Sometimes happily ever after eludes us the first time around. That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve happiness and that you can’t find another prince or princess charming. Getting back on “the market” is an important part of moving on with your life post-divorce, but there are a few questions you should ask yourself before you take the plunge back into the dating pool.
How do you know if you’re ready to start dating again? There are a few questions you should ask yourself before you create that on-line profile or agree to let your sister fix you up.
• Do I feel settled into my new single life? You should give yourself plenty of time to get used to your new routine. Are your children (if any) adjusting to their new living situations? Have you spent some time just focusing on yourself? This is the time to be a little selfish and consider what you want and need now that you are single. If you are feeling overwhelmed and unsure about how you will manage on your own, this is not the time to start dating
• Do you still harbor feelings for your ex? If you are still boiling with anger or filled with longing for what was, then you are probably not ready to start dating again. You don’t want to transfer those unresolved emotions onto someone else. However, if you are feeling neutral about your former spouse, and even wishing them well, you might be ready to look for new companionship.
• Doest the idea of meeting someone new feel exciting or are you dreading the prospect of navigating the murky waters of post-divorce dating? If you don’t feel ready, then don’t let friends or family push you into doing something that doesn’t feel right. You might hear, “you gotta get back out there,” or “it’s time to move on,” and eventually you will. In your own time. If these statements feel encouraging and make sense to you, then you’re probably ready to start dating again.
• What are my dating expectations? What do I want? Before you start dating again you should have some idea of why. Do you hope to find a new love of your life and get re-married? Are you just looking for casual companionship with no longer-term commitment? Remember, you can change your mind as you go. Perhaps, at first, you just want to meet someone to see a movie with once in awhile or try a new restaurant. That’s fine, and probably the best way to approach dating to begin with. If over time you decide you’re ready to commit to something exclusive and long-term, you can start narrowing down your dating criteria with the goal of only dating people you feel have potential to be a lifetime partner.
Dating after divorce will definitely be different than dating in your teens and twenties, so be prepared to feel a little unsure about things to start with. Ease back into it, and be sure to keep plenty of time open to spend with your kids, your friends, or just enjoy being on your own once in awhile. Dating again should not feel like an obligation, but instead fill you with optimism and excitement about this new chapter in your life.