Dating after a divorce can be a scary experience. You are entering a new stage of life, and you don’t know what to expect. There are going to be good days and bad days—sometimes on the same day. That’s why it’s so important to have an open mind about dating after divorce and be ready for anything. You’ll need to think of things like how to introduce your love interest to your kids and decide whether or not to get regular STD testing if needed. If you’re considering dating after divorce for the first time or if you’ve been through it before, here are eight things that will help your journey go smoothly.
Be Ready To Date
You’re ready to date again. It’s a good thing, too, because dating can be enjoyable. But how do you know if you’re actually ready? Ask yourself some big questions. Have I had enough time to be on my own? Am I prepared for another person in my life? Will I have the same expectations as before? Or will they be higher? Am I willing to go through some awkwardness when first meeting someone new? Have I had time to heal from the divorce?
Know What You Want
It’s important to know what you want and to know what you don’t want. If you’re looking for a casual fling, you’ll have different expectations than someone who is looking to connect with someone long-term. If you know what you want before you even get started, you’ll be able to identify red flags more easily and people who don’t align with your needs this season of life.
Don’t Rush It
After divorce, some people feel pressure to get back in the dating scene long before they are really ready. And when they do hop back in, they are unprepared for everything from sex to handling conflict. You’ll want to take your time getting back into the swing of things. Let relationships progress naturally and hold off on anything more than handholding and kisses early in the relationship. It’s okay to wait to see if the new relationship is going anywhere or not. Go at your pace. If it feels like someone is pressuring you to do something you are uncomfortable with, then that’s a huge red flag.
Start With Coffee Dates
If dating seems overwhelming, start by just meeting someone for coffee first. If you’re having a hard time getting back into the dating game, you want to start off small. You don’t have to commit to a full date right away; just meet someone for coffee. This will allow you to go at your own pace and see how it feels before committing further. It’s also great because if the person isn’t what you were looking for, at least now you know.
It’s Okay To Feel Nervous
The truth is, you were married to someone for a while, and meeting new people can be scary. While dating after divorce can be a fun and exciting time, it can also be quite overwhelming. There are so many things that you need to consider when you’re dating again for the first time in years.
Put Your Children First
Think about the kind of person you would want in the life of your children. Whether you like it or not, if you end up in a long-term relationship, you want to be with someone who is not only good for you but who is also good for your children. Don’t bring new partners to the house every weekend, but don’t avoid dating because of them either. Putting them first means you can also be second. Don’t introduce the new person to your kids unless you know your new love interest is serious and plans to be around for a long time.
Don’t Badmouth Your Ex
When you’re dating again, it can be tempting to talk about your ex. Don’t do this. It’s important that you don’t badmouth your former spouse or their flaws. You shouldn’t talk about how much better or worse your life is now that you are divorced, either positively or negatively.
Set Up a Support System
Everyone needs that friend who will call them halfway through a date to give them an easy out if it’s not going so well. A support system can be anyone or anything; it’s not limited to your friends and family. You can find an online support group that meets your needs or set up your own in which you are the leader. Having support when you are ready to date can keep you from getting too crazy or clingy right away because you’ll have your emotional needs met.