The idea of dating after a divorce is overwhelming for some people. Even if you’re excited about it, it’s normal to be nervous or to second-guess yourself.
Whether you were married for two years or 20 years, getting back into the dating scene isn’t always easy. It may be a completely different world than it was the last time you had a date. On top of that, your feelings about love and relationships might be different.
But, if you truly want to get out there and start dating again, nothing should stop you from having those experiences. If you’re nervous about dating, keep a few things in mind to help you take the first step, and to feel confident and comfortable.
Make Sure You’re Ready
There is no singular timeline for when you should/can start dating after a divorce. Friends and family might try to talk you into it. But your experience won’t be a fulfilling one unless you’re absolutely ready to start dating again.
That doesn’t mean you won’t be nervous, no matter how much time has passed. But there’s a difference between nerves and simply not being ready. Give yourself as much time as you need to grieve the loss of your marriage, to re-learn yourself and who you are, and to find some peace again before you try to develop a connection with someone else.
Additionally, try making a road map of what you might like your relationship journey to look like. Look at what some of the issues were in your marriage, and what you can do to reduce the chances of them happening again in a new relationship. Write down your goals. Think about how quickly or slowly you want to take things. Putting these points on paper can help to hold you accountable and remind you of what you truly want.
Don’t Always Trust a “Spark”
When you’re excited about dating again, it can be far too easy to let attraction take over your thoughts. Everyone longs to feel that “spark” or the butterflies that can occur when you’re dating someone new, especially after a marriage that didn’t end up the way you thought it would.
But that initial attraction or feelings of excitement aren’t enough to keep a relationship stable.
Just because you have instant chemistry with someone doesn’t mean you should consider investing in a long-term relationship with them. Give yourself some time to really get to know that person. Go on several dates, have multiple conversations, and decide if they are someone who you’re interested in getting to know better.
Talk About Your Kids… and to Your Kids
If you have children from your previous marriage, it shouldn’t be something you hide. While it doesn’t need to be the first thing you talk about, it could be a topic of conversation early on.
For some people, kids can be a dealbreaker. That might be a harsh reality. However, talking about your children early into dating someone can let you know whether or not to continue pursuing that person.
On the flip side, if you have been dating someone for a while and you’re ready to be more committed to them, don’t put off a conversation with your children either. Be open and honest with them (conversing in an age-appropriate way) so they know what’s happening in their family.
If you’re nervous about dating again after a divorce, consider talking to a therapist beforehand. A therapist can help you to work through your feelings, learn more about yourself, and dive deeper into why your previous marriage may have fallen apart. And working with a counselor while you’re dating can also help to make the whole process easier and less nerve racking .
If you’re going through a divorce or you need help re-establishing your sense of self, please contact the San Diego Divorce Counseling Center at www.DivorceCounselingCenter.com and click the Book Online button, or call us at 619-865-3203, to set up an appointment.