Once you get to a stable place after you’ve gotten off the emotional rollercoaster, you might find that you’re surprisingly ready to date again. Dating is hard enough as it is. And when you factor in the divorce you’ve been through, it is only that much harder. So before you head out looking for a new man, here are some major “don’ts” to keep in mind:
Don’t do this: Date before you’re ready. Before you can enter another relationship, it is dire that you get over the one you just exited. If you are fresh off the wings of your divorce, it’s probably not in your best interest to put yourself into another relationship right away. You need to take the time for the wounds of your ex to heal before embarking upon a new journey with someone else. Bask in some “you” time, cry with your best girlfriends about what a sorry excuse for a man that bastard of an ex-husband is, eat a lot of ice cream and then get your life back on track. Once you are at peace with yourself and are truly happy, that is when the happiness and confidence will be radiating from within you, attracting all who cross your path—and a good relationship is bound to follow!
Remember, if you are standing at the new relationship station with bags upon bags of baggage, any takers will be heading straight for the next stop.
Don’t do this either: Let anxiety get the best of you. Dating is nerve racking no matter what your situation. So there is no surprise that you will be a little shaky going into it again after a divorce. But you can’t let a few butterflies get in the way of having a full recovery, meeting eligible bachelors and enjoying a well-rounded life. Think about it like this: would you rather spend a Friday night out on a romantic date with a gentleman caller or sit at home looking at an existence of growing old alone (well except for the 40 cats you will have to keep you company)? The answer is probably not the latter.
To get your feet wet in the dating pond and build some confidence, take things slowly at first. Mini-dates like lunch, cocktails after work, or even a trip to the coffee house with someone you’re interested in are great ways to ease into the whole dating scene—without the pressure of an elaborately planned date. And if things go well, you can always schedule another outing.
Don’t even think about doing this: Compare the new guy to the old one. If you find yourself getting misty-eyed because your new man doesn’t put his socks on the way your ex-husband used to—stop yourself and think about what you’re doing.
Most of the time, when you start to go into ex mode, it’s probably not your ex-spouse or the new person in your life, but instead it’s you getting into your own head and focusing on the past. Take a deep breath, clear your mind and let it go…remember—the past is the past and your ex is an ex for a good reason. You’ve changed and grown so now it’s now time to move on, live in the present and embrace the new people and experiences life is throwing your way.
Don’t EVER, under ANY circumstances do this: Date for the wrong reasons. It’s not right. And our therapists would most certainly frown upon it. But we’ve all been there—wide awake at 3 a.m. painting a picture in your head of your ex-husband crying, begging and pleading for you back as you are riding off into the sunset with a shirtless heart surgeon in the brand new BMW he bought you…sigh. Okay, maybe that fantasy went a little too far. But you get the point. It’s a good idea not to devise a twisted plan to make your ex jealous. In the end, no one wins—you are stooping to a level not of the mature, sensible, strong woman that you are.
Sometimes, post-divorce daters feel the need to show that they are desirable and the need to validate their attractiveness and self-worth (to themselves or their exes)—without fail, a string of disaster dates always ensue. To avoid a rebound situation where you end up worse off than when you started…just slow down! There is no need to feel the pressure to make up for lost time—consider new hobbies and activities that will open doors to meeting new people. This way you are getting out and being social without the pressure of one-on-one dating.
So now that you are armed and ready with the “don’ts” of dating after divorce, you will be prepared to tackle it like a pro!