Once the ink is dry on the decree absolute (or sometimes way before then), many of us start to think about meeting our next person. How wonderful it will be to be in love again, we decide.
However, between now and that wonderful goal stands the dreaded dating scene. For many divorced people, dating can seem nothing less than traumatic. We worry we won’t find anybody who likes us and that we won’t find anybody we want to date. We fret about what to talk about on a date, what to wear, where to go. And what about dating etiquette? Will we have to flirt? What are the new rules? It can all seem terrifying, especially if you have not dated in many years.
But with the right preparation, dating after divorce can be great fun and an enormous confidence boost. So, if you are thinking about dipping a toe in the dating world after divorce, there are some important questions to consider.
When is the right time?
This is probably the most frequently asked question I hear from my divorce coaching clients and it comes in various forms.
Am I ready? Is it too soon? Am I on the rebound? What will people say?
The thing is, there is no right answer. The right time is different for everybody, so you are ready when you are ready. Nevertheless, it’s important to think about why you are considering dating to test if you are doing it for the right reasons. Many people start dating because they don’t want to be alone, or because they want to hurt their ex and make them realise what they are missing. Clearly these are not good reasons to be putting yourself out there.
You also need to know your own worth and be prepared to ignore or walk away from people who will not value you. Divorce can leave you lacking in self-belief, so it’s best to invest the time in developing a firm belief in who you are and what you bring to the table.
Be honest with yourself to judge if your resilience is low. No matter who you are, what you look like, how interesting you are, dating WILL involve knockbacks and confidence blows. Are you strong enough to take those right now?
You are ready to date after divorce when you are doing it for yourself, for the right reasons. You know why you are dating and you are clear on what you are looking for.
Why am I dating?
Some may think it’s a silly question but when I ask it of my clients, the disparate answers include:
- To meet my soul mate
- I need financial support
- For sex
- For companionship
- I don’t want to be alone forever.
Knowing your “why” is important because it will clarify what you are seeking. If you are just interested in short-term dalliances right now, then maybe similar values and interests are less important than physical appearance and proximity. Conversely, if you are only interested in a long-term relationship, then looks may take a back seat to certain personality traits.
Your “why” will also impact where you look. Casual dating is more prevalent on certain apps but if you want a long-term committed relationship, you may want to consider a professional matchmaker. Remember, your motivation for dating can, and probably will, change over time.
What do I want?
This is more tricky.
Some dating experts advocate drawing up a specific list of criteria and then deciding what is non-negotiable, and what is less important. There are many factors people use to filter their choices. Physical appearance, geographical proximity, whether they have children, occupation, education, interests, and background are just some of the things that are important to people when they are deciding who to meet.
However, the nature of dating is that even when somebody ticks every box, you may not have any chemistry between you. Of course, without chemistry you have nothing.
So, it is a good idea to understand what is important to you because it helps you understand what to look for, and what to avoid. However, the romantic in me also believes that we should remain open-minded because who knows what the next “one” will be like?
So you’ve decided you are ready to date, so, it’s time to get started. Depending on what you’ve decided you want to get out of your search for love, your options include online dating, local singles’ events, asking friends for introductions, joining clubs, or professional matchmaking.
Dating after divorce is like any other new experience. You need to understand it and what you want from it – and then you can see if you enjoy it.
The very best piece of advice I heard was to remember that everybody is in the same boat. The people you are dating are just as terrified, just as unsure and just as keen to meet their person. So be brave, dive in and enjoy!
At Ignite Dating, your dedicated matchmaker is with you every step of the way, working closely with you to understand the characteristics and values that are important to you. Our experienced matchmaking team brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to make your dating journey as streamlined and enjoyable as possible. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you.