Dating After Divorce or Loss
How to put your best self out there again.
Picking yourself up after divorce or loss can be a lengthy process. Once you’ve healed it’s time to face dating once again.
Being “out there” in the dating scene again is obviously different than the first time around. Here’s a few tips to keep in mind as you search for love again.
Be judicious about sharing your past
On the first few dates your date doesn’t want to hear about how great or lousy your life was with your previous spouse. Everyone has a past, and there will be a time to share more in-depth information, but for the first few dates it’s best not to share too many stories from before. Once you are both comfortable with one another you can of course open up and share more about your previous life. Just remember you don’t need to tell someone “everything.” It’s not that you’re hiding anything, rather that everything is often too much information. Find a therapist, mentor or friend to talk to and figure out what’s appropriate to share and what is better left unsaid.
Seek activities that interest you
You might find your true partner at a singles' gathering at the museum or at a writing class. Cultivating yourself is a great way to cultivate relationships. Make time this month to go out to two or three activities. Research options and then add a few events to your calendar.
Listen to your gut
If some of your potential date’s living habits are red flags, or deal breakers, trust your instincts and run the other way. But if you’re not sure how many imperfections are ok, consider working with a professional dating coach, therapist or mentor, who can help you navigate the boundaries of what is acceptable to you.
Get in shape
This isn’t because you need to lose weight to get a date. Getting in shape isn’t about weight at all; it’s about overall health. Physical exercise is good for you and makes your body and brain feel better. Find an exercise routine you like, or go to the gym on a specific day or time. While you’re at it, you might just find someone there to date!
Couples the second time around often have more assets and larger financial portfolios. Think about what you have and decide how you want to protect it. Coming together a second time doesn’t always mean blending finances 100%. We sometimes have financial obligations to family members as well as desires how we share our wealth. Therefore, it is wise to hire a financial advisor and perhaps a lawyer to put in place legal documents to guard your assets. This doesn’t mean you’ll love or care for your new mate any less. It simply means you’re aware of the challenges and complications that can arise with relationships and you’re taking proactive steps and exploring your options.
Figuring children into the equation
Are you willing to join a family that has little kids or do you want to only date singles who have older children or who don’t have children at all? Are you looking for a surrogate parent for your own children, or do you simply want someone to go out with on the weekends? Depending on what your needs are, make sure that you consider the emotions of all people who will be impacted by a change of living arrangements. Not all families can get along like the Brady Bunch.
Set boundaries with grown-up children
If you have grown-up children, they do not have a say in your love life and try not to let them meddle in your personal affairs. That’s not to say you have to keep them at arm's length, rather that you need to make relationship decisions for yourself. Of course your children will likely have something to say. Make time for real discussions where you can hear what they say while setting healthy boundaries.
Getting out into the dating scene when you were already in a committed relationship can feel weird at first. After all, you’ve already established a home and a routine. Starting fresh means embracing uncertainty, acknowledging your fears and building your confidence.
May your next match be a great one.