Dating, particularly after divorce, can be a very nerve-wracking experience – even just to contemplate.
It may be many years since you last dated, and if you married young, you may not have had a lot of experience dating at all.
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Dating is not about jumping into a new relationship. It is instead that early stage of building potential relationships where you meet socially, initially as friends, and determine whether you could potentially be compatible to become prospective committed partners.
For some, physical intimacy is part of dating; for others, that aspect of the relationship exploration comes later. Dating doesn’t mean being exclusive from the outset – although for some people this is what they are more comfortable with.
Dating for the first time after a breakup or divorce can be difficult, and many people, especially women, can feel very vulnerable – especially in mid-life or senior years. You need to really be sure you are ready to jump into the dating game…
Get back in the game
Friends may encourage you to start dating and “get back in the game” soon after a breakup. Yet your heart has to heal before you take this next step.
Therapists and counsellors recommend that we take two full years to heal and self-reflect after the breakup of a marriage or otherwise significant partnership.
Experts even generally agree that this time period begins after the divorce is granted – not when you first decide to separate.
The first two years on your own after divorce are a valuable time to recover, become used to your new life, get to know yourself again and who you are, as well as what you really want from life. Only after you’ve found some inner peace can you really begin dating for the right reasons and expect good outcomes.
Signs you are ready to date again
- You’re comfortable in your routine, and happy on your own. You may want someone to share your life with, but you don’t need it.
- You’ve taken time to get to know who you are – not who you were a decade ago, not who you were as a spouse, but who you are now.
- You’re no longer longing for your past relationship, preoccupied with your ex, nor are you obsessing over your hurt and anger towards your ex-spouse. In other words, your feelings about your ex are neutral.
- You are able and happy to leave the past where it belongs – in the past.
- You have no guilt or shame about your divorce and know you deserve happiness.
- You can go out on your own and have fun – to dinner, to the movies, to a concert. Your desire for a companion is just that, a desire – not a need.
- You know what you want from life and relationships. You’ve identified deal breakers – and have the strength to stick to these.
- You’re excited to meet new people and see dating as an adventure.
Starting to date too soon can lead to a bad experience. When the time is right, you’ll know it – so don’t rush. Take time and put Number One first – you.
Next time we’ll look at some Tips for Starting to Date Again.
According to the stats, about 50 per cent of relationships end in divorce. If you need a helping hand from a legal perspective check out this blog “Where do I begin” for some starting points.
If you are separating, please talk to us about the process you need to take to get the best possible outcome for everyone involved.
Call us on 07 3161 2762 or email at [email protected]
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