Exiting any marriage, no matter how long or brief, is always heart wrenching and also an adjustment. One of the biggest adjustments is getting used to the single life, and the new found dating scene you will find yourself in. I think it is awfully tempting, to want to jump back in the saddle both sexually, and emotionally, immediately, as a kind of reward for your new found "freedom". That feeling of, hey I can date, I am single, I can have a different date every night of the week, "yippee", mentality. All of which you can do, now you are divorced. The problem with this theory is that like many things in life, fantasy of single life is often far, far, removed from the reality of single life. Unless you are a kind of detached, emotionally unavailable, neanderthal, dating after divorce is a difficult journey, both physically and emotionally. It is fraught with unwanted outcomes, and it certainly isn't an easy path, as you try to navigate, not only other people in the dating world, but also try to figure out, what indeed you really want in your new life.
It is extremely tempting and flattering after your divorce, when the hot guy at the office offers you his shoulder to cry on, or the divorced soccer mom thinks you need to get out and have fun, as a now single divorced dad. Which is some ways is great, and yes surround your self with people, who are kind and compliment you, and make you in some way feel better, however do not allow yourself, to become a kind of victim, of others, motives and agendas. You may feel you are all instantly and completely healed after a divorce, but you are not, it took ten, fifteen, twenty years of marriage to bring you where you are today, it is not possible to really just immediately be 100% emotionally healed, and adjusted to that kind of monumental life change, in a month. This is a faulty belief system we all at times are guilty of. The fact is no one directly after a divorce, should date anyone seriously, you shouldn't fall in love, most likely this will be lust, you shouldn't make long committed plans with other people, the chances are this first dabble into dating and a new relationship will not end well.
We all hear of rebound relationships, these people we kind of instantly stick to in a kind of clingy, needy way, both celebrating out new found singleness, sowing some wild oats, and rejoicing that we can actually some how move on, to another person, even after decades of being with the same spouse. These relationships though, are often built on a foundation of sand, lust and emotional vulnerability, that the person dating the very newly divorced person, is in a way taking advantage of the situation in a way. I recently spoke to the first person I seriously dated after my own divorce, lets call him Mr M, we have long since become friends, but in hindsight, he both is not anyone I should have dated. He was the perceptual charming, but good time guy so to speak, but even worse, he shouldn't have been dating me, I was a total emotional wreck, with my life mostly in shambles. As lovely as I like to think I am, I was clearly not date-able at least for the first year, probably well into the second year after my divorce.
I have a very strong theory and have heard from countless other divorcees through the years, that the first after divorce relationship, is always a disaster, which sometimes at worse, will make your divorce break up pale in comparison. This can't be random as it effects so many people, it has to be because whether we realize it or not, we give off a kind of wounded bird aura, as a newly divorced person, we appear weak, easily pleased, which quite often we are. The first person after my divorce who told me I was beautiful, I could have married, just from that one compliment. We are often, lonely, needy, in search of any kind of human contact, connection and attention, which in turn actually just makes us very easy prey, for those people who do not have a positive motive and agenda to date us.
I highly recommend not entering into any relationship right after your divorce, I do though strongly advocate, dating as a kind of social outreach project, to find both yourself and what you do really like in a future person to date. I use this analogy, chances are you were married to a cheese sandwich, you had that cheese sandwich every day of your marriage, it was fine, you grew very used to it, eventually tired of it. So you divorce, and the menu now has 3.5 billion new food options, you should get out and date to sample the rainbow trout, the liver and onion, the rhubarb crumble, the chicken marsala, but why limit yourself to another food group 24/7. There is so much to explore, and quite frankly as you have been having daily cheese sandwiches, your palette has dulled, to the point you actually don't even know what you like anymore. The flip side of this is you during your divorce , is you have most likely inadvertently became a uncooked hamburger, full of promise, but not quite ready to be eaten yet, which will usually only attract a certain type and not emotionally healthy person to you.
It is a much healthier way to heal from divorce, focusing on your own needs and wants, just be honest with people, do not lead them on, giving them false hopes to be in serious relation with you. Don't worry there are still a lot of people, who will wish to date you, even with the upfront nothing serious caveat. So go out, have fun, pay attention to peoples words, behaviors but most tellingly their actions. Gather as much information about your self, your likes , your dislikes as possible during the dates. Then when both some time has passed and also you have in your life adjusted to being divorced, not only will you start to attract much better emotionally healthy people to you, but more importantly you will be in a position to know yourself well enough to know when Mr or Miss right does eventually show up, for you.
Happy dating, be safe, be honest but most importantly find you along the way!