Going through a separation and divorce is a terrible time of your life, there is no doubt, however with this transition there are also many fresh opportunities that will open up to you, including the world of dating!
So how can you start off on the right foot when you are thinking about dipping your toes back into the dating pool? It can be a daunting thought for many, especially if you have never dated before or been with the same partner for a very long time, you may now have children and are established in your own life. The other thing of course is that there have been many of changes on the dating scene in the last ten years and there is a lot to learn about online dating.
When is too soon to start dating after divorce? I don’t think there is a too soon to start dating as long as you feel ready. The caveat on this is that before entering a serious relationship, I recommend having all your legal mess sorted and out of the way if possible. This also gives you time to heal and work through your heart aches before welcoming another long-term lover to your life. But to go on casual dates (the old fashion type), is a lovely way to spend time and it can help you to see that there are plenty of fish in the sea.
Having been through the dating process myself as a woman in my late 30’s with a brood of children in tow, I have put together my best tips for you if you are new to dating. I am also excited to share with you in my next post, all my tips and things that I learnt specifically about online dating. Woah, what a ride!
Here are my tips about getting back on the dating horse:
1. BE OPEN TO FINDING LOVE AGAIN
This is the very first step! You have to be open to finding love again otherwise you are just wasting your time. Not all people are the same, not all men or all women are the same and they are not the same as your ex-partner. After you have had relationship failure’s we can get caught in the trap of carrying your past with you, but you must let that go. The past in the past and the future will be different and better if you choose it to be. You need to be in the mindset and understand that this is a fresh opportunity to find a new love, like one you have never had before. How exciting!!!
2. LIST OUT YOUR IDEAL PARTNER’S ATRIBUTES
It is really important that you have a clear vision for what you are looking for in your next partner. Are you looking for fun for now or something more serious? Do you want someone nice to go and do things with or are you looking for your life partner? Depending on what kind of relationship you are looking for will determine what your new partner’s attributes will be. This is the perfect opportunity to choose the person of your dreams to spend your life with. There may be qualities that are absolutes musts and other ‘nice to have’ qualities but not essential. I suggest that you actually list these out of paper or if you are a modern gal like me, in your notes on your phone. This will help you to have clarity around what is important to you.
3. LIST OUT YOUR OWN CORE VALUES
You may not have stopped to think about your own core values for a while or ever! Now is the perfect time to do that. Why? Because it is important that you find a mate that shares your core values so that you can be in alignment. Upon reflection you may realise that your last partner didn’t share your core values and that is what become the issue. It is easy to find someone with all the attributes that you love but if they don’t share your core values then it may be doomed to fail. My core values for example are always being honest, acting at all times with integrity, being family orientated, caring of others and thinking of others before myself, so it is important to me to find a partner that has the same values.
4. DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET ONLINE TO GET OUT IN THE REAL WORLD
Lets face it, it is hard to meet people, especially when you have a busy life and you are often in the same circles of people. I know so many people through my work as a lawyer, however when I was single I never got asked on a real-life date.
My advice is to not be scared of putting yourself out there online. I know that it is scary at first, just the thought of it was frightening for me. However, once I got started, I had so much fun meeting people and chatting online and then going on dates. Remember that you are in control of the online dating world. You can put whatever you want on your profile, you can respond or make the first move if you want to, you can chat online only without ever meeting or meet in person if you like. With online dating, you can take it as slow or as fast as you choose. I encourage you, to get started, just put your profile up and hide it so that you can have a look around without anyone being able to see you. This way you can start slow until you feel more comfortable.
5. GET OUT IN THE REAL WORLD
Join clubs or groups to meet new people. Go dancing, get crafting, volunteer or learn to make real coffee. What are you interested in? It is easy to have been caught up in taking care of our relationship and kids that we don’t even know what it is that we like to do anymore. Explore new hobbies, sports or group activities and make some new friends. Maybe even make new dating connections!
6. GO ON LOTS OF REAL WORLD DATES
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. It is completely fine to go on different dates with different people within the same time frames. It is not to say that you are hooking up or having sex with each date, but just good old fashion style dates. Going for drinks, coffee or dinner to get to know people. Dating to find a new love is a numbers game and you will probably need to go on lots of dates before you find the one. Most people don’t strike it lucky on the first date! The more dates you go on the more that it can also help you to work out what you are looking for in your next ideal partner.
7. HAVE A BLAST
Dating is FUN! You never have to be in a situation that you don’t want to be. If you go on a date and it is horrible, the worst that can happen is that you have wasted an hour of your time. Obviously, you need to be sensible and not agree to any meeting a first or second date at a place that is risky. I would suggest that public places are the safest option for dates. Have fun with it and enjoy meeting new people. You will make new friends at the very least and you will have funny dating stories to share with your friends, I can guarantee that! If you are lucky, you may find the love of your life, the one that you have been waiting for that makes your life journey, heart aches, tough lessons and hurts all worthwhile.