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Divorce can be a tricky thing to navigate, but it can be especially challenging to date after divorce.
Depending on how and why your marriage ended, you may have trust issues or you may struggle to get back into the dating game, especially if you haven’t dated in a long time. It can feel incredibly overwhelming.
Dating after divorce can be very rewarding, so long as you take the right steps to look after yourself and your wellbeing in the process.
So, what mistakes should you try to avoid after you get divorced? How do you best facilitate your recovery so your next relationship is fulfilling?
That’s what we’re here to discuss! Read on for more information.
Before you get out there to start dating, it’s first important to ensure that you are taking the time to appropriately recover. This will help you to get the most out of your next relationship and to feel less like you’re rushing into things. Here’s what you should keep in mind.
If you’ve gone through a divorce, it’s a good idea to make sure that you take some time for yourself in the aftermath. Very often we can associate our own worth with our relationships, and it can be easy to lose sight of who you are in the process. In fact, divorce is known to make people question their identity without their spouse.
This is a good time to learn more about yourself. What are your interests? Maybe you could take up a new hobby or learn something new. Maybe it’s time to get back into an activity that you have long since abandoned?
The main thing is that you should be doing things that you enjoy. Do it for yourself – nobody else. You deserve this time for rediscovery and all new growth. Take some time for self care, focusing just on yourself and nobody else.
When you’re going through difficult times, you may be tempted to shut other people out. Perhaps you feel like you would be better off alone, or you struggle to know what to say to others. In reality, it’s a good idea to make sure that you keep your loved ones close at hand when you are recovering from a divorce.
Your loved ones are very important for emotional support, which is something that you may need after going through a divorce.
You can keep in touch over the phone or in person. Perhaps you could make some plans to go out and do things with your loved ones to take your mind off what’s going on. It may also be worthwhile to join a support group.
In these groups you will be around other people going through similar situations, and this can be great for helping you to talk about how you feel with people who know how you feel.
Ultimately, it’s best not to isolate yourself – you’re going through a huge life change and having people around that can support you will help you to recover.
Looking after yourself is crucial when you are recovering from divorce. This goes both for your mental and physical wellbeing. Divorce can have a huge effect on your physical and mental wellbeing, so it’s down to you to minimize the effects.
When you are recovering, make sure that you are doing what you need to do to help you to feel your best. This includes eating well and ensuring that you are getting plenty of exercise.
Even just going for a walk with your friends and family is good for getting some exercise, you don’t need to go for hours in the gym. Make some time for relaxation, perhaps you could take a nice bath or light some candles.
Do what you can to keep your routine on track, too. Your personal life can often be completely uprooted when you are going through divorce, so having some form of routine can help you to feel more in control of your own destiny. It helps you to have a little less chaos in your life in a time of hardship.
You may want to put as much distance between you and your partner as possible when you are going through divorce. This may or may not be good for you, but the truth of the matter is that you will most likely need to have at least some communication with them. This is especially true when you are dealing with the legal proceedings or if you have children.
Try to keep things brief and civil if you can. Also, do what you can to avoid confrontations with your ex partner if possible, as this may make you feel even worse and can lead to further issues.
If you have ever wanted to reinvent yourself, this may be the time to do it! It’s time to take the chance to try new things if you want to. Maybe you are ready to give that cooking class that you were interested in during college a try? Perhaps you want to take up knitting? The opportunities are endless, and you never know what you’ll enjoy!
You’re going through a lot right now – divorce can be very taxing both mentally and emotionally. With that being said though, it’s a good idea to try not to be negative all the time. Try to be positive, though it may not be easy to do. Above all, take it easy on yourself and allow yourself to feel any emotions you may be feeling.
A divorce is a loss of something pivotal in your life, and many people may go through a grieving process during their divorce. If you do find that you are really struggling mentally, then it could be worthwhile to speak to a mental health professional that specializes in divorce to help you to work through it.
If you feel ready, you can get back into dating after your divorce at any time. You may find it a little strange at first, but following the guidelines listed below may help you to manage the process a little more easily.
We usually associate grief just with the death of a loved one, but grief has many different faces. In fact, many people go through a period of mourning when they go through a divorce.
It’s worth noting that it’s totally okay to grieve the loss of your marriage, and any other secondary losses that may have come up as a result. It’s important that you allow yourself to have the time to process these losses.
It’s best not to rush too far ahead when you are grieving losses. Even if you are feeling pressure to date, don’t do it until you feel comfortable and like you are ready to open yourself up to loving another person once more.
You should be prepared to have all sorts of emotions and allow yourself to fully feel them. These emotions may pop up in your new relationship too and that’s okay, but you shouldn’t shove them down.
You may be feeling quite lonely since your divorce, and this is very normal. With that being said though, what isn’t going to help the situation is settling for someone that doesn’t treat you right when you get started with dating again. You will simply end up miserable again.
The truth is that you deserve the best – why settle for less? Know what you are worth and don’t settle for someone that treats you like you aren’t worth anything. If you go into the dating game already knowing your worth, you will find it much easier to find a partner that is well suited to you who will treat you in the way that you deserve.
When you first start dating, you may be tempted to do everything you can to impress a date that you are interested in. That may include omitting the truth about your past – this is not a good idea.
It’s really important that you are honest with your dates about your previous history and the way that you are feeling. That level of open communication will help you to develop a healthy relationship in future, or it will help you weed out people who are undeserving of you.
Your past isn’t the only thing that you should be honest about. Talk to your dates about the way that you feel now. Tell them about the things that you are afraid of, and tell them what your needs are in a relationship.
Don’t try to avoid any issues, as they may crop up later on and that can lead to trouble. If you’re honest from the beginning then you reduce the chances of having issues later on.
If you are dating with the purpose of finding a partner and relationship, then it’s really important that you talk about your standards in advance. Tell your dating partner about things that are deal breakers for you, what triggers you and what you want out of a relationship.
This is where it can help to evaluate your marriage to work out what things you don’t want to deal with again. Be assertive.
You may end up finding a date that’s totally different from your norm – that’s okay! Don’t hold off from relationships because they may not fit your ideal. You could be missing out on a fulfilling relationship!
Your instincts are pretty powerful. If something doesn’t feel right, then the chances are that they aren’t right for you. Don’t be afraid to trust those instincts, they will help to guide you more than anything else. Don’t force yourself into something that doesn’t feel right for you.
Just as there are many things that you should do after a divorce, there are also many things that are better off avoided. Here are 17 dating after divorce mistakes that you should be avoiding like the plague.
You may be eager to get invested in a fully fledged relationship soon after your divorce. After all, a relationship can give you comfort and make you feel safe. On the other hand, dating after divorce can also be quite scary, so it’s important that you don’t rush into it too soon.
Likewise, don’t be tempted to do things that you aren’t ready for yet either. You need to do things on a timescale that feels right for you.
Before you start dating, it’s important to ask yourself some questions first. Are you actually over your previous partner, and are you absolutely sure that you are prepared to move on yet? Are you ready for what a new relationship means if you have children?
Anger and resentment are not the ideal emotions for creating the foundations of a new relationship. For that reason, it’s a good idea to try to work through your anger towards your previous partner before you start dating someone else.
Make sure that you have a clear head and are truly ready to give that new person your love and attention, otherwise you’ll find yourself dwelling on your ex which may just cause resentment in your new relationship instead.
Unfortunately we live in a world where not every person is as nice as they may seem. Being safe when you are dating online is incredibly important, since online dating scammers are known for preying upon people that are vulnerable, such as widowers and people who have recently gotten divorced.
Know the warning signs that you are dealing with a scammer and take precautions as needed.
Your ex took up a huge role in your life – any new partner is sure to understand that. What a new partner is not going to understand is if you are constantly talking about your ex when you are trying to establish a relationship with someone new.
If you spend all of your time on your dates talking about or complaining about your ex, your new partner may just wonder whether you’re actually over them and may choose not to continue seeing you based on that.
A solid relationship cannot be built on lies. You need to be honest with future partners about your past, including your relationships and any other parts of your history that are important to share.
Lies can often catch up with you, especially when you are dating, and the chances are that your new partner will eventually find out that you have been lying in some way or another. Start on the right foot – be honest.
If you have found a partner that you really like, it’s only natural that you would want to introduce them to your children as soon as possible. You do need to introduce your partner to your children, but don’t do it too soon. A new relationship can be pretty overwhelming for children, especially children who may have been hoping that their parents would get back together.
Be careful and introduce your children to your new partner only when you know it’s serious with them. This will help to avoid any unnecessary pain, since your children will have to get used to this new person and may become upset if it doesn’t work out.
You may want to contact your date straight away if you are really into them, but it’s important not to bombard them with contact. If you are nagging them for another date or constantly messaging them, it may put them off from you. Don’t come across as a stalker – have some patience and take things slow, recognizing when you may be taking things a little too far in terms of contact.
Know what you need and want in a relationship and don’t deviate from that. Don’t just settle for someone because you are afraid of being alone – you want to be happy in your new relationship!
Know your worth and your standards, and be assertive when dating to ensure that those standards are being met.
Do what you can to ensure that you don’t come across as desperate. This links with our previous point about not being overly persistent, but you should also try not to be too available.
Make sure that you are sending the right messages to your date – you’re not the kind of person that deserves to be a backup plan, so don’t behave in a way that suggests that you are one.
You may not like being single, but if you want to make your date work, it’s really not a good idea to keep complaining about being single. Don’t make your date feel like they’re there just to fill a role as your partner – make them feel as though you actually like them and not just what they represent.
Plus, negativity isn’t always the most attractive quality when you’re on a date with someone new!
Remember what we said earlier about reinventing yourself? Yeah – we don’t mean becoming an entirely new person! You’re pretty awesome, so don’t feel like you have to change who you are when you start dating again.
Don’t become another person just to fit with another person’s wants or needs. Likewise, it’s also not a good idea to lie about your interests, or pretend you’re more interested in something than you actually are.
It’s always good to be honest with a new partner, and lying about your interests and who you are as a person is not likely to be the fodder that fuels a healthy relationship. Your partner is just likely to feel like you betrayed them if they end up finding out that they lie.
Plus, if you pretend that you like golf while you’re dating and you eventually end up marrying that person, how long can you keep up that ruse?
Your instincts are really powerful so you should definitely listen to them. If you don’t feel right about something, listen to that little voice in your head that’s telling you that it’s not right. You will certainly thank yourself for it.
Financial information should not be shared with just anyone, especially someone that you barely know. If you share your financial information with a new person in a relationship, you may not know how they’ll use that information.
That can get you in a lot of trouble. This is one of those things that you should definitely keep secret, at least until later down the line when you are more sure of the person and if they can truly be trusted.
Some people don’t want to date someone that has children. We all have our own preferences, and some people simply don’t want children in any capacity. That’s something that you need to respect. Don’t lie to someone and say that you don’t have children and expect them to be happy later down the line when you try to introduce them.
That’s not fair on your children or is it fair on your date. You should always be upfront about this for the sake of the welfare of your children.
Most relationships seem amazing when they first start out. You may be wearing those rose tinted glasses and see everything as wonderful, and think that your partner has no faults. Unfortunately, there are some things that you can only learn after being with someone for a certain amount of time.
When you first start dating it’s a good idea not to get too invested emotionally straight away – allow yourself the chance to truly see them for who they are before you throw every part of yourself into the equation. If you’re both sure of each other, warts and all, then sure – investing emotionally at that point may be the smarter choice.
It’s only natural that marriage may be on your mind after divorce, especially if you separated with your previous partner on amicable terms with a mostly happy marriage. It’s not a good idea to think about marriage immediately when dating someone new though. Some people may just not be right for you in the long term.
Try to enjoy what you have together now, and date around if you have to in order to find the right person. It will also help you to have better expectations about your relationships and possible marriage going forward. Give things time before jumping into marriage and you will thank yourself for it.
When it comes to dating after divorce, living in the here and now is most certainly the advisable strategy. Planning too far ahead isn’t always the best idea when you have a new relationship. You never know how things are going to go – this may not be the time to be inviting him to your cousin’s wedding that’s taking place 2 years from now. This may be the time to book a getaway to a local place next weekend though.
Make plans, sure, just not super long term plans until you know you’re in this for the long haul. You may just regret making plans too far in advance if your date isn’t in the picture a year from now but their name is on the seating plan for your cousin’s wedding.
Need a little bit of help kicking that new relationship into gear? Here are a couple of things that you need to think about before you start a new relationship.
It’s always worthwhile to evaluate your marriage when it ends. You may think that dwelling on the past will only make you angry and upset, but the truth is that reflection is incredibly important for moving forward.
Look at your old marriage constructively – where did it go wrong? What mistakes did you make, and what mistakes did your partner make? Identify problem areas so you can change any problematic behaviors, but also so you can recognize any behaviors that you don’t want to be dealing with again in the future. This will help you to create much healthier relationships that fulfill you far more in the long run.
Jumping straight into dating after a divorce is tempting if the loneliness is truly upsetting you, but it’s always worthwhile to think about whether you are truly ready to start dating again. Think about a couple of things first.
For starters, consider the problem areas in your last relationship and the ways that you contributed to the issues. This will help you to stay away from making the same mistakes again in the future. Consider whether you’re able to have an objective view on your old relationship, without getting too reactive in an emotional sense when you think about it.
If you have a healthy outlook on your previous relationship, and you are able to view it in a constructive light, then it’s a really good sign that you are in fact ready for a new relationship.
Ultimately, it’s important that you are only starting a new relationship if you feel completely ready for it, both emotionally and physically. You may feel a little nervous, sure, but doing the work on yourself first will help you to be truly open to a new relationship.
Finally, have a little bit of patience. Everyone is different after a divorce – some people may be more able to jump straight into a new relationship after their previous one is over, whereas others may need more time. This can depend on how your relationship actually ended, and on how you perceive relationships after your last one ended.
It’s alluring to get back into a relationship, but rushing into something new is never going to be something that’s good for your psyche.
Likewise, be patient if you don’t find your soulmate on the very first date that you go on. Finding the right person may take time, trial and error. If you have some patience then you are sure to find the perfect person for you but it may not happen straight away.
Just enjoy dating and meeting new people. You’ll likely find that you learn a lot about yourself in the process, too.
Dating after divorce can be scary, and it’s easy to make mistakes. With that being said though, it can also be very rewarding and exciting. It’s just a matter of making sure that you do things on your terms and follow your instincts. It may not be easy straight away, but it is worthwhile.
Have a little bit of patience and take some time to explore your options while you are dating. If you do that, you may very well find the right person for you that will make you realize what you were looking for all along.
Lauren Cook-McKay is the Vice President of Marketing at DivorceAnswers.com. She holds a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) from the University of San Diego and applies her training in private practice to helping couples struggling in their marriage. She believes there is hope in all marriages and strives to provide therapy to couples that will lead them back towards a loving marriage, or an amicable divorce that brings peace and closure.