10 Tips to Know if you’re Dating Post-Divorce
These 10 Tips will help you be a pro at dating after your divorce
Dating after Divorce is a challenge, to say the least. There are many aspects of dating that have changed since you were dating your ex, whether that was five, fifteen, or thirty years ago. You’re older now, and unfortunately, there’s a smaller pool of eligible people to choose from. These are just some of a million frustrations that come with post-divorce dating.
If you were married for a long time, you’re probably nervous about going out on a date with someone else. You’re also probably concerned about how you’ll introduce a date to your children. You may not completely understand what your goals for dating are. But, dating after divorce doesn’t always have to be difficult.
If you’re reading this, that probably means you’re ready to get back on the playing field and move on from your ex-wife. But, before you get off the bench, check out these 10 tips for dating post-divorce. With these tips, you’ll get your dating groove back (And maybe you’ll be an even better date this time around!).
10 Post-Divorce Dating Tips
1. First, you need to be sure you’re over your ex
Don’t date if you aren’t over your ex, it’s as simple as that
You don’t want to be that guy who won’t stop talking about his ex and how horrible your Divorce was. Not only is this ‘too much, too soon’ it’s also a turn-off for many women. She will definitely tell her friends about the terrible date she went on with the guy who wouldn’t shut up about his crazy ex. And, you definitely won’t get a second date with her.
Keep the details about the Divorce to yourself, at least for the first handful of dates. Then, after you know your date better, share a bit about your ex and your Divorce. But, don’t over share. There are certain details your dates should know and details they don’t need to know. Knowing the difference is key to keeping her interest.
Also, if you’re not over your ex, don’t date. You’re just going to bring in a whole slew of baggage and probably have a less successful new relationship overall.
2. Lower your expectations
You can’t expect people to meet all your expectations
A lot of dating experts recommend you make a list of your preferred traits in a partner. But, making a list can cause you to have too high of expectations. No woman is going to check every single one of your boxes. There has to be give and take.
Instead, think of your top five important, non-negotiable traits that you need to have in a partner. Then, see if these traits are present in the women you go out on dates with. Focus on your individual connection rather than external factors like looks or career. Be honest with yourself about what you’re looking for, but don’t expect perfection from your dates.
It’s also important to consider what you don’t want in a partner. Think about what didn’t work in your relationship with your ex, and you’ll have more of an idea of what you’re looking for in a new partner.
3. Keep it casual, at first
Take some time to date instead of jumping into a serious relationship right away
In the past, it was very common to go out for dinner and a movie for a first date. Dating norms have changed a bit though. Sometimes, a first date doesn’t go so well, and spending an entire evening with a date can be excruciating if you have no genuine connection with them.
Now, it is perfectly acceptable to ask a woman out for coffee or a drink for a first date to see if you feel a natural connection first. You and your date can get to know each other in a casual, low-pressure setting like a coffee shop or a quieter bar. Keep the date short, one to two hours at most. This way, if the date sucks, you won’t have to spend the whole evening with someone you’re not interested in. If you find that the relationship is worth pursuing, take her on a more formal date to dinner and a movie.
Also, don’t be that jerk who doesn’t offer to pay for her coffee. You will definitely not get a second date if you don’t at least offer to pay.
4. Give it a few dates
Don’t dump her immediately if the first date doesn’t go well
Many people jump to the dump pretty quickly if the first date isn’t great, but this is a big mistake. If the date isn’t going that smoothly, your date may just be nervous. They also may be tired or off their ‘A-Game’. Having a less-than-perfect first date is not worth throwing away an entire potential relationship.
If the first date goes reasonably well, go out with her at least one more time to see if you feel any connection. Sometimes a mediocre first date turns into an awesome second date because some of the pressure is off.
5. Consider your children
Make sure they understand your dating situation, but don’t over-involve them
Dating with kids is a challenge, but a solvable one.
It can be confusing for your kids to see their dad dating someone else, and it can bring on a lot of new emotions for them. They may feel frustrated with the realization that their parents aren’t getting back together. Many kids can feel loyalty conflicts between their biological parents and potential long-term partners.
Kids also can feel as if they’re losing your attention to someone else, and they may react by causing trouble to get your attention. It’s hard to gauge how kids will react to you dating someone else. One of your kids may be okay with it, while another one may be upset with you. These are all concerns you need to keep in mind if you’re a single dad dating after your divorce.
Wait until the relationship is more serious to introduce your dates to your children. Avoid introducing dates you aren’t serious about to your kids. Any woman you introduce to your children, in their mind, could be their potential stepmom. Your kids are likely still processing the divorce—there’s no need to overwhelm them by introducing them to a lot of new partners.
When you feel ready, initiate an open discussion about dating with your children. Allow them to express some of their concerns to you. Assure them that you’ll still spend time with them and make them a priority.
When the relationship has progressed further, ask your children if they would be open to meeting your new girlfriend. There will probably be an adjustment period, so don’t expect your children to automatically get along with her. There may even be hostility from your children towards your new girlfriend. If this is the case, tell your children that while their behavior isn’t appropriate, it’s understandable.
6. Don’t Ghost your Date
Ghosting is when you completely stop talking to someone with no warning
You stop replying to their messages and phone calls and you never speak with them again. This is a terrible choice to make for many reasons, the main one being that you look like a jerk when you ghost someone.
Yes, the uncomfortable break-up conversation is hard, and after going through a Divorce, ghosting someone may seem a billion times easier than being honest. But everyone deserves the dignity of at least a text-message breakup. If you have only been on a couple dates with a woman, a text or phone call break-up is perfectly acceptable. But, when in doubt, always break up in person. Just think how you would feel if someone you were dating had the nerve to ghost you.
7. Avoid texting all the time
Focus on spending time together in person
Texting is very common between two people that are dating, and while it’s a great form of communication, it can have some issues. Messages and feelings don’t always transfer well over text, even with emojis. If you put in the wrong punctuation mark, an entire message can read much differently than you intended. For example, ‘Let’s Eat Grandma!’ and “Let’s Eat, Grandma!” have two very different meanings, but just one difference in punctuation.
Try to get to know your date in a more natural setting, in person. Talking and looking into each other’s eyes is much more romantic and special than texting all the time. If you need to use technology to communicate, opt for the phone or FaceTime.
8. Be Honest with yourself (and your dates) about your Goals
Understand why you’re dating and what you hope to get out of it
Thinking about what you want in a relationship includes your goals for the relationship. Ask yourself what your long-term purpose of dating is. Do you want to be married again? Would you rather be in a semi-committed relationship that doesn’t end in marriage? Do you just want to date casually?
Whatever your reasoning is, think about it and be honest with yourself. And, when you know your answer, be sure to make your intentions clear to your dates. This way, you can find a woman who is looking for the same level of commitment as you are.
9. Keep some distance
The beginnings of a new relationship cause our minds to act in crazy ways
When you start dating someone new, everything is exciting. You’re in what experts call, ‘The Honeymoon Phase’. It’s the part of the relationship where you can’t stop smiling and you’re infatuated with your partner. This phase can last from six months to a year.
It’s almost always a bad idea to move in with someone after this amount of time because you don’t really know who the other person is yet. The only things you know about them are the idealized images your brain is firing off. In the Honeymoon Phase, it’s hard to see your partner’s flaws when you’re together because your brain is flooded with feel-good hormones.
It’s fun to get swept up in the moment, and if you’ve been divorced for a while, you’re probably really excited to be dating someone new that you actually like. But, be sure to keep a little distance from your new girlfriend so your rational brain can spot red flags. Try not to spend every waking moment together so you can address your needs. You don’t want to rush into another marriage and have it not work out again.
10. Don’t be afraid of online dating
As the saying goes, ‘don’t knock it ’til you try it’
Online Dating is very normal these days, and not just among the Millennial Generation. Divorcees often get online to meet other single parents or divorcees. Many people think it’s ‘sad’ or ‘pathetic’ to online date, but it’s actually a great way to meet people in your area.
Some sites for older people are ourtime.com, match.com, eharmony.com and okcupid.com. Don’t be afraid to try these websites out, and often if you pay for a premium membership you’ll get better match results.
If online dating isn’t your cup of tea, try meetup.com, a website that connects people interested in similar activities. If you try out some meetup groups, you may meet some other single women who are interested in the same things you are.
Dating after Divorce may not be easy, but understanding what has changed since you were dating your ex can provide a lot of insight into finding someone who works better for you. After a divorce, you may feel like you’ll never meet someone else. But finding a healthy, stable relationship is possible—you just have to work at it. Good luck on your dating adventures!