Whether you were married 5 years or 25 years, returning to the world of dating after a divorce can be a daunting task. If you were married a long time, it is especially scary, but it is important not to let yourself become so paralyzed by fear that you choose to rule out putting any effort into finding love again. Life after divorce can be lonely so it is important to be open to finding love again, but you must be ready. Here are 5 things to consider before returning to the dating world after your divorce that will help you gage whether or not you are ready:
1. Where are you in the healing process?
Divorce is a major life event. Like any other life changing event you may go through, it requires time to heal. How much time is a very individual issue. Often after a divorce it is natural to feel guilt, to blame yourself, and to question your instincts, especially if you didn’t see the divorce coming. It is also natural to have strong feelings of anger towards your ex, and this can be prolonged if the legal settlement takes time. If you are still thinking about your ex frequently, whether your thoughts are good or bad, you are not ready to date. To be able to attract a healthy relationship, you need to have healed from your previous one so take the time to heal and work on you.
2. Have you reclaimed you?
After a divorce, it is common to feel insecure, unwanted and full of self doubt. This is not the way you want to feel about yourself when you re-enter the dating world. You want to be confident and secure. You need to take the time to work on yourself so that you feel this way. Also, following divorce many people feel a loss of identity. They don’t know who they are anymore. In order to know what you are looking for, you need to know who you are as a person, separate from your ex-spouse. Reclaiming your identity is part of the healing process, but it is so important, it is being stressed as a separate consideration.
3. Are you in a position to attract what you want?
The law of attraction states that we attract into our own lives what we put out into the universe. If we are bitter, untrusting and have walls up, we will attract people who are similar. If we are emotionally available, we will attract others who are emotionally available. In order to attract what we want, we need to know what that looks like. We need to make sure that we don’t repeat negative behaviour patterns from our previous relationship that may cause us to make the same mistakes. We also need to consider whether we are ready for a long-term relationship, or whether we are better suited to just get out there and meet a variety of new people by dating. Those of us a little older sometimes want to get serious again too quick. There is no harm in just having fun for a while rediscovering who you are and meeting lots of people.
4. Do you have a realistic vision of your ideal mate?
All too often people approach dating with a rigid checklist of what they want and they won’t even consider someone who doesn’t meet all of the criteria. It is easy to forget that we have aged and have some baggage, so of course a prospective partner will have aged and have baggage too. It is easy to become extremely picky as you get older, especially if you are happy with the other areas of your life, and feel that you just need someone to complement an already good life. While I would never suggest for a moment that anyone should settle for something less than they desire, just be mindful that you haven’t set the bar so high that there is no living person who can meet it. Don’t settle, but be open to a Prince or Princess Charming who perhaps doesn’t look or seem exactly like the one you envisioned.
5. How do your children factor into your dating life?
First and foremost, dating is an adult, individual decision and children should never be the one telling you whether or not it is ok for you to date. Young children won’t understand it and older children should not be telling their parents what they can and can’t do. Having said this though, children are always our first priority. If you have young children you will want to be protective of them and need to decide who it is appropriate for them to meet and when. Children are only young once and it is important that they never feel that they are secondary to mom’s or dad’s dating life. It is also important though that when you are ready you don’t let your children hold you back from finding a new love. Be mindful not to use them as an excuse, when the reality may be that you just aren’t ready yet and that is perfectly ok.
We all deserve to find love again following a divorce. Don’t let the hurt, betrayal or blow to your self esteem hold you back from doing something that could bring a great deal of happiness to your life. If you need some support on how to approach dating after divorce, coaching can really help. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free 30 minute consultation.