Dating isn’t easy in today’s world, no matter your age or previous relationship experience. Yet, dating after a divorce or breakup has some layers that often make it just a bit more challenging initially. If you’re just venturing out into the dating world again after a relationship breakup, here are some dating tips for you.
Divorce and breakups are hard, no matter how amicably you split. Take the time you need to heal emotionally. Some experts recommend six months of healing (read: single and not dating) time for every year you were together. That may equate to some long years alone if your relationship was a lengthy one, but just be sure you’ve unpacked most of the baggage before venturing into the dating pool again.
It doesn’t make sense to shop for a major purchase without having some sort of criteria list you want to fill, right? So don’t let a significant other into your life without the same planning. You’re an adult and have had at least one relationship, so knowing what you want – and don’t want – in a person should be fairly easy to determine. Write your list down and use it as a checklist for each new person you meet. Know what your “deal-breakers” are so that if they rear their ugly heads, you know to part ways immediately.
Love Yourself First
Nothing is more attractive to potential dates or mates than people who know and love themselves. Create a full and satisfying life for yourself without depending on someone else so that when you’re dating, you’re not reliant on that person or other people to be your life for you. Clingy is never attractive to emotionally-healthy people.
If you really want to date, find multiple ways to connect with people. Yes, online dating is fine, but take safety precautions until you know the person. Blind dates set up by friends or family are good too. Join clubs and classes or find a single friend and attend singles events in your area. Sound corny and contrived? It is. But it’s also a place to meet people like you, who are looking to date. Keep the bar hook-ups at a minimum; under the influence of alcohol is never the ideal way to find someone right for you.
Keep it Simple
Enjoy lots of first dates with different people. Be open to new experiences and having a fun time, and keep first dates to coffee, lunch or an early dinner date. Make sure you have your own ride to and from the meeting place and have an exit strategy in place in case the date is absolutely awful.
No Phones Allowed
Nothing puts off a date more than watching the person they’re with continuously checking their phone. Keep your ringer on so that if your kids are with a babysitter, you can still be reached for urgent matters, otherwise, tuck your phone away out of sight and pay attention to the person you’re with.
Keep the Kids Out of It
Initially. Don’t include your kids, if you have any, on dates. Even if you meet someone and think it’s love at first sight, your kids deserve to meet a significant other when you have been dating long enough to actually make that person significant. Be honest with dates about having kids, but keep your dating kid-free until you know if this is a relationship or just a casual fling for fun times.
The same goes for discussing your romantic life with your kids. If they’re older and know you’re dating, that’s fine, but unload the details with a close adult friend or family member. Kids of single parents can’t help but feel protective and responsible for their parent, so don’t add to their stress by including them in the ups and downs of dating.
Look for Friendship with a Spark, Not Love and Fireworks.
When you get to a certain age, you realize that never-ending passion and romantic explosions aren’t what sustain a long-term relationship. Yes, a certain amount of initial chemistry is necessary, but don’t forget that your brain and your heart need to be stimulated as much as your eyeballs and your body.
Happy couples who have been together for decades often were originally friendships that found a spark to ignite that emotional and intellectual connection into something more, so don’t go seeking the romantic-comedy movie version of a date. Have fun and see if the person is worthy of a friendship before you lay your heart on the table.