I am often asked about the "rules" of dating after divorce. The truth is, I am not sure there are any tried and true rules to being the perfect post divorce dater. But talking by experience, theses are the ones that are working for me.
No question, it's a confusing time, but by staying true to yourself first, you can't go wrong.
Don't date because your ex is out on the town.
Just because he or she has a date every Friday night, it doesn't mean you have to. Many times we view it as a competition saying, "If he's out there, then I need to get out there and date again!"
It is not a contest. This is the time to do what you need to do for yourself so you are not dumping your issues on someone new.
Quit lying to yourself about what you need.
Bottom line, what you "need" is to have fun, not fall in love right now. After a breakup or a divorce, many people think, "I have to get out of there and I need to fall in love again. I need to find a partner." That is not the case. It's critical to figure out who YOU are first. Figure out what you need. You don't need to have something just because someone else has it.
Also, you don't "need" to commit to one person right now. Date multiple people. Yes, it's okay. You just got out of a committed relationship. If you jump into another relationship, you may end up with the same type of partner you just broke up with.
Learn who you are.
Easier said than done, but it is possible. Remember, the dating scene changes all the time. Even if you've only been out of it for five years, it's going to look different when you jump back in. It sure did for me. If you're in your 40s, don't run around like you're in your 20s, going out to nightclubs and parting all night. Maybe that was never you to begin with, so don't try it now! Maybe bowling is your thing -- so go bowling! Or go to an art exhibit, the theater, whatever -- but make sure you're being true to yourself.
Don't jump into bed right away.
Don't jump in bed with first person who shows you attention. I get it, you are just out of a relationship and you want to feel attractive again. You want to feel like someone wants you again. But jumping into bed with the first person who shows you attention is not going to feel good in the morning. If you jump into bed with someone on the first date, and then there is no second date, you might just feel like you're reliving that bad breakup all over again!
Keep Saturday nights to yourself.
True story. For months I sat at home on Saturday nights, I ate pizza in my sweats with my Chihuahua on my lap, watching a movie, with no man in sight. I do date, but I set aside either my Saturday or Sunday night and make sure it is still mine. The truth is there is something good about being alone. There is nothing worse than being out on a date with someone I don't want to be with and feeling lonely.
I will sum it up with a line from my dad, I live by it: "It's better to be lonely alone than lonely with someone."
Think about it. And order an extra topping on your pizza until you are ready to get back out there!