Dating After Divorce: Eight Top Tips
By Emma Ward
Getting back into the dating pool after going through a divorce is not always easy. Divorcing, or splitting up from a long-term partner is ranked by many as one of the most stressful experiences you can go through. It is understandable that many people will be cautious about opening themselves up to the potential for another relationship that may not end well. However, this should not stop you finding happiness with someone else. It is often the case that embarking upon a new relationship when you are a little older and more experienced can actually help you discern exactly what you want out of life and from a romantic partner.
Ready to dive back in? Read on to discover eight top tips to help you make the most of your new-found romantic freedom.
1. Make sure that you are ready
Don’t let other people dictate when or how you should re-enter the dating world. Many well-meaning friends or family members try to push newly divorced people back into finding a partner in a well-meaning attempt to help them find happiness. Be firm and tell people to back off if you are not ready to start dating again. Divorce is time consuming and can take a toll on your mental health. If you are ready, however, only tell people what you feel comfortable sharing about your experiences and try to avoid other people’s enthusiasm – ort other strong opinions from colouring your view or affecting your confidence. Only you can work out what to do – and when.
2. Take it slow
When you meet someone whom you like, it can be tempting to move quickly, going ‘full steam ahead’ to make the most of your newly found happiness. Calm down, and take it slowly at first to really make sure that you like and trust the person and that your feelings are returned. If they are the real deal, they will be happy to wait for you to go at your own pace and won’t pressurise you into making hasty decisions that you are uncomfortable with. Enjoy the courtship and take time to really get to know each other and have fun together before moving on to a more serious stage in the relationship, such as cohabitation or marriage.
3. Too good to be true?
It is very important to listen to your instincts when meeting someone new. While the vast majority of people you will meet will be genuinely looking for friendships and maybe more, they may be others out to scam vulnerable people out of money or possessions and you must stay alert and open to the possibility that someone may be too good to be true. Make sure that you know their full name, address and plenty of other details about them before committing to handing over any money, entering into shared financial arrangements or paying for larger expenses, such as holidays, vehicles or houses Someone wanting to rush you into marrying them may well tick the romantic box at first, but always ask yourself if they could have an ulterior motive.
4. Keep an open mind
Having said that, try to keep an open mind when you meet someone new, as most people will have genuine reasons for wanting to enter the dating pool. Don’t stick to one type of person either – you may well find love with someone in a different age bracket, from a different nationality or background or with a job or pastime that you have not encountered before. Learning new things is always a benefit at any stage in life and you may be surprised by what you can learn from someone who has taken you out on a date.
5. Discuss expectations early on
While it can be off-putting to discuss wedding plans or how many children you’d like to have on the very first date, having some idea of what the other person is looking for and where they see their live going can be helpful when it comes to deciding whether to take a budding romance further or not. Very differing expectations, e.g. in terms of children, marriage versus cohabitation and where you would like to live can have a devastating effect on relationships. Even if your expectations differ too widely for a longer-term relationship to work, it is best to find this out sooner, rather than later.
6. Be a proud parent
Don’t try to hid the fact that you have children, as this can lead to mistrust later on. Talk about your offspring and be proud of them – perhaps not to the point of excluding all other topics of conversation, however. The question about when to introduce your children to a new partner will depend on your own circumstances, views and the age and understanding of the children, but never try to deny their existence. As their parent, it is your duty to out their needs ahead of your own. There are thousands of happily blended families out there, so never think that being a parent is not conducive to a second chance at a happy marriage or partnership.
7 .Explore dating apps
Technology is a wonderful thing, so don’t be afraid to explore the use of dating apps to widen your search for potential new partners. There are many apps available, aimed at different dating scenarios, from people looking for casual hook-ups to those searching for a longer-term relationship. There are apps for single-sex dating, specialist hobbies and interests, people in similar professions and people living in the same area. Do a search to see what you can find, and select one or two apps to try that most closely match what you are looking for.
8. Stay safe
We have left the most important piece of advice to the end, however it is the most crucial thing to remember when agreeing to go on a date. Keep yourself safe at all times, placing your personal security at the very top of your priorities. Always tell someone else where you are going and when you expect to be back. Meet in a public place, such as a café, restaurant or gallery and have your transport planned, and preferably booked, in advance. Carry plenty of money – enough to cover your expenses and to pay for an emergency taxi home. Keep your mobile one charged and never get into a vehicle with your date unless you feel totally comfortable doing so.