When Should You Start Dating Again After Divorce?
There’s no standard answer to this question. Deciding when to date again post-divorce is a personal decision that only you truly know the answer to. If you are recently (or not so recently) divorced, you may be asking yourself, “Am I ready to date again?” To help answer this question, you can first ask yourself the following questions.
- Have I allowed myself to grieve? After a divorce, people may grieve their marriage, expectations, and/or their sense of control and normalcy. Typically, the grieving process can take up to two years, but how long you grieve is entirely up to you. Even if your divorce is amicable and/or you know the divorce was the best option, you take time to work acknowledge what you’ve been through,
- Have I processed my feelings? Whether you process through journaling, with a divorce support group, or in therapy, you should ensure you have taken time to understand, feel, and address your emotions. If you don’t process before dating, you risk being triggered on dates or even bringing up old hurts or bitter feelings about your ex or the divorce on your date.
- Am I settled about my divorce? After grieving and processing, you may realize you still hope to reconcile with your ex or are uncomfortable with how things ended. Before dating again, you should be comfortable with the fact that your marriage is over. If you still co-parent with your ex, they will always be a part of your life, but are you okay that the romantic part of your relationship is over?
- Have I taken time to date myself? After getting divorced, you may find yourself single again for the first time in a while. Taking time to get to know yourself can help you build more self-esteem, become more self-aware, and love yourself better.
- Do I know what I am looking for right now? Before you start dating again, you should consider what type of relationship you want/feel ready to begin as well as what you are looking for in a partner.
Tips for Meeting New People & Going on Dates
Once you decide you’re ready to date, you may be wondering how to meet new people or potential dating partners. Here are some ways you can meet new people.
- Dating apps. Nowadays, using apps like Hinge, Bumble, HER, or Tinder is a popular way to find dating partners. If you are unfamiliar with dating apps, take the time to research the different platforms, their typical users, and what sites are best for the type of relationship you are looking for. Once you are ready, sign up and create a profile, and be upfront about who you are and what you’re looking for.
- Life or community events. We may live in the digital era, but you can still meet new people face-to-face. While there’s no guarantee you’ll have a rom-com meet-cute, you may meet people while you’re at a neighborhood watch meeting, a new pottery class, or just out and about. You may even consider signing up for live or virtual speed dating events in your local area.
- Set-ups. If you are shy, you may not feel comfortable approaching strangers and striking up a conversation. You can tell your friends, family members, and other trusted individuals that you are ready to date again and would appreciate it if they introduced you to other single friends or acquaintances.
If you are going on a date, here is some advice to prepare you for dating someone new.
- Have fun. Dating is supposed to be fun. While dating after a divorce can be scary, remember how exciting this new chapter can be, and consider all the new people, foods or restaurants, and activities you will get to experience.
- Be upfront and honest. After a divorce, you may have new boundaries, needs, or desires, don’t be afraid to set and share your boundaries. Being honest about your life (i.e kids, hobbies, etc.) is also important as you don’t want to waste your time or start a relationship with deceit.
- Don’t talk too much about your ex. While you should be honest about your divorce, avoid becoming nostalgic or complaining about your ex. Even if your ex is still a part of your life, talking too much about an old partner can be a red flag for the other person.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be sure that you balance talking about yourself and asking the other person questions. Dating involves getting to know the other person, which can help you understand if you’re compatible.
- Be present. Avoid looking at your phone (unless you are checking on your children) or zoning out of conversations.
- Trust your gut. If you notice red flags or don’t feel comfortable on a date, honor your feelings and instincts. You can choose not to see a person again, and if needed, take some more time before dating anyone else.
- Prepare your kids. You and your ex may have discussed how to handle introducing new partners to your children, but even when you are just starting to date again, you should be honest with your kids and tell them you are dating. This can allow them to adjust to the idea and prepare emotionally and mentally for the changes this can bring.
At Kallen Law Firm, LLC, our experienced divorce attorneys are equipped to help clients with post-divorce modifications. We have over 45 years of combined experience and are known for being compassionate legal advocates. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us online or at (314) 441-7793.