You’ve been through a divorce and it’s over now. You are single again and might be wondering when it’s the right time to start dating again. You don’t want to be alone forever, but at the same time, you don’t want to jump into something new too soon.
How do you know when you’re ready to date after divorce?
Listen To Yourself
You may have well-meaning friends who will try to “get you back into the game”. They might tell you to put yourself out there and it might sadden them to see you alone. However, you’ve just gotten out of a relationship, there are things you need to sort out in your mind and life before jumping into anything. So don’t give into pressure before you are ready.
If well-meaning friends or relatives start to question when you’ll start dating again, be kind but firm in stating that you’ll date when you’re ready.
It can take months (sometimes years) before you feel strong enough to put yourself out there again.
Also don’t look at your ex, and think you need to keep up. So what if he’s already in a new relationship? That’s his thing, you have to find yours.
If you feel comfortable sitting at home with a book or a girlfriend on the weekends, do that. Don’t mope or wallow in self-pity, but also use the time to rediscover yourself instead of feeling pressured to paste a smile on your face and head into what can seem like a den of lions.
You Really Want To
There is no time limit, no deadlines, or schedule of what is considered “normal” when dating after a divorce. There may come a time when you’ll feel the need to give yourself a little ‘push’ when it comes to dating, but the desire to date should come from you.
It’s normal, after not having dated for some time, to feel some apprehension about what you’re about to do. But you still want to; that’s the key. If you don’t want to date yet, don’t. You need time to heal, you need time to get your bearings, and you might want to pamper yourself a bit and enjoy your single life for a while. It’s not at all unusual to go from being married to needing a good deal of “me-time”.
You Know What You Want
Often, a marriage is based on all the things you thought were “right”. You were happy, you were in love, things worked out and took a natural course. Now you find yourself single and perhaps reevaluating what you thought of as “perfect”.
You may very well decide that for now all you want is to hook up and have really good sex. Maybe you want to find a “friend with benefits” without having to think about another relationship. Maybe you want to put yourself out there without going the traditional way of dating, letting fate take its course without pressure—if it happens, great, but you’re not really “looking” right now.
Or maybe you have very specific ideas of what you want in that you don’t want anything short of another relationship in order to get over the one you were just in. You’re not willing to “settle” for casual dating, you’re looking for the real deal right away.
Whichever way you decide to start dating again, it will help if you do know exactly what you want and not just the type of relationship you want but roughly the type of man too (without being too fixed in your ideas).
Dating should be fun, with no pressure or demands on either of you. If you’re uncomfortable you won’t be having fun and it’ll backfire. You’ll start to see dating as just another source of stress in your life.
Your confidence has probably taken a knock, so it can help to work on that. Some women find it helps to have a bit of a makeover, maybe change hair color/style, buy new clothes, or try something new like going on a vacation alone. Knowing you can survive alone can help you, but it can’t harm you to look a million dollars too!
Make sure you’re comfortable with the whole idea of dating. You should be comfortable enough that you don’t bring your divorce into every conversation and make sure you don’t still “feel married”. If you feel like you’re cheating while dating, you’re not ready yet.
You Know Who You Are
We all have our own identities but during marriage you will often have been introduced as your husband’s wife and you will have taken on that role at least some of the time in public. Now, it’s all about you alone, and you need to be clear on who you are at this point in your life before you start dating again, so that you can talk about your work, your interests, your dreams and your life as an individual. Men are going to want to meet you as you are now, not who you used to be. If you still feel incomplete without the “wife status”, you’re not ready to date again.
If you think you’re ready to socialize with your new single status, start off slowly. Find out how you react to meeting new people without the dating pressure. Make an effort to discover what you like to do on your own, what things are still painful to do because of memories, and make sure you’re healing well before entering into the dating world.
Of course, you might feel ready and then have something occur during a date which brings up memories. If you know yourself, though, you’ll be able to get past it with grace rather than freaking out inside.
For a few more pointers think about those things that would make you think a man you were dating hadn’t got over his divorce yet and therefore wasn’t really ready, and see your own circumstances through the same criteria. See Ten Red Flags When Dating A Divorced Man for the things to look out for.
Over to you: Have you been through a divorce in the past? How long did it take you before you were ready to date again? Did you jump back into the dating pool too soon? Please share in the comments below.