The ordeal of getting divorced has an emotional impact for a long time. When you are going through a divorce, you might feel stressed and lonely. Tired of being alone or with the wrong person for so long can make you long for companionship and some romance.
You yearn for someone who can help you forget what happened, someone who can make you feel special, with whom you can feel accepted and secure. But at the same time, you could wonder — ‘is it okay to date while I am going through a divorce or soon after divorce?’
If you reckon divorce as a reset button to your life, then read on. In this MomJunction post, we tell you if it is okay to date after divorce and also give you a few tips on dating after divorce.
Dating After Divorce: Are You Ready For It?
‘Is it okay to date after divorce?’ is a question that may strike sooner or later after you get divorced. There is no right or wrong answer to this question because everyone’s story is different. However, it is better to wait until you are divorced, and the entire legal work is done.
We have some example scenarios that may help you understand if you are ready to date after divorce.
- One of the reasons behind a divorce could be a bad relationship with your spouse. In such a case, it could be difficult for you to get along with someone immediately. You may be too sad or upset and need time to get over the past relationship first. So, take your time and think about it without rushing.
- Another reason for a divorce could be cheating by the spouse. You may be angry and feeling vengeful, and you may want to date soon after separation or divorce. But dating with such a mindset may backfire and not fair to the person you date. Wait until you’re a bit calm and want to date for the sake of dating, and not to spite someone.
- If you want to find a partner and get married, dating may not be the right approach. Most people consider dating to be a casual thing and don’t indulge in it with the idea of getting married immediately. Also, it is good to try casual dating instead of getting into another serious relationship soon after a divorce.
As much as you may want to date again, getting out there and actually meeting someone may not be easy. You may imagine having fun on a date but may not be ready for it. Other reasons, such as having children, fear that your ex might portray your dating in a wrong way, lack of trust in people, or social stigma that seems like a burden, may make dating difficult after the divorce.
But if you are sure and think that it is time for a change, then you may try going on a date after the divorce is final. For all you know, you could have a great time on your dates. And if you get lucky, you might find someone you really like and get into a trusting, serious relationship. However, you need to understand that dating after divorce may not be the same as before. A few tips may help you have a good time dating.
Tips For Dating After Divorce
Even after the divorce, stress, and sadness could make it difficult to be with someone else. It may seem impossible for some, but we have some tips that may give you the confidence to date after divorce.
1. Don’t rush in finding a soulmate
You may want to date either for some fun or to find a serious partner. If you are inclined towards the second option, you need to slow down. You just got out of a marriage and may not want to deal with the pressure of a serious relationship so soon.
Also, you should understand that it takes time to know a person well before getting into something serious with them. So, don’t rush into making any serious decisions after a couple of dates.
Take time for yourself, and don’t get too serious right at the beginning of your dating phase. Also, it is better to start dating only after the divorce is finalized. It may not be the right time to date someone new when the divorce process is going on, even if you think the marriage is over.
2. Don’t hide the past
When you have made up your mind to go ahead with dating, make sure that you don’t begin a new relationship with lies or by hiding the truth. Let your date know that you are divorced or if you have children. Dating after divorce could have a few obstacles, and hiding or lying could make it even harder.
3. Evaluate what you are looking for
A relationship with someone new could come with many ‘ifs.’ But setting some expectations before moving forward could prevent you from going in the wrong direction. Also, do not date someone with the intention of marrying them right from the beginning. Focus on knowing them and also having a little fun.
4. Don’t introduce to your family or friends
Dating after divorce is different from what it may have been before marriage. And with children, it becomes all the more complicated. You need to spend at least half a year knowing the person before bringing them home. Otherwise, it could be confusing for everyone, especially the children, if you have any.
So, avoid introducing your date to the family unless you are sure you are compatible with the person, and you are in a serious relationship.
5. Be careful with dating apps
While dating apps are convenient and may introduce you to some decent people, not all can be trustworthy. So, if you are trying a dating app, take time talking to people, but be careful not to divulge too much information right at the beginning. Keep it casual and generic until you meet someone a couple of times and are sure that they are genuinely nice.
Be aware that dating apps could have a few fraudulent people. So, don’t give out your personal information too easily and too quickly.
6. Don’t compare your date with your ex
One of the biggest mistakes you can do is compare your date with your ex – be it looking for the positives or finding faults. Your ex and date may have a few similar habits or behavior, but the two individuals are different. So, avoid making assumptions or concluding something about them in a hurry.
7. Try something unique on your first date
Instead of meeting your new date casually in a restaurant, why not try something special and unique? You can go hiking or trekking with a group or play a game, such as golf or tennis, while trying to know them. However, make sure you ask about their interests before deciding what to do.
8. Don’t give up easily or compromise
Post-divorce, you may be eagerly waiting for someone special in your life. You may be going overboard or beyond your comfort zone to please your date, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice yourself. Be as you are, and don’t lose your identity. Changing yourself for others could make you unhappy in the long run.
9. Be careful of someone who seems flawless
After a broken marriage, you may be looking for true love or affection. In that search, you may tend to pick the wrong person. If your date seems perfect to you, calls or texts you a lot, flatters you with gifts, takes you out on charming dates, and pushes you subtly for commitment or marriage, then you may need to stop and think if the intentions of the person are genuine.
There may be good people out there, and you may be lucky enough to find the perfect person too. But understand that nobody is perfect, and not all may have good intentions. So, be cautious of anyone who tries to control you or take over your life.
10. Keep moving on
Dating after divorce in itself is perplexing and difficult for some. But rejection is a part of the game, and you should not feel low about it. Prepare for rejection when you go out on dates – the other person may not find you compatible, just as you might not find some attractive or interesting. Do not take rejection personally.
If a date doesn’t work out, move on, find another, and try having a good time with someone new.
11. Consider talking to a therapist
It might not be easy to enjoy the dating experience after you are divorced. There could be some baggage that prevents you from having a good time. It could be guilt or fear of being judged by the people around you – the society, your family, or your children. But dating after divorce is not something that you should be ashamed of.
If you are hesitant and in a dilemma over dating post-divorce, talk to a therapist, and get clarity on your feelings and intentions. They may help you process and manage the complicated emotions that you may be going through after a divorce. Use your practical thought process but also listen to your intuition or gut feeling if you believe it helps.
Dating after divorce could be equally difficult for both men and women. And the whole thing could be a new experience and also a learning process for many. You not only come to know about different people but also discover a lot of new things about yourself. Just be yourself and enjoy the experience, and you would surely have a good time ahead.
Do you have any experiences or suggestions that you wish to share? Let us know in the comments section below.