Five steps for getting back into the dating scene after a divorce

Go on short dates

You don’t need to commit an entire evening to a dinner date. Instead, plan a coffee date with a fixed timeframe (e.g before your 2pm meeting) or grab a drink after work before meeting a friend for dinner. You’ll likely be more open to new dating experiences if the time commitment is more manageable. 

Make two lists: your strengths & areas for improvement

Acknowledging your own strengths and putting them in writing to activate …boosts confidence; and confident daters are more attractive and successful.

We are told we should be confident and that confidence is sexy, but we’re shamed for admitting that we are great; it’s quite the contradiction. You should know that your wonderful and worthy and be willing to acknowledge your specific traits that make you a great catch. 

In addition to acknowledging your strengths, you’ll also benefit from identifying areas for improvement.Take responsibility for your role in your divorce. (I’m not suggesting to share this information with your dates, but that you do this work on your own before you start dating.) This can be challenging, but it’s essential to growth and happy relationships. When you look back at your marriage, can you identify the role you played in its dissolution? You can certainly identify how your ex was to blame, but it takes two to tango in almost every case (with the exception of abusive relationships), so get vulnerable and acknowledge what you could have done better. This is essential if you want to build a happier, healthier relationship moving forward. If you can’t identify any areas for self-improvement, you’re going to repeat the same mistakes. Write it down and make a commitment to improving your behaviour moving forward. Perhaps you could have been more patient, been more clear about your expectations from the onset or diverted some of your energy from being a parent to being a lover/partner. 

Don’t take other people’s behaviour personally 

From ghosting and haunting and benching to cat-fishing, it’s important to know that other people’s bad behaviour is a reflection of their own issues — not yours. If two people disappear without a trace, you may feel like the common denominator, but ultimately it’s really not about you.

Don’t talk about your ex

While you need to reflect on the past to learn from your mistakes, you don’t need to share them on your first few dates. Create your own policy with regard to when you want to open up about the past (e.g. after the third date — it’s totally up to you). If your date asks about your divorce earlier (on the first date, for example), answer them more broadly and say you’d rather wait to talk about it. Do talk about yourself — your big dreams, passions, philosophies and fears. It’s okay to open up and be vulnerable even on the first date. 

Don’t get hung up on chemistry

You’re older and wiser now, so you should now that compatibility is not something you find, but something you cultivate. If the sparks don’t fly on your first date, it doesn’t mean they won’t ignite after several dates, so don’t give up right away.