Dating Post-Divorce: What Are You Talking About?
I frequently write about my experiences with marriage, separation and divorce. As an organizer for a local Divorce/Separated Support group, I see the same question come up all of the time - how do you know when you are ready to date? I think you are ready when you can meet someone new and resist filling them in on all the gory details of your failed marriage.
Negative remarks about your ex will not impress a new love interest. Negativity in general is sure to turn off your prospects. Even if you think you are being objective and analytical about your failed relationship, who do you think wants to hear about all the stuff that didn't work? Only you, and maybe others in a similar situation.
After my own divorce nearly 13 years ago, I read lots of self-help books about recovering from divorce, including Dating for Dummies by Joy Browne. I was also a big fan of Dr. Joy's radio show, and I liked her advice to wait a full year after the divorce before dating. Her philosophy was that you needed a full year to cycle through all of the significant anniversaries alone before you tangle up your emotions in another intimate relationship.
It made sense to me. But I didn't follow her advice. Not only did I start dating before my divorce was final, I started dating my current husband before his divorce was final. The “rules of thumb” based on specific amounts of time have not seemed to apply to members of my divorce group, either.
In Why Women Should Date after Divorce, Barry J. Roche writes that part of coping successfully with divorce includes “Re-building your self-confidence to develop a new intimate relationship.” But Roche cautions, “What's more important is knowing when you're ready to start dating. Starting too soon or for the wrong reasons is not going to help re-build your self-confidence or help you develop an openness to new intimate relationships.”
David Anderson and Rosemary Clandos explore how the newly divorced successfully and healthfully re-enter the dating arena in Dating after Divorce. The subtitle sums it up nicely: "Supportive friends, healthy self-esteem, and a little patience are some of the keys to get back into the dating scene."
Spend some more time moving forward in your life, exploring new interests, finding happiness. When you are living in the present instead of the past, you'll be more attractive and more likely to connect with someone who is also emotionally secure.
Many books and articles can help you evaluate if you are ready to leap into the dating scene, but for a simple test, pay attention to what you say. If your failed relationship monopolizes your conversations, you are not ready to date.
Fifteen of Thirty
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