You’re divorced and you want to date. I am a relationship coach and I want to help you with that. About 65% of my clients are single and a majority of them have either been married or are coming out of long-term (more than 5 years) relationships. They have the energy. They have the desire. And yet, there are some very common things that hurt their dating experience and I’d like to share some of these lessons with you:
Lesson 1. Looking for the nice guy instead of the right guy. You’ve been hurt and you won’t accept poor treatment from someone like that again. They were such a bad person and you are looking for someone that is their complete opposite. Women get into this state of mind a lot after a bad marriage and there can be issues with it, most of all settling. There is nothing wrong with avoiding the negative traits that your ex had but what’s equally important is to understand what you’re looking for as opposed to focusing only on what you’re not looking for. Otherwise, you could find a nice guy that you have very little in common with otherwise.
Lesson 2. Not understanding their own needs and wants. In direct connection with Lesson 1, women coming out of divorce do not generally assess their needs and wants. This is the single biggest exercise I do with clients. What are your non-negotiable necessities (NEEDS) in both the relationship and the person? And, what are those things that you’d like but aren’t imperative (WANTS)? You likely need a nice guy but what else do you need? Getting clear on this before you get back out there is paramount. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself finding ways to call people ‘the one’ simply because they meet some surface wants or needs without fully aligning their traits, goals, etc. with your full list of needs.
Lesson 3. Putting too much emphasis on compatibility with the children. “I just want to meet someone that will respect my kids and be a good role model to them.” Remember those needs and wants we discussed? Just checking.
Lesson 4. Using noncommittal language but wanting a commitment. “I’m not looking for anything serious” or any ‘like’ language is incredibly common for women coming out of a marriage. And, in a lot cases, they’ve thought this through and it is, in fact, where they are. No problem. But, when you’re looking for more and you say this instead, don’t expect to get more. Why? Two reasons:
- A lot of men will take these words very literal. “Oh, I get to have you and not have to commit to you? Check and mate!”
- You will find yourself hiding behind your own words when you find yourself getting close to someone and it scares you. “I wasn’t looking for anything serious, I wasn’t looking for anything serious…”
Lesson 5. Getting hurt after divorce and taking too much time off. “Wow, and I thought it was going to get better after Eddie but Chris is such a jackass. I don’t need this shit!” It is hard to connect with the right person and kissing lots of frogs, toads and tadpoles can get old really quick. This is especially true if they’re of the poisonous variety. But, it can be easy to quit and deprive yourself of the happiness and companionship you sought not too long ago. And by the way, you deserve this happiness and companionship. This isn’t to say that taking time away after getting hurt is always wrong, but in a lot of cases, it’s a default reaction steeped in anger.
In all of this, Lesson 2 is the most important. What are your needs and what are your wants? Focusing on the needs is incredibly important. If you get clear on them, you will kiss less frogs, settle less and be very clear in what you seek. This will directly drive what you seek out as well. Otherwise, you’re walking into the dating abyss with energy and desire but no compass. And lost you are my friends.
- The Rebound Relationship: Bouncing Back After Divorce
- Dating After Divorce: Is Heartache Inevitable?
- Making my “Dream Guy” List (a.k.a. Searching For My Renaissance Man)
- Aesop’s ‘The Cock And The Jewel’: An Allegory For Modern Dating