Between my research, my hives, extremely tight support garments and coordinating a babysitter for my little rendezvous I forgot to have fun and enjoy my first date after divorce.
After my divorce, I vowed to give myself at least a three-year “healing” period before even considering a date of any sort. Armed with my self-help books and post-divorce dating and advisory blogs, I was spending my nights mostly working through my 1000 stages of grief and working on making myself whole again (however bad that sounds).
Dating took me by surprise as I did not find him online or in the personals section, he literally ran into me (with his shopping cart) in my local grocer. After he apologized for the injuries I sustained and bribed me with hot pancakes (writing his name and number on the serviette in the packet), we started chatting via our mobiles for a few days. Then he asked me out. Something I was not mentally or physically prepared for but agreed to in less than a split second.
As the day of our date approached, however, I broke out in hives due to a long overdue “wax-on/wax-off” job on my legs going horribly wrong. My next stumbling block was getting into my spandex support garment (one of those shape and firm jobs that can lead to restricted breathing and intense sweating). Ugh!
I googled topics to discuss on the date and topics to avoid, gestures that could be seen as flirtatious and gestures that would indicate interest, how to greet your date on arrival and how to say goodbye on departure (based on three possible scenarios of course: I.e. the date went well and you want to see him again, the date went badly and you never ever want to even speak to this human again, the date went well but can only lead to a deep friendship).
Needless to say between my research, my hives, extremely tight support garments and coordinating a babysitter for my little rendezvous I forgot to have fun and enjoy the process. The evening arrived and it all went swimmingly well, no chemistry though but he remains a good friend until today.
Here are 5 things I learned, though:
1. There is no set time to wait before dating again: Let your inner voice be your guide; No one knows you better than yourself. Dating blogs or post-divorce self-help guides can’t guide you on this one so trust your intuition.
2. Be yourself: It’s okay to be nervous, it’s okay get stressed out, but it’s important to show up as your real self the first time, and every time.
3. Do not over analyze or over-research it: Let things progress naturally and it will all come together, trust me. I spent hours googling what to say, what not to say and how to say it that by the time I arrived for the date, my head was a mess and I had this jumbled up inner dialogue going on, luckily it was quickly abated by my first sip of wine (if you do not consume alcohol you are on your own here).
4. The guys are just as nervous as the girls so go easy on them and be gentle: You are not alone in your pre-first-date-after-divorce-jitters. Laugh about it during your date and share these pre-date war-stories, it’s a great ice-breaker. You and your baggage are not unique, over 40 and one marriage later, most of have some.
5. The absence of chemistry is not the be-all and end-all of it all: Stay open-minded, he may not be your one and only but it can definitely be the start of a wonderful friendship. My first-date-after-divorce and I still enjoy each other’s company today, we hang out, we laugh and we even share our other dating disasters with each other.
Most of all, relax and have fun. I have since then been on many dates, even tried the online dating thing and so far, it’s been a blast and many good friends have been made in the process.