After going through a divorce, it can be strange and unsettling to re-enter the dating scene. Chances are it is very different from when you were in it the last time. You’ve probably never heard of “Netflix and Chill” or navigated through dating apps such as Tinder or Bumble.
You are most certainly wondering how the dating rules have changed in this day and age and how you can navigate these new waters. So here are four tips for getting back into the dating game after going through a divorce.
1. Make sure you are good with yourself
Divorce can leave a lot of pain and hurt in your life. It’s important that you have gone through some kind of divorce counseling so that you have had help to process through the divorce and repair the wounds it leaves behind. You don’t want to enter the dating scene with built up frustration or resentment toward the opposite sex. Without learning from your marriage you are very likely to repeat the same mistakes again.
It’s also a good idea to reconnect with yourself. It will take you some time to figure out whom you are as a single person, compared to who you were in a marriage relationship. The challenges, wounds and growth you have experienced from your divorce will also contribute to the type of person you are now. Be okay with who you are. You must love yourself before anyone else can love you.
2. Put yourself out there
Once you are ready to start dating, you have to put yourself out there. Mr. or Mrs. Right #2 is not going to magically appear at your doorstep one day. Get friends together and go out to places where you can strike up a conversation with other singles. Join an online dating site or app and start meeting people. Begin a new hobby, find a Meetup group, or try out a new church.
3. Be open minded
The people you date now might look a lot different than your ex spouse. If someone asks you out who isn’t necessarily your type, consider going out with them anyway. By dating different types of people, you can determine which traits you most desire in a partner. Your morals and values may have changed the second time around, and you may come to appreciate certain personality traits that you didn’t before. Going on dates will increase your confidence too. You may not meet ‘the one’ by saying yes to a date you’re unsure of, but it can boost your ego and teach you something about yourself that you didn’t know.
4. Avoid talking about your ex
At least for the first one—or several dates—avoid mentioning your ex. Try to get to know each other as individuals to see if there are things in common between you, instead of explaining the role you each played in your last relationship. You will have to go there eventually and divulge the details, but it’s better not to right up front. When you do, don’t bash your ex or complain about the relationship. Talk about the experiences you had, what you learned and how it changed you as a person.
Be patient when you start dating after a divorce. It can take time to meet people and find the right person to build a relationship. Make sure you don’t compare the new people you are dating to your ex in any way. Each person will likely bring their own strengths and weaknesses to the relationship.
Dating can be a fun way to meet others and learn more about yourself. In time, you’ll find another partner you want to settle down with if that is your wish and when you do you’ll be glad you got back out there.
You can read more advice from Dr. Kurt at Guy Stuff Counseling, Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.