It does not matter if you were married for five years or for twenty plus years, dating after a divorce can be really scary. In my own case, I was married for twenty-one years and right after my divorce, I was not interested in dating. But, after sitting on my couch binge watching Netflix shows, I decided it was time to move on and get off the couch.
It seemed to me that the past twenty-one years brought many changes to dating. Now there were online dating sites, text messages instead of calls and women seemed to take the lead more often than when I was young and dating. It felt overwhelming to me, but, I tackled my fears on three levels: marketing my outer self, inner work on self-esteem, and the logistics of dating.
My fears did not go away overnight, it took time and patience. This was all new and there was no rehearsal. I made some mistakes and had some embarrassing moments, but, I did go on dates, in fact, I went on hundreds of dates.
Here Are 3 Dating Tips From Me To You:
1. Market Yourself:
When I began dating, my dear neighbor took me to lunch and very tactfully she suggested I update my wardrobe and get some highlights in my hair. She was absolutely right. My wardrobe was great for attending high school football games or meetings at my son’s school, but, it was not appropriate for dating.
Look at magazines, browse the Internet, get advice from friends and update your wardrobe. Get clothes that fit and clothes that you look great and feel great in. Go to a makeup counter and have your makeup done. Consider a new hairstyle or like my case, highlights.
You will gain confidence when you feel you look your best. I also suggest getting a first date “uniform.” When I did on-line dating I went on many, many first dates. Instead of spending time trying on outfit after outfit in front of my mirror, I decided on a first date uniform. It saved so much time. Choose an outfit that is comfortable to wear, but, one you look fantastic in.
2. Do Some Inner Work:
My self-esteem went way, way down during my divorce and lots of fears set in. There were so many negative thoughts: "I am not good enough will I always be alone." I also found myself comparing myself to others. “She is so bright.” “She is so thin and funny.” The list can go on and on.
I read many books and attended workshops and realized that these are only thoughts and I can change my thoughts. We are all incredible, special human beings. We all have wonderful qualities and gifts to share with the world.
So, I changed my thoughts. I wrote down positive affirmations and repeated them, at least, three times per day. I would look at myself in the mirror and repeat them, keeping careful attention to my body language. It helped me to stay authentic.
Try spending one day, writing down some of your thoughts. Are they mostly positive or negative? By first becoming aware you can begin to initiate change. Replace any negative thoughts with positive ones. We become what we think!
Try some of these or write your own.
- I always deserve to love and respect myself.
- I deserve to be happy. Happiness is a way of life for me.
- I love and approve of myself.
- I am enough.
- My future is bright.
3. Basic Dating Advice:
When I first began dating, I would spend hours on my hair and makeup and choosing my outfit. That became old very quickly and I decided to just be myself. Stay true to yourself and your beliefs and dating will be easier.
Some basic dating advice: For a first date, meet at the agreed upon location. That way if it doesn’t work out, you have your own transportation. If you are driving a car, opt for valet parking. That eliminates any awkward moments at the end of the evening. Read the news or some interesting articles the day of your date. This can provide you with conversation starters.
My main advice:
If it doesn’t feel good, say no!” Listen to your heart. This is especially true about sex. My girlfriends told me that men will expect sex on the third date. Well, that terrified me and you guessed it, I avoided the third date for a while. There is nothing wrong with sex on the first or third date, it depends on what you are looking for. It is easy to have sex; it is not easy to find romance. There are no rules, do what you are comfortable doing and say “NO” if you are not comfortable.
Most importantly, go out with the attitude to have fun and not to find the “one.” It will take most of the pressure off.
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