. And even if it’s the most amicable divorce in history, you still need closure from one relationship before moving on to the next. If you really think she’s your soulmate, get her number, but tell her you need some time.
- Take Time to Mourn
If you start dating before you’ve taken the time to mourn the last relationship you were in, you’re on the rebound. Rebound relationships don’t last. They only make things worse. Before you even get started on a new fling, be sure you get real closure. Wait until the papers are finalized, you’ve moved into different homes, and you’ve packed away sentimental items before hitting the scene. This is called “cleaning house”. It’s a good thing to do emotionally before seeing anyone else.
- Learn to Stand Alone
Alright guys, let’s face it. We’re big. We’re tough. We can open jars, kill spiders, fix cars, and beat the crap out of anybody who messes with our women. But when it comes to balancing the checkbook and cooking the meals, some of us fall short. This doesn’t mean you’re stupid. You’ve just never had to do them before. But these are things you must learn how to do. Why?
To avoid co-dependency.
Being co-dependant means instead of being in relationship because you love a person and enjoy spending time with them, you depend on them to take care of and do the things you don’t know how to do. This doesn’t breed caring and connectedness, it breeds resentment on both sides. When a man learns to stand on his own, he is an asset to the relationship. He feels confident and secure. Needy men attract the wrong type of women and any new relationship can turn unhealthy fast.
- Know Yourself First
This is a big one. If you’re a serial monogamist (meaning somebody who spends as little time possible being single), this could be the reason your marriage ended into divorce. How come? Always being involved with another person gives you little time to know yourself. If you don’t really know yourself, you can’t know what you really need in a partner. You may pick women based on the way they look or who they remind you of and become involved right away without understanding why.
Before you start dating after divorce, spend time with yourself, your friends, and family only. Do this for at least 3 months. Start a hobby, join a club, take up reading or volunteering. Whatever you want to do. Just find yourself first before looking for your other half.
- Know What You’re Looking For
Once you’ve gotten to know yourself a little bit better, it’s time to start learning what you’re looking for. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down the qualities you’re looking for in a woman. It’s okay to put “blonde” or “nice ass” but get into the deeper stuff too. What about her personality? Her interests? Her desires? If you could create the perfect woman, what would she be like? It may seem like a strange exercise at first, but it will really help you get clear about what you want before entering the dating scene again.
When You’re Ready to Get Back Out There
Once you’ve gotten closure from your divorce, spent time alone, and designed the perfect woman on paper, you’re ready to get back out there. In theory at least. But before you jump the gun, take some time to improve your looks and your game.
- A Brand New You
If you’re like most men, you let yourself go a little during your marriage. You may have added some love handles and stopped caring as much about your looks. After all, you got her right? Well, you’re on the market again. Which means a little effort is in order. Join a gym, work out, and get fit. Eat healthier, drink less, and try to quit smoking. Go on a shopping spree and spring for some new duds. You deserve it. Giving yourself a bit of a make-over will go a long way in improving your confidence and odds on getting dates.
- Re-Learn to Flirt
Okay, if stone-washed jeans and big hair were still the thing the last time you went on a date, odds are, you might need a little help with your pick-up lines. It’s always a good idea to re-learn how to flirt and learn to pick up women without sounding like a jerk. Again, confidence is key. If you’re unsure about what you have to offer, she will be too.
- Get Out There
When you haven’t been dating for a while, it can be tempting to spend most of your time alone. If you’re not ready, that’s fine. But eventually you’re going to have to get out there if you want to meet somebody new. Don’t feel like you have to go out to a bar or a club to meet women. You can meet that special somebody at the grocery store, park, or laundromat too. Women are everywhere. Just look for a girl who catches your eye and start a casual conversation. If nothing comes of it, at least you’ll get your feet wet.
- Take it Slow
While some guys don’t want to get out there and start dating after a divorce, some men jump in too fast. Once you’ve met a girl you’d like to get to know better, take it slow. Don’t rush into a commitment right away. Be honest with her. Tell her you’ve been recently divorced. She’ll respect your honesty.
A Note on How Children Handle New Dating Partners
A divorce is always more complicated when children are involved. When their parents begin dating again, children don’t know where they fit in. They may resent the new person, lash out at them or reject them altogether. When this happens, it’s important not to become angry with your child. Instead, sit down and talk with him or her. Assess their feelings. Reassure your child that you’re not trying to replace his or her mom; you just need someone your own age to spend time with.
Dating isn’t easy, especially when it’s been a long time since you’ve done it. If you haven’t been dating in decades, you might find an alternative in dating websites. Despite what you might think, dating websites aren’t for “desperate losers”.
Plenty of men just like you get started on matchmaking websites. The questionnaires may help you get clear about who you’re looking for and weed out who you don’t. Dating is kind of like riding a bicycle; you never really forget. So when you’re ready, take the first step. It will get easier with time.