Things To Do Before Dating After Divorce
Dating after divorce can feel like walking in one of those space camp rooms designed to feel like the moon—it’s a totally alien experience. It has been a very long time since you had to let a new person get to know you, from scratch. Not only that but, dating takes on a whole new meaning for you now. Dating used to be something you did in the hopes of finding someone you wanted to spend your life with. You did find that person, and it didn’t work out. So you may not have the most positive outlook on the whole process anymore. You’re not the same doe-eyed, optimistic girl you were when you dated before your divorce. And that’s not a bad thing! But, it does mean there may be a little prep work you need to do before diving back in. Here are things you should do before dating after divorce.
Consult your therapist
Your therapist is a doctor and she knows when your broken heart is healed and ready to get back in the game. It couldn’t hurt to listen to her, right? If you dive back in too soon, you could set yourself months back in your healing process.
Re-connect with your girlfriends
The single ones who’ve been dating—they can brush you up on some of the trends happening out there so you aren’t totally insulted when a man asks you to split the bill or meet up to brew beer. That’s a thing? Making the beer? Can’t you just drink it?
That being said; stay true to yourself
Remember that, if any dating trend or behavior doesn’t sit right with you, you don’t have to partake in it. Walking away from or turning down something that turns you off doesn’t make you “not with it”: it makes you comfortable with who you are.
Come to terms with your status
You’re a divorcee now. You’re so much more, of course, but that is a part of who you are, too. If you still feel any shame around that or the urge to hide that fact, then you need to come to terms with it.
Do something that scares you
Like skydiving or riding a horse. Why? Because dating will be so much less frightening after you’ve done something that truly made you fear for your life. Having a cocktail with a stranger will be a walk in the park after that.
Develop a new routine
You and your ex probably used to have a routine, even if you didn’t enjoy it. So it’s time to develop your own: what do you do on Sundays now, instead of having lunch with him and his parents? How do you relax after work, since it won’t be through drinking wine and watching a cooking show with him? If you’re going to date, you should be inviting someone new into your individual life—not pieces of the broken life you had with your ex.
Say your thoughts on love
Whatever words come to mind when you think of love and relationships—state them out loud. Now. GO! Were they words like, “Torturous” “Manipulative” “Painful” or words like “Uplifting” “Fun” and “Exciting?” If they were the first bunch, you need to get back to the drawing board (with your therapist). If they were the latter, get out there.
Think about your first dates with your ex
I know—it’s not fun. You don’t want to think about the good old days. But, if you really analyze your first few dates with your ex, you may find some clues you didn’t see before. Think about what you know about him now, and what he revealed on first dates. Could there have been any indicators? Really put some thought into this because it can keep you from wasting time on men like him again.
Treat yourself really well
Have a spa day, take yourself on a shopping spree, treat yourself to a nice dinner. Treat yourself the way you think a man should treat you so you go into your dates with that mindset.
Start having a blast
That’s something you probably haven’t had in a while since you were dealing with divorce papers. But the only way to know if someone makes you truly happy is to already be happy before meeting them. Then, if they take away from that happiness, that couldn’t be clearer. If they add to it, that’s pretty clear, too.
Speed date as an exercise
Look at speed dating like driving around the cones in the parking lot at driver’s ed. It’s not the real thing, but it gives you some indication of the mistakes you could make on the real road (to love.) Work out some of those kinks now (like the urge to blurt out “I eat chocolate on the toilet”.)
Put it out there that you’re ready
There is a very good chance all of your friends have had somebody in mind they’d like to set you up with since—to be honest—before you filed for divorce. They’ve just been waiting for the green light from you.
Get the 411 on online dating
Ask the younger generation or a friend who has been doing it for months. You can’t just sign up for every site because you’ll waste a lot of time. Find out which demographics flock to which sites, how to spot a guy who is just looking for sex, how to tell a man is lying about what he looks like through Photoshop…you get the idea.
Turn your home into your heaven
Enough of this sad shack that looks like a place you’re barely surviving. Decorate your place so it’s a place you’d love to be—a place you’d rather be than your old home with your ex—instead of a place you have to be since you got a divorce.
Know that divorce makes you wise, not “damaged goods”
Don’t walk into a date thinking, “I’m divorced and this guy can see it all over my face.” Walk into a date thinking, “I know a thing or two about human behavior now, which really puts me ahead of the game. Hopefully, this guy can keep up.”
Have the sex talk with yourself
One mistake divorcees make is not ask themselves how they feel about having sex again until the decision is right in front of them, holding a condom. Really visualize waking up next to somebody new, and having that intimate experience with them. If that visualization makes you panicked and sad, that’s important information.
Update your undies
Seriously. Or you’ll have a moment when you’re stripping down to have sex with a new man, look down at your lingerie and remember wearing that when you had sex with the ex. Eek!
Seek out new friendships
Your old friends are wonderful and loyal, but they may see you as broken and fragile. They can’t help it; they’re protective of you! But it could help you see yourself as independent, fun and playful if you surround yourself with a few new friends who only know those sides of you, and didn’t see you during the divorce days.
Stop hating your ex
If you still hate your ex, then that will affect the way you see new men. You’ll be comparing them to him, and actively seeking out men who are as different from your ex as could be. That’s not a bad thing in and of itself, but having anything altering your perception of reality is. And hate can certainly do that.
Stop looking at dating as something you have to do. It can be a lot of fun! Even the dates that don’t go well are fun—they provide you with stories. Remember how much you used to love dishing your bad date stories to your girlfriends over brunch? That can be a part of your life again! And then, of course, there will be the few good dates, which are a perk all in themselves.