By Karen Finn for Good Men Project
Yes, feeling confident is possible as you embark on your adventures dating post-divorce.
Dating after divorce is both exhilarating and frightening!
One the one hand, the thought of having someone find you attractive and interesting again can make you positively giddy.
On the other hand, the thought of putting yourself out there and kissing a lot of toads along the way is enough to make anyone think more than once about dating after divorce.
What if you could position your foray back into the dating world as something you were doing with confidence? What if you could look at whoever you go out with from the standpoint of whether you liked them without worrying about what they think of you?
I know I would have been pretty excited to have started dating post-divorce from that point of view instead of as the unconfident person that I was. My initial focus on dating after divorce was all about pleasing the people who asked me out instead of just being me and evaluating whether I liked them. (And, yes, that did get me into some trouble.)
Choosing to begin dating after divorce is a big step.
It’s natural to feel at least a bit tentative about getting back out there. But it’s also possible to start dating after divorce confidently.
Here are 11 tips to help you boost your confidence when it comes to post-divorce dating:
1. Have fun and don’t take any one date too seriously. At this point in your life, you’ve had enough drama. It’s time to kick back and have a little (or a lot) of fun being social and meeting all kinds of people.
2. Treat yourself, your date and everyone with whom you come in contact with respect. Respect is one of those qualities that every truly confident person has. And the bonus is that by demonstrating respect in all of your interactions (even when you’re not on a date) you will cause others to automatically treat you respectfully too.
3. Follow the platinum rule to make others feel comfortable. You’ve heard of the golden rule – treat others as you want them to treat you. The thing is the golden rule assumes we all have the same way of experiencing life (which isn’t the best assumption these days). By treating your dates as they want you’ll be giving yourself the gift of evaluating how much effort a relationship with them might be.
4. Ditch the small talk. Creating a connection will allow you to truly evaluate whether you want to see your companion again. You’ll never learn anything about the people you go out with by talking about the weather. Talk about things that let you see who they are and what they think.
5. Focus on your date – not on yourself. Trust that you’re great (yes, you really are)! If you become overly self-conscious, you won’t be authentic and will prevent yourself from really enjoying yourself (and probably do the same to your date).
6. Don’t try too hard. You don’t have to sell yourself. Yes, dating does take some effort, but if you’re doing all the work to make your date feel comfortable or if you’re spending the majority of the time trying to impress them, then they’re definitely not the right person for you.
7. Recognize the difference between fact and opinion. One of the topics that will naturally come up in conversation when you’re dating after divorce is “Why did your marriage end?” Everyone fills their divorce story with lots of opinions. Confident people can separate facts from the opinions and not get overly caught up in either their own or their companion’s drama during the storytelling.
8. Be authentic. You really are enough just as you are.
9. Smile. If you want your companion to find you irresistible, smile because they’ll start smiling too. And when you’re both smiling it’s a whole lot easier to have fun.
10. Make an effort to look your best. Appearing well-groomed and wearing current styles will boost your confidence for making a great first impression on each and every person you meet.
11. Be enthusiastic about your life. Nothing exudes confidence more than knowing that you’ve got a great life and that your choice to begin dating after divorce is all about meeting new people (as opposed to dating because you’re lonely or because you think it’s about time you did). And, oh yeah, dating’s also about having fun.
These 11 tips may sound like a lot, but when you really think about them they’ll be easy to accomplish when you’re truly ready to begin dating after divorce.
So if they still seem like too much to handle after you’ve spent some time thinking about them, you’re not quite ready to get back out there. And that’s totally OK. In fact, it’s really important information to have. Just spend a little more time healing and soon you’ll be ready to start dating post-divorce too.