What I Learned About Dating After Divorce
Divorce was never in my life plan, it’s never in anyone’s life plan and yet there I was 45 years old, 3 children, and divorced. Once I’d spent time taking stock, realised the full implications of my new found singlehood (if that’s a word!), stood back up again, and dusted myself down, I realised that I was ready to begin dating again.
Here are some of the things I learned and feel are worth sharing:
The goalposts had changed — I was no longer looking for a mate, and so I felt free to date differently. There was no biological pressure for a start. No hurry, simply the opportunity to be in the moment and enjoy each date.
Be kind to yourself. Always. It can feel a very confusing time, we can be very backward focused thinking back to being married and wishing things had been different. It’s natural to feel like that. What’s not helpful is when we judge ourselves especially when we’re feeling that things are really difficult.
Don’t take anything personally — it can feel like a minefield at times and all too much effort. The thing I learned was not to take it personally. When someone you like just doesn’t seem that interested, or a date you thought went well ended in nothing further, remember that it’s not about you. It’s always whatever is going on for the other person.
Go with what feels right — our gut feeling, intuition, or whatever you call it is 100% reliable. Trust it. You know when something feels right as much as when something feels wrong. It makes dating so much easier when we trust ourselves.
Enjoy it and lighten up — we can be burdened by the fact that we’re dating after divorce or we can be grateful that we’ve got the opportunity to have fun and feel alive again. It doesn’t have to be taken so seriously. Those who are more relaxed about dating are much more likely to have a better experience.
Decide what you want — when I began dating, I knew that I wasn’t looking for a new partner. I wanted to explore, to have fun, to not take anything seriously and that’s what I did. Then things changed for me and I was ready to meet someone who would become my partner.
An open mind is much more fun — I’ve worked with clients who have been fixed in only dating their ‘type’ and have struggled as a result. Life is surely about exploring so why not apply that to who we date too? There is richness to be gained in meeting all sorts of people with all sorts of stories to tell and life experiences to share.
There will be ups and downs — that’s normal. Knowing that life is rarely a straight line surely helps us weather the good times and the not-so-good. Knowing that you are more resilient than you give yourself credit for is good to know and helps us through the times we just want to jack it all in.
Dating after divorce can be so rewarding, we’ve experienced more of life, we know ourselves a little better and we in all likelihood have a clearer idea of what we want in life...for the time being.