Dating after getting a divorce isn’t always easy. People might tell you to get back in the saddle again, or that you deserve a second chance at happiness. While dating again can eventually be a good thing, your mental and emotional health should remain your top priority.
Part of being ready to date again is knowing what to expect. People who have been through a divorce are often hesitant to be vulnerable, and they’re more likely to take things slow, especially within the first year or so of a new relationship. You also have to know your own expectations and be true to the things you want and don’t want.
With that in mind, there are some tips you can use to make dating after divorce easier and more enjoyable. The truth is, you do deserve to find happiness again, but only when you’re ready, and only on your terms.
Clear the Clutter — Literally and Figuratively
It’s often hard for people who have been through a divorce to be optimistic about love. It might even sound a little corny, at times. But it’s important to clear away the clutter from your previous marriage. Whether it ended amicably or with contention, you can’t expect to hold onto the baggage from that relationship and move forward in a healthy way.
If you do hold on to why that relationship ended, you’re more likely to have a negative outlook on relationships and love, which can keep you from dating after a divorce.
One way to clear your thoughts is to actually clear out your space. If you still live in the home you shared with your ex, try rearranging the furniture or getting some new decor. Declutter some of the things that stress you out or make your home feel “busy.” Limit bringing new items into your life. The simpler your space (both mentally and physically), the better.
Do What Makes You Happy
Before you get back into the dating scene, you have to think about your own wellbeing. When you’re married, you’re part of a unit. People start to look at you as half of a couple, rather than your own person. So, take this opportunity to rediscover things about yourself. Try something new or do something you used to enjoy.
Even when you start dating after a divorce, have fun with it. You can take away some of the fear and intimidation of dating by letting things be casual. Plan fun dates to mini-golf courses or bowling alleys. Find some good lighting and take a selfie with your date to post to your social media sites. While you can use the lessons you learned in your marriage to understand what you want and don’t want in a relationship, don’t let them hinder you from having fun and not taking things so seriously at first.
Find a Partner the Right Way
When you’re ready to get back into the dating world, one of the most important things is to go about it the right way. Online dating is great, especially if you tend to have a hard time approaching new people and talking to them. You should still be honest and genuine, even in a digital dating profile, but it can help to ease some of the tension you might get when you first meet someone in person.
If you do decide to find a potential partner online, make sure you protect yourself. If you have children, it’s even more important to protect their privacy and keep them safe. Teach your children the importance of watching what they post, set safety filters, and encourage them to speak up if anyone they don’t know tries to connect with them online. If a potential suitor tries to connect with your kids before you’re ready, it could be a red flag.
Not into online dating? Do what works for you! There is nothing wrong with the traditional route of meeting someone when you’re doing something you enjoy. If you’re too nervous to approach someone or break the ice, you can always use the help of a professional matchmaker. They’re designed to do all the searching for you, so you don’t have to feel pressured into finding your perfect mate, and you can focus on yourself while they do the work.
Be as Patient as Possible
Whether you’re nervous to start dating after getting divorced or you’re anxious to find someone new, it’s important to be patient before you dive into the dating world again. Dating shouldn’t be speedy; it should be a process. After you’ve gone through a failed marriage, it should be an even more extensive process. You have to recognize that, and so do your potential future partners.
There will also be times where you’ll go on dates that just don’t work. That’s when patience is even more important. Don’t give up hope on love or a successful relationship. It’s not always easy to stay positive, but if you make the commitment to do so, you’ll eventually find the perfect fit for your future.