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Sure, you’ve been here before and it all worked out: you dated, found that special someone, and got married.
But things are different now. Your “happily ever after” turned into “happy for a while,” and now here you are – a bit older, with a bit more baggage, but with a heck of a lot more wisdom, and a list of things you wish you’d known then.
The only problem is, you don’t even know where to begin looking for your second chance at love!
Dating for divorced people can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be hard. The dating scene may be different than it once was, but you’re different, too.
Divorce is a difficult thing to go through, but you made it, and with a little time, you will be ready for this new world. Not just to survive, but to thrive.
Everyone moves at different paces. You might be ready with the ink still wet on your divorce papers, or you might need years to get back out there. Everyone is different, and either of these is completely okay, as long as the decision yours.
You don’t need to rush headlong into the dating world. You may be older than you were the last time you dated, but the dating scene isn’t going anywhere. On the other hand, don’t hold back when you know you’re ready because you’re worried about what other people will say or think. No one knows you better than yourself, so no one can say when it’s the right time but you.
This is a new opportunity, and it’s yours. So be sure you’re ready before you begin. Take time to heal from your divorce. Figure out who you are, what you want and need, and if dating again is the right move for you right now.
Once upon a time you hit the bars, dated people from school, or slipped your number to the cute cashier at the supermarket.
But guess what? Life is different now. You’re different now.
You have a new schedule, new friends, and a new set of responsibilities, and you’re looking for a new type of person.
But this doesn’t mean your options are limited. In fact, you’re lucky – the dating options have never been this wide.
There are lots of choices when it comes to “the scene.” You could go out with friends, join an activity or class to meet new people, give online dating a try, or let a friend or family member set you up with someone. Try them all on for size and see where you feel the most comfortable.
One good thing about being divorced? You should have a pretty good idea of what you want in a life partner by now.
You know what works (and what doesn’t) in a relationship. You know what red flags to look out for. (Five failed marriages and ten shots of tequila on the first date? Yikes.) And you know what qualities are most important to you. View your marriage and your divorce as learning experiences and take what you’ve learned into the dating world with you.
Just because this is your second time around the relationship carousel, it doesn’t mean you should be looking for anything less than love.
You’re not in this for a satisfactory companion or a supplementary income. You need a best friend and someone who will sweep you off your feet.
You just got done figuring out what kind of person you want and need, so go find them.
Now that you know where to look and who you’re looking for, it’s time to make it happen.
When it comes to the dates, start simple. Go to dinner or even just for coffee. Don’t start with a movie where you sit in silence for hours, and don’t feel like you need to do anything too crazy – you have nothing to prove.
Your first goal is to get to know each other, so a relaxed environment where you can sit and talk is the best place to begin.
And be yourself! If you have children, mention them – but don’t only talk about them – and definitely not on the first date. If you love to go horseback riding or play baseball or dance, mention that, too. If you’re serious about finding love, you want them to fall in love with you, not the person you were pretending to be.
If your divorce comes up, don’t spend too much time talking about it, but don’t be ashamed either. It’s something that happened, and it’s part of what made you who you are now. So acknowledge it, but then make it clear that it’s in the past, and today is a new day.
And whatever you do, don’t forget to ask them questions! Chances are they’re just as nervous as you, so make them feel comfortable and let them know you’re interested.
Nobody said this was going to be easy.
You will meet duds. You will get frustrated. You will at some point feel like you have messed up your only shot at love and you’re going to be alone forever.
But don’t lose hope. You’re bound to hit some roadblocks in your course towards love, but nothing worth having ever comes easy. So don’t go expecting Mr. or Mrs. Right to come falling into your lap immediately. Just give it time.
Sure your ultimate goal is to find “the one,” but don’t treat it like your own personal life or death mission.
Have fun with it. Flirt, laugh and go outside of your comfort zone. This is a chance for you to explore new options, new versions of “you,” and new versions of “them.” It should be enjoyed.
Dating for divorced people doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be a fun, exciting world, and all you have to do is trust yourself, be yourself, and get yourself back into the game.