Dating After Divorce

dating divorce Dec 07, 2020

Are you starting to feel ready to get back out there?  Are you thinking about dating again post-divorce?  Unsure of whether or not you’re even up for it?  Were you married before the age of online dating and terrified at the prospect of uploading pictures and completing a profile?  Don’t worry, I’m here for you!  When it comes to fix ups, matchmaking services, and online dating, take a deep breath and prepare for an interesting adventure. 


How do I know if I’m ready to date?

Many divorces can take months, if not years, and at some point during that process, even if you don’t officially have the signed agreement, you may want to get back out there.  If your motivation is purely to get back at your ex or find a quick fix in healing some personal emotional strife, I would encourage you to look inward and really consider whether or not you want to bring someone else into your world at that time.  Dating apps can make the process move quickly, so just be really sure you feel ready.

You know you’re ready to date when you feel completely comfortable with who you are on your own. Someone else will come into your life and only make it better.  You don’t need him, and you certainly will be fully and completely happy in your life without another person.  The best time to meet someone is when you feel fully content on your own. 


Energy: You get what you give

My therapist has been telling me this for years. I give her all the credit for it, and in my life, nothing could be truer and proven time and again through my own experiences.  We give out energy, consciously and subconsciously to every single person we interact with.  Throughout our lives, we grow into different stages of emotional maturity and health.  We tend to attract people who match our own level of emotional health. 

I also believe higher powers, God, the universe, Buddha, literally whatever you want to identity as your higher power, sends people into your life to help you learn the lessons you need to learn while on this earth.  If you’re thinking about dating again, consider the fact that you will likely attract in people roughly at the same level of emotional health.  The healthier you are, the healthier the people you attract in will be.


Where to begin?

Start by writing down the qualities you are seeking in your ideal match.  Be careful here, in my first draft I wrote basically the opposite of my ex-husband.  Be clear about what you’re looking for and what is important to you.  This list should not be a checklist, rather a guide.  Know that the person the universe sends you ultimately may not look exactly like you wanted him to look on paper. The point of writing down a general sense of qualities you are looking for is to start putting that positive energy out there.  “Hello, universe, I am ready, send me someone kind of like this …”

Next, let people in your life know you are open to being fixed up.  You don’t need to have business cards printed with your picture and phone number to pass out to everyone you meet.  But, do think about the handful of people in your life who may know people you might like to date.  In my life that small handful included my brother, two coworkers, and a few of my closest girlfriends.  And, better yet, if your coworker’s husband has a friend you met once before and think may be a good match, ask your coworker about that person specifically.  Own your dating life, and advocate for quality matches. 

A more active and direct approach is to dive into online dating.  See more in my post, Divorcee’s Guide to Online Dating.  The most important advice I can give related to online dating is to set realistic expectations for yourself.  These apps are widely used by all walks of life, so you need to focus on weeding out those who don’t fit what you’re looking for, as well as learn to be patient.  My recommendation is to start with 1-2 apps or services, be sure in your brief profile to include a high-level snippet about yourself and what you are looking for.  From there, be safe, let a friend know where you are going and who you will be meeting. 


Final word on dating after divorce

It’s OK to just want to go out and have fun!  I remember telling a guy I went out with right after my first divorce that I wasn’t ready for anything serious but if he was up for dinners, drinks, and watching The Cubs play at a bar in Wrigleyville from time to time, let’s do it.  He was in!  For me at that time, dating was all about finding someone to have fun and spend time with, and not about getting serious again so soon after my divorce. 

Ultimately a few months into casually dating this person, he met someone else and wanted to get serious with her.  I wished him well and am still friends with him and his (now) wife.  The point is to be clear about what you’re looking for when you ask people to fix you up or set up that online dating profile.  You may just want to have fun, and that’s perfectly acceptable, as long as you’re clear with people you meet.

Above all, be clear with yourself about your own dating expectations and personal boundaries.

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