A breakup or divorce is never pain-free, regardless of how it ended. The end of a relationship can bring out intense emotions and thoughts. It is common to experience grief about the future you once planned for yourself and for your marriage as well as the loss of your marital dreams.
You may experience a strong sense of disappointment and sadness as you let go of the life you thought you would live and separate from your husband or wife. You may experience excitement, fear, anxiety, and clarity as you open yourself up to new possibilities and create new goals. Getting to know yourself better, establishing who you are and what’s important to you, and making peace with your past all take time, but are absolutely possible.
Although dating after divorce may feel like uncharted territory with no real road map, finding love again is also possible. While it is normal to feel vulnerable and intimidated, it is imperative to remember that you can get through the emotional pain and move on, and you can succeed at dating if you keep your heart open and take risks for love.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to dating after divorce, but here are seven strategies to support you in putting yourself back out there and getting back into the dating groove:
1. Figure Out If You’re Really Ready to Date
Readiness to date after divorce varies from person to person, but there are several important factors to consider:
- Is your marriage and divorce truly in the past?
- Have you allowed yourself ample time to grieve and reflect?
- Do you have an understanding of what went wrong?
- Have you taken accountability for your part and thought about constructive ways to handle relationship challenges?
- Are you in control of your feelings?
- Can you trust others despite the pain you may have endured?
- Do you feel deserving of another chance for love?
Answering yes to these questions is key, as well as ensuring you have had enough time to take care of yourself, to resolve any emotional wounds and hurt, and to spend time alone and with your support system post-divorce. It is best to use your emotions as a guide instead of a certain amount of time to determine your own readiness.
2. Embrace Your New Status
It is natural to experience some discomfort as your marital status changes, and you may feel very worn out from the legal process and your transition. You will experience a wide range of emotions, including highs and lows, as you come to terms with your new status.
While it may feel particularly odd, unnatural, or challenging at first, embracing your new status will help you move forward and have healthier dating experiences. Accept and affirm where you are today and invite new experiences, people, and opportunities into your present life. Work to define yourself by your personal qualities, passions, and what gives you meaning as opposed to getting caught up in your relationship status.
3. Reflect on Your Dating Goals and Intentions
Your intentions, values, and goals influence your dating experiences and behaviors, so it is important to think about what you hope to get out of dating before jumping in.
For example, there are huge differences between dating to prove something, get back at an ex, or avoid being single — and dating because your heart is open to finding love again. Dating to hurt your ex or feeling distracted by your ex’s love life signifies you are still emotionally wrapped up with this person and you are not truly available to connect with someone new in a healthy way. So, get clear on your intentions and what you are looking for because your mindset will drive your behavior and how you date.
4. Take Your Time & Try Various Methods, Like Divorced Dating Sites
Dating and meeting new people may feel very scary at first, so go at your own pace and resist any tendencies to put yourself down, compare yourself to others, or operate on “I-shoulds.” There is no need to rush into dating, and there are plenty of methods to ease back into it.
For example, join a Meetup group to try new activities and meet new people, or let your friends know you are interested in being set up. Go on one date a week or a few a month to see which speed you prefer. No matter what it is, always do what’s right for you.
Or you could create a profile on a divorced dating site, where you’re more likely to connect with others who can relate to your experiences. Here are three great choices for dating websites to use after a divorce:
Relationships: Friends, Dates, and Relationships
Match System: Browse by zip, age, appearance, more
Our Experts Say: “Match has facilitated the most dates and relationships of any dating site, and its large audience and high success rate make it our top review...” Full Review »
Browse Free: View Photos Now
|Gender Ratio||M: 49% | F: 51%*|
|Gender Ratio||M: 48% | F: 52%*|
Relationships: Casual Dates, Deep Relationships
Match System: Personality test suggests matches
Our Experts Say: “Accounting for 2% of U.S. marriages, eharmony's compatibility-based system and commitment-minded user base are ideal for those seeking a serious relationship...” Full Review »
Browse Free: View Photos Now
|Gender Ratio||M: 48% | F: 52%*|
5. Engage in New Experiences
Post-divorce is an incredible opportunity to connect with yourself, break out of your routine, and open yourself up to new experiences. Approach this time in your life with confidence and curiosity, and make an effort to jump out of your comfort zone for increased self-discovery and personal growth. Get a new look or makeover, revamp your social life, try a new activity, revisit an old hobby or passion, or get involved with community service. Finding your purpose will aid you in being a more confident and attractive partner.
Be open to dating potential partners whom you may not perceive to be your type, and experiment with whom and what you find attractive. Long story short: rock your new identity while being open-minded and practicing self-love!
6. Use Your Support System
Make sure you have adequate support as you move on from your divorce and begin dating. Handling a divorce is difficult, so letting others in is essential to your healing and well-being. Instead of engaging in isolating behaviors, seek out a support group or mental health professional and talk with friends, family, and others who can relate.
In terms of dating, your support system can provide a sounding board and may even have someone nice to set you up with. Process your dating experiences with your support system and allow others to energize you and lift you up if dating feels uncomfortable or challenging.
7. Always Concentrate on Having Fun
Dating will bring inevitable ups and downs and may breed unpleasant emotions. However, focusing on having fun and moving on will offset the potential difficult moments. Remember to put yourself, your physical, emotional, and mental health, and your children (if any) first.
Let go of any urges to be disingenuous to impress others or get dates, and banish your worries and insecurities through affirming who you are and what you have to offer. Stay open to dating even when the going gets tough and do what makes you happy.
In the End, Do What’s Right for You!
Breakups and divorces are going to be painful, but there are steps you can take to ease that pain and move on. Always remember to trust yourself. Adopt a mindset in which you believe everything works out, you are deserving of love, and you can achieve what you want. Allow positive thinking to lead you toward love and the life you hope to create. Most importantly, enjoy the journey!
Photo sources: cinfed.com, pexels.com, theaddictionadvisor.com