After divorce, it is important to take some time to heal before you start dating again. Some post-divorce individuals may feel ready to devote their head space, time, and energy to finding a new partner soon after the divorce is finalized. For others, the divorce process may have been scary and confusing, and the thought of dating again may be overwhelming. If you do not know how to date after a divorce or whether you should start trying, you are not alone. Dating after divorce is a learning process. Try to give yourself the space, time, and patience you need before getting back into the dating scene.
- Ask Yourself if You are Dating Again for the Right Reasons
If you are considering dating again after getting divorced, ask yourself if you are dating again for the right reasons. If you would like to date due to loneliness and pain, you may need to take more time before jumping back into the dating pool. If you want to start dating because you have taken time to heal and are interested in finding a partner, that is a good sign that you are ready to start dating again. Remember that dating requires uncertainty, vulnerability, and a willingness to take chances.
- Wait Until After Your Separation or Divorce to Start Dating Again
Once you know that your marriage is over for good, it is important you give yourself time and space to recover. Every person is different, but some experts recommend waiting six months to a year after a separation or divorce to begin dating again. Jumping back into a serious relationship may stop you from doing the healing work you need to move on from your marriage in a healthy way.
- Give Yourself Permission to Go Slow
Diving headfirst into serious dating may not be the best move after your divorce. You can go as slow as you want to go by going on different types of dates and talking on the phone. Try to engage in activities that allow you to get to know many other people and see the person you are considering dating in different settings. You can also try group dates that involve other friends as well.
- Make Space for All of Your Feelings
Healing from a divorce does not involve walking a straight line. You will experience ups and downs as you heal. When you begin dating again, surprising feelings may begin to bubble up. Perhaps you thought that you had healed from your divorce, but you find yourself feeling excited, anxious, nervous, or sad unexpectedly. During the healing process, allow yourself to experience a wide range of emotions. Be compassionate with yourself and understand that you are being brave by putting yourself out there again. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotion you are feeling at the time.
- Become Informed About Safe Online Dating
If you were married for 10 or more years, you may not know much about the online dating world. Things have changed dramatically in the last few decades. Your friends and family members may be telling you to join one or more popular online dating sites. If you are going to date online, try to do some research about which apps are the safest and the best suited for finding long-term partners. Some dating apps are geared toward casual flings. Others are geared toward marriage and long-term relationships. You should also learn about the dangers of catfishing and other types of dating scams to protect yourself.
- Make a List of Your Priorities
Now that your divorce has been finalized, you can search for a new partner whose values and goals align with your own. Take some time to think about what character traits you would like in your new partner. You may want to create a list of non-negotiable character traits in a partner and those on which you are willing to compromise. Think about whether it is important that your future partner shares similar interests as you, whether they want a casual relationship or a committed long-term relationship, and your deal-breakers before you start dating again.
- Trust Yourself
After a divorce, it is common for people to feel like they have failed. It may be difficult for you to trust yourself again. You may be concerned that you will pick another partner who is not right for you. You may be worried that you will get divorced again. Perhaps your ex-spouse was constantly criticizing you and deflating your self-confidence. It is important that you trust yourself and have confidence in your ability to date and potentially choose a new partner. After your divorce, taking some time to heal can help you trust yourself and your instincts.
- Take it One Step at a Time
When you start dating, give yourself time to learn more about a potential partner. Take time to find out their true intentions and realize that you do not need to rush into a serious, long-term relationship right away. If you have children, remember that they are your priority and need time to adjust to your new dating life.
- Focus on Getting to Know Your Partner
Dating should be fun and involve exciting dates in new settings that allow you to get to know your potential partner. Going on group dates can help you assess how your partner interacts with other people. While having fun, remember to be observant and look for red flags. Trust yourself and your instincts if something does not feel right about your date.
- Communicate Effectively
Communication is always important whether you are casually dating or looking for a long-term partner. Do not hide your divorce. Be open about the good, bad, and ugly of your previous marriage. Many problems can be solved with effective and open communication. Now is the time to focus on implementing effective communication and conflict resolution skills to set your new relationship up for success.
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