As one ages, dating slowly transitions from a fun and enjoyable act to a more serious and uncertain one. If you found dating as an easy feat and something worth being eager for in your teens, you might not think so as an adult. But that shouldn’t necessarily be the case. Yes, it might be a tad more complicated to date as an adult, especially as one who has already gone through a divorce, but that doesn’t mean it should become something you fear or even avoid.
There are stages of grief and a required amount of time for transition to take place before you are ready to start anew and each individual has to go through them at his or her own pace. There is no secret guide book to help one shorten the process, let alone to skip it altogether. Friends and family might bear good intentions when they advise you to “get out there” and “start afresh”, but there are a few things you should take into consideration before jumping back in the game.
Starting too soon
Well intentioned as some people may be, but starting to date as soon as you’ve finalized your divorce is not something that will help you in the long run. For some, it might take their minds off the present, but for most, it is a daunting and unconceivable task. And it is quite understandable if you look at it from a realistic point of view.
People who have just gone through a divorce can feel uncertain, unprepared or even unwilling to start another relationship. And not everyone is willing or capable to simply date around without a specific purpose in mind or any prospects for the future. On the contrary, they fear they would have to start all over again with an unknown person that might not be the right choice for a long term relationship. Or they might not even know where to start or how to do so. Getting back in the game, as some may call it, isn’t something that a person who has been “out of the game” for even a few years of marriage can easily go back to.
Before even attempting to date once more, some things should be dealt with in order to have a healthy and fulfilling experience.
First of all, make certain that you have a clear view regarding what you want and what you do not want from a possible future partner and establish what is a “definite NO” in a relationship for you. If you can’t even conceive of an answer for each question it is clear that you need more time and space before trying to date somebody else. Unless you can define what you prefer and need from another person and what you have to offer in return, the experiment is bound to fail and, eventually, it will make you even more reluctant to attempt dating in the future.
Secondly, be sincere with yourself. Can you gather even the slightest amount of interest or motivation in getting to know and care for somebody else? You don’t need to feel 100 % sure of this, but you should, at the very least, be able to find dating as something worth trying again. As long as your heart and mind is full of thoughts and worries regarding other aspects of your life, the prospect of dating will only end up being disheartening.
Feeling for your ex
Last but not least, do not date if you still have strong feelings for your ex. And the term ‘strong feelings’ does not only apply to affectionate sentiment, but also to hate, fury or others from the darker spectrum. In order to start something worth starting, you should first feel neutral towards your ex partner. Going into a new relationship while still holding strong emotions for your ex will only dim the experience in the most negative of ways. It might actually lead to losing someone truly worth having a new relationship with.
For the most part, the surest way to avoid most hardships which arise with the reentrance of a divorced person on the dating scene is to establish a personal rhythm. There is no such thing as avoiding all sort of romantic relationships for a precise number of years in order to develop a successful new relationship. There are no guarantees for success no matter what approach you take. Focusing on healing yourself and regaining your confidence is the only way towards a balanced and desirable romantic future. For some it might take an year or two while for others this process could be longer. Learning to live anew after a separation is not a science and unfortunately can’t be taught. And, in the end, it’s just a matter of trial and error.