After the long, tiring emotional roller coaster of divorce, it’s time to get back up on your feet. Chances are, you haven’t gone on a date in a long, long, time and the thought of sitting at a restaurant with an eye-catching prospect who you have never met before scares you senseless. The thought, “what would we even talk about?” may have run through your mind a few times. Your self-esteem is shattered from the divorce and you seriously doubt if anyone will find you attractive.
Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal! There are singles out there in the same boat as you, and they are just as nervous about dating again. And with these dating tips, you don’t have to let fear get in the way of finding happiness.
Date when YOU are ready
It’s ok to mourn. For better or worse, a large piece of your life is now void and grief is one of the emotions you certainly will feel. Work through your emotions and wait until you feel that it is time to meet someone new before going on dates. A rebound relationship often has the opposite effect of helping your loneliness.
Dating before you are ready is one of the biggest mistakes the recently-divorced make. Often, well-intentioned friends and family are encouraging you to go out and meet someone new. However, if you aren’t emotionally present or are trying to fill a void, the next relationship is bound to fail no matter who it is with.
Learn to love yourself again
If you don’t love yourself, no one else will. It’s as simple as that. At first, the alone time can be rather hard to deal with and can cause a great deal of discomfort, but you need to learn to enjoy your own company.
Find a hobby that you enjoy doing alone. Now is your time to do the things you couldn’t do when you had to account for someone else’s schedule – go running, pick up that book you were meaning to finish, start painting, join a sports team . . . whatever it is, just love being you.
Learn to trust again
This is a lot easier said than done, but in order to successfully move on from your ex you must learn to trust again. Whatever the reason for your divorce, it’s in the past and it needs to stay there. Do not think all members of the opposite sex are like your ex. They aren’t, and it isn’t fair to either them or yourself if you go into a date with preconceived notions.
Instead of forcing comparisons of this new person and your ex, acknowledge the new positive attributes that he or she can bring into your life.
Use Your Resources
When you are finally ready to get out there and date, use your resources to find the right people. Heading to a bar and coming across a guy or girl who may be three sheets to the wind is not the best way to get a first date. Instead, tap into 2nd and 3rd degree connections with your friends and family. These are trustworthy networks because, more often than not, you would trust the judgment of your best friend over someone you just met at a bar. In addition, tap into social dating networks like FirstMet.com and keep an open mind; be willing to date outside “your type.” There’s no time like the present for rediscovery, and you never know with whom you might truly click with.
Consistently Evolve as a Romantic Partner
As the expression goes, “those who cannot learn history are doomed to repeat it.” Therefore, whether it is through personal inflection or the help of a respected friend or therapist, examine past mistakes and steps you can take to avoid them. Are you a people pleaser who resents being “walked all over?” Strive to learn how to express your emotions in a firm but healthy way. Did you perhaps take your previous partner for granted? Make a conscious effort to create romantic surprises for your new significant other. This will not only lead to healthier interactions, but will also deepen your own understanding of your motivations and knee-jerk reactions.
Saying “I do”
It has been said that there are several reasons why your second marriage will be better than the first. The only reason we are going to give is “Practice makes perfect”, but you can check out all 4 reasons here.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to have wedding number two rival the first; you’re a different person, your fiancé is absolutely a different person, so leave all instincts to compare at the door. Feel free to make it as small or large as you want; however, hoping to escape the stresses and costs that often accompanied the first wedding, many two-time brides opt for more intimate events or even dreamy destination weddings. It’s natural to have memories of your first “big day” pop in and out of consciousness while you prepare your second, so consider making the events vastly different. For example, if you had springtime nuptials in an English Garden, consider a varied alternative like an autumn ceremony that is held in a vineyard. While white is perfectly fine to wear when walking down the aisle a second time, women like Reese Witherspoon often choose to feature a different tint or color. Take note ladies: lavender, gold, pink and dramatically dark accents are “in” and are increasingly available through wedding dress retailers like David’s Bridal and Sophia Tolli. Under no circumstances are you to reuse your old wedding dress though, even if you have it altered to look somewhat different.
Dating and relationships after you are divorced is like anything else; the more you do it the better you will get. Chances are, you aren’t going to find the perfect significant right away. But that’s okay! Go at your own pace and don’t run away from the natural emotions that come with divorce. You’ll be just fine and soon enough will meet that special someone to live the rest of your life with and, in the meantime, don’t forget to embrace your independence and have fun!