I recently went out with a “Harvard-trained sweet, caring, confident and generous man with a terrific and adorable sense of humor” (from his JDate.com profile essay). He had listed his marital status as divorced. As soon as we began sipping our lattes, he revealed that he was newly separated. His "amazing, brilliant" therapist had encouraged him to date right away. What?? First of all, I don't date separated men, so thanks dude for misrepresenting yourself. Second, what kind of therapist encourages her patient to date before the divorce is final?
My date may have been in a lousy relationship with no sex for many years. That can feel very lonely. I get it. Been there, done that. But I feel that you should wait to date until the divorce papers are signed AND you've done some preliminary work. I'll talk about that in a minute.
Let's get back to the "Separated-posing-as-divorced" guy. He did not get a second date with me. I don’t want to be the woman with whom he makes all his mistakes. And he made plenty in the short time between first email and first date.
“I was completely taken by your profile and photo. I’ll be in NY this weekend and you can join me in my Grand Tier Box viewing Madame Butterfly at the Met on friday night or meet quickly for coffee or a drink some other time this weekend.”
Um…I don’t know you and you’re inviting me to box seats at the opera? You don’t invite a stranger to the opera in a first email. You haven’t even spoken to me yet. What if I were an axe murderer? Awkward sitting next to a serial killer for a few hours at the opera! Okay, so I’m not an axe murderer and neither are most people online, but you need to take it slow and build some rapport before asking a woman to the opera. It’s easy to fall for “potential”. When I first started dating after divorce, I had waited two years, but I still did my share of projecting all kinds of incredible qualities on a man before a first date. Inevitably, this almost always led to total and absolute disappointment. Who can live up to that type of expectation?
After I nixed the opera, we scaled it back quite a bit. We met at dinnertime at a trendy Italian restaurant, and had planned for a coffee date. He asked if I was hungry. I said yes. He said he had a big lunch and only wanted coffee and gave the menus back to the waiter. What??
Did I mention that he was 20-minutes late and didn’t apologize? Oh, and then he started giving me medical advice because he “cared” about me. No, thank you. This is why it’s important to make sure you do these 3 things before dating.
3 Things to Do Before Dating After Divorce:
1. Figure out what you want in a partner. If you haven’t already done this, write a dream list of your ideal partner. Who is he? What qualities would you like him to have? What will he look like? How will you feel with him? Once you know what you must have and must not have in a future relationship, you’ll date with more clarity.
2. Ditch the ex anger. If you’ve been on a date with an ex-basher, you know how draining it can be. Make sure you’ve let go of any residual anger before dating. That negative energy will repel a good guy from asking you out again.
3. Get excited about dating. If you are approaching dating like a root canal, your dates will be as lackluster as your attitude. Get excited about the possibility of finding love with a fabulous partner. They exist, but you’ll only find him if you have a positive attitude.
After you’ve completed these 3 steps, get out there and date. You'll make mistakes along the way, but that's how you learn. Track your learning by keeping a dating journal. Each date is your teacher, and one lucky guy will be the one who clicks with you. And let me know how it goes. I want you to find love again!
If you are truly serious about finding love this year, there’s nothing like group coaching to keep you accountable and give you dating tools that work. The Last First Date Inner Circle features two monthly topic-based Q & A calls about dating over 40 and a private forum for women to connect and share their experiences. All calls are recorded and transcribed, and you get a free chapter a month of my upcoming book. This month, we’re talking about how to communicate with men without nagging. Check it out.
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