When Should I Start Dating After My Divorce?
When you are facing divorce, your mind is overwhelmed with worry about anything and everything. How am I going to make it on my own? Where am I (or he) going to live? How is this going to affect my kids? What am I going to do about health insurance? Am I going to be alone for the rest of my life?
When to start dating again seems to the be the hottest topic for someone going through a divorce. Everyone seems to have an opinion for you. As soon as you change your Facebook status to “separated” or “divorced” you will suddenly be inundated with ads from online dating sites. Well-meaning friends will tell you the best thing you can do is jump into the dating scene.
When you are sitting at home alone mourning the loss of your marriage, it can be very tempting to jump onto the first online dating site that comes to mind. It can be validating to have your inbox filled with messages from new men. For a while, the excitement of imagining a new life with a new man can help you avoid dealing with all of those overwhelming, depressing feelings that divorce brings.
Unfortunately, when you are in emotional chaos (which, FYI, you ARE), you are not able to have an emotionally healthy relationship with anyone. Like it or not, you need to take the time to work through all your own emotions before you go diving into the dating pool! You need to fully mourn your marriage and take the time to grieve what you have lost…your marriage, your spouse, your dreams, your family.
Whether you have been married for decades or a few years, who you are has changed. You are not the woman you were before you got married. Not only has your marriage changed you, going through a divorce changes you. Now is the time to get to know who this new you is. If you have access to therapy or counseling, this would be a great time to start going if you aren’t already.
Find out what YOU like, not what your former husband likes, what YOU like. Really evaluate the things in your life, everything from where you are living to your career. What does happiness look like for you now? Are there things you have always wanted to do…. Take a cooking class? Travel? Start a business? Now is the time! There is freedom that comes with making decisions by yourself and for yourself. Think about what you want your new life to look like and make a plan to create that life.
Take the lessons you have learned from your marriage and divorce. Understand what you need and want in a potential future partner. If you are emotionally unstable, then that is what you will attract when dating. If you wait to date until you have reached a good place emotionally, you will be more likely to attract that in return. Don’t settle for less than what you now know you want or need.
There is no set time on when it’s the perfect time to start dating after a divorce. But you need time on your own to work through all the emotional turmoil that comes with divorce before you start dating. Get to know who you are now and love her as fiercely as you loved your ex. When you decide that you are ready to start dating again (and you will), you will be in a much better place to find someone who can add to your life not save you from the pain of your divorce.
Hi! I’m Keri Lauderdale Olson, also known as Recovering Cinderella, www.recoveringcinderella.com. I am not a therapist (although I can probably use one) or divorce professional. I am simply a woman who has lived through divorce and wants to help support other women through their own divorces with honesty, humor and a healthy dose of reality. If you are a woman going through a divorce or if you are divorced and have some insight to share with women going through it, please join my private Facebook support group. There is a link on my website.