Finding love after divorce is something we all think about at some point after the horrendous process of divorce. We may question whether we are still lovable with all the baggage we carry or if that special person (we thought we once found) even exists.
Sometimes the mere thought of finding love again can send us into a tailspin when we realize that in order for that to happen we have to start dating again. For some, the idea of dating is a necessary evil to an end, but does it have to be? Can’t we have fun with it?
There is no doubt it can be tough out there in post-divorce dating land, especially since the rules and the lay of the land seem to have changed since the last time you dated. But like anything, with a little bit of foresight, you may learn to enjoy it.
It’s important to realize that everyone is different in how and when they start dating. Some go in with trepidation and some don’t go in at all. After all, there are no rules that say you have to date. You may have a friend that went headfirst into the dating scene on a mission to date as many people as possible, and five years later they are still doing the same thing. Perhaps they like the dating scene and are not really interested in finding love again.
It would be wise to know what your ultimate goal is before you begin dating. Do you want to just have fun for a while? If so, then the character of the person you are dating is not as important as just getting together for a fun time.
However, if your end goal is eventually getting involved in a long-term relationship or possible marriage again, then who you date is extremely important.
Before you start heading to singles bars, getting fixed up by Aunt Mabel, or signing up for Match there are some key questions to ask yourself before jumping or tip-toeing into the dating scene after divorce.
1. Are you over the ex? Do you still talk about your ex in daily conversations? Are you spending time tracking their whereabouts or activities on social media? If you are, then you are most likely not ready to begin dating. You will not be able to give anyone a fair shake because you will spend your dating time with he/she comparing them to your ex. After a divorce, we must grieve the loss, regardless if you initiated it or not. You need to heal before dating again and if they are still a part of your daily thoughts, then you are not done the healing. It goes without saying, if you are still married then you should not be dating.
2. Are you available? In other words, do you have time in your life for someone new? I have a friend who continues to date, but then she never has time after the first few initial dates because she is too busy. In fact, one guy who she really liked broke it off because he felt she had too little time for him. Oftentimes we fill our lives with so much activity for fear of being alone, that when we do meet someone we like we are afraid to give up the activities for fear we will be alone again. This would be a self-fulfilling prophecy come to a realization. If you want to date and get to know someone, you have to make yourself available.
3. Is your outlook positive? Many of us hold onto to anger and bitterness after divorce because our dreams were shattered and we were left to pick up the pieces. For many, that’s true which is why we have to take the time to heal. There isn’t a time limit on this, it’s as long as it takes to start acknowledging the beauty in the world again and not looking at everyone with skepticism. I know people that even after six or seven years post-divorce they are still angry and negative. Is that someone you would want to date? If you go into dating without a positive mindset, dating will be more of a chore than an opportunity to meet new people.
4. Are you willing to be vulnerable again? Being able to find love again means having the ability to open your heart again to possibilities. If you still harbor anger and negative feelings toward marriage, or men/women in general, then opening up your heart will not be possible. We have all been hurt in the past, but in order to build something with another, you have to let go of the past and allow yourself to open up.
Only you know if you are mended and ready to date again. Just know the best way to find love again is to allow it to come naturally in your life. When you have healed, are available, have a positive outlook, and are ready to become vulnerable again, finding true love is practically guaranteed.