The following is a guest post from Vanessa Jones. I know I don’t write much about dating and it seems this is an area of expertise for Ms. Jones. So, for those of you “in the market”… enjoy!
5 Tips for Dating after a Divorce
I’m of the opinion that dating again after a divorce should start only after a significant break. Breaks from all things romantic give you time to heal, to reflect on what you want out of life, and to re-discover yourself as a single person. If you’re already seeing someone, think twice before making a major shift like moving in together. After all, the best decisions are never rushed decisions, and I’ve seen too many people further pulverize an already injured heart by jumping immediately into another person’s arms right after their divorce is finalized. Once you’ve centered yourself in the ways you know how, keep the following in mind when re-entering the dating world:
1.) Do what you love, find who you love.
And I use the word “love” loosely. Obviously you will be doing a lot of casual dating, much of which will not take you remotely close to the L-word. The point is that back when you were married, your life revolved around that other person who absorbed most of your time. Now that your fate isn’t tied to anyone else’s, start filling your time with the outside pursuits you love (or pick up new ones) and keep your eyes open. My own father, after living as a bachelor for a long time after his and my mother’s divorce, literally ran into his future wife while jogging his favorite running trail. By taking up your favorite pastime, whether it be rock-climbing, volunteering for a nonprofit, or frequenting record stores, you up your chances of bumping into people with similar interests. And if no such “bumping into” occurs? You’re still having a good time and enjoying your newfound freedom.
2.) Draw a line in the sand.
Mapping out the things you’re not willing to put up with in a future relationship will help you avoid being drawn like a tractor beam to someone who is too much like your ex. I know it seems silly to think you’ll be roped into another bad pairing with someone just like the person you left, but you’d be surprised. I went through all too many tortured, insecure musician types before I noticed the absurd pattern and started looking outside that archetype. But let me be clear. Don’t make a list of “ideal” qualities. This creates unfair and often unrealistic expectations that could keep you from perfectly healthy relationships.
3.) Hang with single friends.
Now I’m not saying you should entirely avoid your married friends or friends in long-term, committed relationships, but if you spend all of your time with these couples you’ll begin feeling like odd man (or woman) out and put too much pressure on yourself to fit into this mold. Start spending time with your single friends who are more willing to go out on the town and meet people.
4.) Drop the “jaded and jilted” facade.
Go into dates with an open mind and an open heart. Optimism is a powerful and attractive force. Don’t allow yourself to expect the date to flop. Avoid talking about your ex, but if the conversation comes up naturally, discuss it in a positive light as the growing experience it is, rather than a “this person shattered my dreams of love” experience. If you need to vent about the aftermath of your divorce or the actions that led up to it, do so with a trusted friend instead.
5.) Don’t expect anything out of another person that you don’t expect out of yourself.
Are you looking to hook up with someone with six-pack abs? Then start doing some crunches yourself. Want someone who will cook you dinner? Get out the frying pan. Want someone without baggage? Make sure you’re appropriately handling your own. While I don’t advocate changing yourself to snag a relationship, I also don’t advocate setting one standard for the people you date and a much lower standard for yourself.
This guest post is contributed by Vanessa Jones, who writes on the topics of dating sites. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: firstname.lastname@example.org.