There’s no getting away from it, at some point or another, regardless of how hard that relationship was; you are going to want to start dating. After all, don’t you deserve to be happy and loved in the right way?
For Men and Women, the breakdown of a marriage can be a gut-wrenching, soul-searching, drawn-out expedition. It is painful; it's often drawn-out and we never normally come out the other side ready and willing to start dating again.
It takes time, and that’s ok.
It’s perfectly normal to feel like you do now, and there is no right or wrong answer. Dating after divorce is something that only you will know when you are truly ready to do.
In this post, we answer some of the most common questions that our divorce coaches get asked about dating and divorce, and we will also be sharing some useful tips for dating after divorce that has been shared within our community and between the team here at the Divorce Support Collective.
Is it ok to date while you are going through a divorce?
While many legal experts would suggest that it is perhaps better to wait until after your divorce is finalised before you start dating again; the reality is, that getting a divorce can sometimes be a very drawn-out process. For some, it can be handled within a year; for others, the process can take three or four years to work its way through. In fact, in some cases, we have known it to take much longer than this, and while it is rare, it does happen.
So, if your divorce falls into this bracket, and many do, can you really be expected to wait that long before you step out into the world of dating again?
For many, divorced dating is a thing, it happens, there is nothing wrong with it, and if you feel ready to date after separating, then go for it!
How long should you wait after a divorce before you start dating?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question, as with most things relating to your personal life, especially your relationships, the answer is truly bespoke to you and your circumstances.
For many people who exit a partnership, there is a healing process that needs to ensue. Finding yourself after a marriage has ended, regardless of how it ended, is key. Nobody wants to repeat their past mistakes and if you start dating too quickly, you might truly be ready to move on, even if the right person comes along, if you haven’t taken the time to work through the issue and heal yourself, you might not be able to commit or trust the person fully.
Things to Consider Before You Start Dating After Divorce
Here are a few quick points for consideration if you are thinking about dating and divorce. While they might not all apply to you and your circumstances, consider each point carefully and try to consider if and how these can be applied to you.
Be Patient and Take the Time You Need to Heal
They say time is a great healer for a reason; it’s absolutely true. Regardless of your individual circumstances, or how you ‘think’ you are feeling, you need to give yourself time to heal when your marriage comes to an end.
Be Honest (with yourself and others)
Everybody has their own unique way of dealing with trauma in life. For some, they simply want to forget about it and move forward with their lives quickly; for others, they prefer to reflect and dissect the details before they get on with things. Again, there is no right or wrong answer, being honest with yourself, and with those around you is key. Make sure you give yourself time to grieve, make sure you allow yourself to work through any feelings you might have only brushed over, and always seek support from friends, from family, or from an impartial divorce strategist or coach.
Fall in Love with Yourself Before You Fall in Love with Anyone Else
Ok, this point could actually apply to any person, at any stage of their life; but it’s important to recognise this. Before you can truly love others, you must first of all love yourself. You need to be able to let go of any negative feelings or so-called hang-ups you might have. Work on your self-esteem and your self-confidence as both of these will have been affected by the marriage itself, the separation or the divorce.
Learn How to Forgive (this is key to being able to move on properly)
Let’s be clear when you have been wronged in a marriage, whether you were abused, lied to, cheated on, or anything another form of negative behavior, we are not saying that you should proclaim any forgiveness to them directly, absolutely not. Clearing up any feelings of resentment is key if you want to be able to trust anyone else in the future. Although this might seem particularly challenging, it is so important for you, and for your future that you work through this process. If you work with a divorce coach, they can help you with this point, it isn’t easy, but it is definitely needed to prevent you carrying forward any
insecurities that exist from your previous relationship.
Speak with a Professional Divorce Coach or Life Coach
As we have alluded to in some of the above points, there is professional help and support that can help you to move forward in a healthy and productive way. Divorce coaching services can support you before, during, and after the divorce goes through. Healing yourself after separation and divorce is key for your mental wellbeing, for your family, and for any future relationships.
Focus on Your Family First (especially where children are concerned)
Whether or not your family supported you through your separation and divorce is irrelevant to this point. If you have children, then focusing on their needs and their wellbeing is key. It’s something most of us do naturally as parents. Whilst your own needs and feelings will need consideration, putting their needs first especially where dating after divorce is concerned is paramount.
If you have extended family, make sure that you take time out to work on those relationships too. Family is family and at the end of the day, investing in those relationships is just as important as seeking out new ones.
Eight Tips to Help You Start Dating After Divorce
Now that we have covered some of the key points to consider and have addressed some of the most common questions people ask about divorce and dating, we will share some practical advice with this section that covers tips that will help you start dating after your divorce.
Putting yourself ‘out there’ after going through such a painful experience can feel pretty scary. So, if you’re a little apprehensive, then just know that it’s all perfectly normal. Dating after divorce is essentially part of the rebuilding process that we all need to go through at some point once a marriage has ended.
Ease yourself into your new social life by taking a class or starting a new hobby
If you arrange a first date, try doing something during the daytime
While meeting people in-person is still ‘a thing,’ the dating landscape has changed a lot in recent years. So, you might need to consider online dating as a viable option.
Try to relax and not take things too seriously, limit your expectations!
Take things slowly and take a no-pressure approach to dating
Be yourself, not whom you think they want you to be
Be adventurous, try date people who are not perhaps your normal ‘type’
Remember, it is all a learning process!
As we have already alluded to earlier in this post, you need to make sure that YOU are ready for dating after divorce. Don’t be forced into thinking you should be dating, equally, don’t be pushed into dates by friends, colleagues or family who may want to set you up with someone either. At the end of the day, it’s all about you and what you want, not what other people feel is best.
When you’re ready, you will know. As cliché as that sounds, it is so very true.