How do you get back out and date after a divorce is a question I am often asked.
Divorce is tough! How tough your divorce is will depend on who left who and whether divorce was something you wanted.
Depending on your own situation you may be feeling:
- Worthless, as you were rejected by someone you loved and it has affected you deeply.
- Guilt for leaving someone you once loved and seeing how that hurt them, your children, family and friends.
- If you both decided to end your relationship you can still end up with mixed feelings.
What happens after separation is that being on your own feels lonely as you can have too much time on your hands.
You might want company but the thought of getting back out there is scary
It’s normal to have mixed feelings about getting back out there to date after a divorce. You may find that you are excited but nervous at the same time. Excited about getting a 2nd chance but nervous as you are scared of the unknown or failing again.
I have written 11 Tips to Get Over Your Divorce and Date that covers making sure you are ready to get back out there again and other tips.
However, today I am going to look at the practical side of how to date after a divorce because I know first-hand what you need to do as I divorced after a 21-year marriage.
It may feel scary but trust me when I say that dating can be fun.
10 Things You Need to Know to Date After a Divorce
1. Have Fun!
Time to have fun and realise that your divorce is not the end of the world, it is just the end of life as you knew it. My motto is that it’s never too late to have the life you have imagined!
Instead of being stuck in the pain of your divorce, go and live your life. Do the things you have always wanted to do and have fun rather than taking everything so seriously.
You can take baby steps getting out there to date after a divorce. Think of it like going to Kindy and learning the basics all over again! Kindy is about learning through having fun. Do that!
Take things slowly and get to know people. See if they are right for YOU! Take the time to discover what and who you like! You are older and wiser so you may be attracted to a. completely different type of person.
Don’t go into each date thinking will this be my next partner. That puts way too much pressure on each date. Could you imagine meeting someone and asking if they will be your best friend for the rest of your life? You wouldn’t do that, so why do that when you are dating! It puts pressure on meeting someone and won’t bring out the best in either of you because there is way too much judgement during a first meeting.
2. Get a Makeover to Date After a Divorce
To feel confident getting back out there to date after a divorce, go and get a makeover! Update your hair and wardrobe and create a new you! When you feel good about how you look on the outside it instantly makes you feel more confident on the outside. I recommend trying a new hairdresser who will give you a new updated look. Then go shopping and get some clothes that make you look great.
3. Don’t Get Caught in the Superficial Trap
Dating has always been \ superficial, but dating apps have made it worse! When you look through profiles it is easy to choose the best-looking profiles. However, good character, emotional intelligence and kindness are so much more important than how someone looks. By only choosing the top 5% you miss out on wonderful single people. Look beyond the greying hair, the wrinkles and balding heads!
Keep in mind that a photograph is two dimensional and doesn’t really show what someone is like. I am sure you have shown someone a picture in the past and said they look better in real life. Photographs don’t capture charisma! If you are dating the 2nd time around, especially older in life, no one looks how they used to, including you. So be open-minded as people can be surprising.
4. Beware of the Validation Trap
Divorce can rock your confidence to its core, especially if the person you loved has left you. It leaves you feeling like you aren’t good enough. To feel confident again, it is common to date to feel better about yourself, thinking that if someone else wants to be with you then you are worthwhile. You are dating to feel valid, wanted, and accepted for who you are. I call this the validation trap and it can often cause more harm to your self-esteem than good. Why? Because how you feel about yourself comes from within rather than someone else liking you. I work with plenty of women who have put themselves out there and it felt good that someone wanted them. Only to have sex with the new person only to be rejected after sex. This compounds the feeling of not being good enough
5. Online Dating
If the last time you were single was 20 years ago things have changed! The reality is that technology has significantly changed dating and is continuing to change it. Even if you were last single five years ago – things have changed including the dating platforms that are now popular. Apps have taken over the online dating scene. You will also find that apps that were once only for hookups are now also popular with people looking for a relationship.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the dating apps you pay for are better, the free ones after often better. Take the time to do a bit of research on dating apps before you get started. Knowing how dating apps work makes dating easier. So read about them and ask your single friends which ones they prefer.
Or if you want to save time, I have put together everything you need to succeed online in – How to Succeed At Internet Dating.
Technology gives you more ways to meet other single people than ever before. However, online dating can seem a little bit like shopping on Amazon – so many options! It can give you the illusion that you will be able to date anyone you can see online. However, online dating doesn’t come with the guarantee that you will get what you have ordered or that the other person will like you.
The other problem with online dating is that it lets people say and do things they wouldn’t do face to face. The behaviour online has resulted in a whole new language for the behaviour. Like ghosting, breadcrumbing, benching pocketing, etc. Generally, they are all terms for bad behaviour! For example, ghosting is when someone you are talking to disappears without a trace at any stage in the dating process.
Don’t let the horror stories put you off, online dating is a great tool to meet other single people. You just need to know how to use the tool because it is the one place you will find more singles than any other place. If you want to go fishing, you go fishing where the fish are! If you want tips for what to include in your dating profile read 12 Hacks for a Winning Online Dating Profile.
5. IRL (In Real Life)
You can still meet singles in real life! Technology and the post #metooera have not stopped people from meeting and talking to each other when they are out. You can meet other single people anywhere and everywhere. I recommend joining social groups when you first separate to meet new friends because this is often what you need the most to stop feeling alone. Especially if all your friends are married it is helpful to meet other people in the same situation. I recommend Meetup, which has groups all around the world. They have various social groups according to specific interests and they are a great start.
You can also try singles events where you know everyone else is in the same position as you are. Just use them as a way to get back out there without being focused on the outcome. Remember you are in Dating Kindy so it is about learning through having fun.
You can also meet people at the coffee shop, at the gym, at a bar or anywhere. Just remember to make eye contact, smile and say hello.
6. Everything has changed but nothing has changed!
Everything in the dating world has changed but the basics haven’t. It may feel scary but put yourself out there but you’ll remember how to do it! Just like riding a bike you never really forget how! You may fall off the bike but you can get back on it– the same applies to dating. You may misunderstand what to do but that’s normal while you are getting used to it again! The basics of meeting other people are the same as it always has been.
7. Let’s Talk about Getting Naked
Sex after a divorce may feel exciting or nerve-wracking! Especially if you feel your body isn’t quite what it used to be. The thought of getting nakid in front of someone new can feel terrifying, especially for women.
Don’t fall into the trap of focussing on what is wrong with your body. If you do – STOP IT! Men love women’s bodies and don’t see what you do they are simply happy to have a naked woman in front of them! Men are nowhere near as judgemental as you are with yourself.
Oh, and if you do come across a man who is highly judgemental – get rid of him. Remember that life is simply too short to waste time on men who don’t see your value!
8. When do you Have Sex?
I get asked this question a lot, especially by women who are told by men that it is normal to have sex after three dates! So, when do you have sex? The answer is when it feels right for you and when you are comfortable having sex. Don’t let anyone pressure you or tell you that it is normal to have sex after three dates! If someone isn’t willing to wait for more than three dates, it’s a good sign that is all they are looking for! In the modern dating world, sex is easier to come by and the reality is having sex, even good sex is no guarantee that it will lead to a relationship. In fact, just like in the good old days, waiting and taking things slowly is more likely to lead to the relationship you want.
Make the decision based on what you want. Many people who have come out of a long-term relationship want to go through a stage of experimentation., others don’t. Just do what is right for
9. Have the DTR Talk Early
Going through a divorce is tough. People feel lonely and miss all of the things they enjoyed in their marriage. Many people who have separated or who are in the process of divorcing date to fill that void. The problem is that they aren’t ready to be with someone else and have no space emotionally. The dating world is full of these people and it is important to recognise the signs or you may fall into the trap of falling for someone who isn’t available. The reality is that it won’t matter how wonderful you are, they just aren’t ready.
I recommend asking what someone is looking for at the beginning. This is DTR – defining the relationship. Make sure you take the time to listen to the answer. It will save you time and heartache.
Conclusion to Date After a Divorce
I hope you have found these tips for how to date after a divorce helpful. If you want more support from someone who has been there, why not book a free discovery call? Or you can find out more about my story here.