Guest Post by Rachael Pace
You’ve been divorced for some time now and you’re starting to feel the loneliness kick in. Then your friend asks the dreaded question, “When are you going to get back out there?”
The very thought of it makes your blood run cold. But are your nerves truly justified?
Dating after divorce is like entering a brave new world of opportunity. It isn’t always easy, comfortable, or stress-free, but the results can be so rewarding when done right.
So, is there a wrong way to date after going through a divorce? You bet! To get the most out of your post-divorce relationship, avoid these seven common mistakes when you re-enter the dating world.
Dating Too Soon
The prospect of dating after divorce can be an exciting one. It could also potentially fill you with stress and anxiety. No matter which side of the coin you’re on, it’s important that you mentally prepare for entering the dating world after getting out of a long-term relationship.
- Are you truly ready to move on after your divorce?
- Are you over your ex?
- Have you thought about what impact your dating may have on your children?
Fear of rejection and other personal insecurities can also have a negative impact on how your dates go, so it’s important to make sure you are in a healthy place in your life.
The Mistake of Negativity
Dating after divorce can be painful. Going through a heart-wrenching and frustrating divorce process may leave you with less than fond feelings about being in a new relationship. In fact, one research study found that the majority of divorced women desire a romantic relationship, but do not wish to remarry.
Don’t let your bad experience in marriage put a negative spin on your future relationships. Not all people are going to be the same as your ex.
Look to dating as a new beginning for your life. View it as a positive change that can bring some fun into your new single life.
Talking About Your Ex
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when dating after divorce is talking too much about your ex.
Nobody wants to hear about the ex-partner of the person they’re currently crushing on. Especially not in the beginning stages of dating.
It can be healthy, even cathartic, to discuss past relationships with a new partner, but do not dwell on it or turn your personal history into an excuse to bash your ex. This can make your date feel uncomfortable and may cause them to wonder whether you’re truly over your past relationship.
Your private life and who, where, and when you choose to date is your private business. But it’s important that you don’t make the mistake of being secretive with your friends, family, and especially your children after you’ve begun dating again.
If you are dating someone and think things might be getting serious, it’s important to be upfront about it with your children.
Of course, you do not want to introduce a new partner immediately to your children. It could be painful for them to become attached to someone new only to have that relationship not work out. But, if things are getting serious between you and your date, you’d be wise to prepare your kids for the prospect of eventually meeting your new partner.
Don’t Turn into Someone Else
One of the most common mistakes of dating after divorce is changing your personality in order to suit someone else’s needs.
Being open to new experiences is a great quality to bring into a relationship, but don’t lie or put on a front about your real interests and hobbies.
Studies show that couples who share activities have higher levels of marital satisfaction than those who don’t. Therefore, if you’re dating after divorce, don’t pretend to be someone else. The hobbies and interests you share with your new partner should be genuine and not forced.
Fearing Online Dating
If you were previously in a committed, long-term marriage, odds are it’s been a while since you had to conquer the world of dating. This can make new avenues of meeting people—dating apps and online dating websites—seem daunting. And with stories of catfishing, money scams, and dating violence, online dating hasn’t exactly painted a positive picture of itself.
Still, there is no reason to fear online dating if done the right way. Some tips for safe online dating are:
- Chat for some time before meeting in person. This way you can get to know each other better.
- Have an online video chat. This will help you confirm that the person looks the same as the photo presented in their dating profile.
- Meet in public places for your first few dates and do not get in their car.
- Watch your alcohol intake.
- Do not give out your personal details.
- Tell others about the date or make the first time you meet into a group activity.
- Inform friends and family about where you will be on your date night.
- Choose a dating app or website that costs money. Doing so will make it much more likely that the person on the other end of your chat is dating for serious reasons and not just looking to hook up.
Don’t forget, online dating isn’t all horror stories. One study published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that 35% of the 20,000 surveyed met their spouse online. The study goes on to say that couples who marry after meeting online have higher marital satisfaction and lower divorce rates.
Ignoring Your Intuition
Meeting someone new that you connect with isn’t always easy to. But don’t let your desire to date overshadow your personal instincts.
Going through a previous marriage and a divorce teaches you exactly what you do and do not want out of a new relationship. Do not feel like you have to settle in order to be happy. No, this time around, you should get exactly what you want out of a relationship.
When it comes to dating after divorce, always follow your gut. If something feels wrong, it probably is.
Dating after divorce isn’t easy. It’s important to take your time and not rush yourself back into the dating world. When you’re ready, remember to be positive, take your time, trust your intuition, and remember that no matter what’s happened in your past—you deserve love.
Author Bio: Rachael Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com that supports healthy happy marriages.