Dating after divorce? For some, it is the natural next step after their divorce is final. For me, getting to know myself again and focusing on my children and rebuilding my life were more important.
Life is filled with certain questions and there are some you can almost be assured you’ll hear at least once in your life when you have a major life change occur.
For instance, when you are in a serious relationship people will ask; “When do you think you’ll get engaged?”
When you get engaged people will ask you, “When are you getting married?”
When you get married, they’ll ask; “When are you going to start a family?”
And surely as the tides rise and fall, when you get a divorce they’ll ask; “When are you going to start dating?”
Those questions can be entertaining, yet they can also be a cause of stress. Maybe you don’t want to get married. Maybe you don’t want to rush the wedding. Maybe you don’t want to have any children.
And maybe, just maybe you don’t want to date after a divorce.
Not wanting to do any of those things is perfectly okay. Yes, even the not wanting to date after a divorce. Believe me, I’ve gotten my share of wide eyes of surprise when I say that I’m not interested in dating. Along with the occasional look of, “Mhmm, sure.” Meaning, if I could find someone to date, I would be all for it, but since I can’t…well then, I say I just don’t want to date.
Hard as it may be for some to believe, there are those of us who either aren’t ready to date or just don’t want to leap into the pool of dating, after a divorce. Let me say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with those who are ready to get right back on that horse again. I applaud you and I think it’s great. I also think it’s great for those who shake their head at the idea of dating and just stay away from it, for whatever reason they have.
I can’t speak for other women, but my personal reasons are probably like others. Let me tell you my experience and if it sounds familiar, rest assured you’re not alone.
Dating after divorce for all the wrong reasons.
After my divorce, I was very quick to try and date. My reasons then weren’t the right reasons at all. I felt unlovable and unwanted and I just wondered if anyone could and would ever want me again. My self-esteem was at an all-time low. So, I went out on a couple of dates and I quickly realized, I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to open my heart to anyone and more than that, I wasn’t ready to let someone new into my life.
My life had once consisted of a husband and our children. That was my focus and my heart and soul went into all aspects of family. When one part of the family equation was gone, my focus turned to my children and for the first time in years, to myself.
Not dating after divorce for all the right reasons.
I could find myself again and find out whom I was as a person. As a separate entity from the husband-wife creation, I had become. I had lost my own individuality in my marriage and something I discovered early on during the divorce was that I had to relearn how to be…me. I was a mom first and now, I wasn’t a wife second, I was me. Just me.
So, in those few dates, I realized I wasn’t willing to give up any time with my children and any time for myself, for anyone else. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the guys. As a matter of fact, they were great! They were kind, they were attentive and sweet. They carried the traits of someone one would want to spend more time with. Yet, here I was with a complete aversion to seeing them again and getting to know them better on more than a friendship level.
Once I knew who I was, I knew what I wanted.
Over time I realized I had become a strong and independent mother and divorced woman. You know what? That’s perfectly okay. It’s better than okay, it’s an awesome thing and something that shouldn’t be second guessed or doubted. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay single.
Some of us might decide later, whether we meet someone special or we just decide we’re finally ready, that we want to date and see what comes of it. Some of us might wait until the kids are grown and out of the house before we want to give that a go. And some of us may decide the single life is all we want and we may never go out and search for someone. Every single one of those options is okay!
So, the next time someone asks you if or when you’re going to start dating, look at them with a smile of confidence and say, “I don’t know if I ever will. For now, I’m happy as things are.”
Divorced 2 years cannot even imagine dating.I love doing what I want, when I want, how I want. I was committed for 30 years as a wife, friend, lover and in the end hated it. I took an amazing amount of abuse in hindsight and regret that I did. I wasn’t a big dater before and it looks worse now. Being happy with myself for myself by myself is my relationship now.
I’m with ya. Together close to 25yrs, married for 15 of them. After horrendous feelings and emotions we got through it. It was amicable. She wanted it. She had always been rather independent.. 2 kids in their teens but I see them almost everyday, they stay with me, they stay with her. I talk or communicate with her many times a week. We go out for dinner with the kids together occasionally, celebrate Christmas etc… I had a bit of a fling after the divorce with an old gal friend, but no more and I want to be a single guy for a loooooong long time now. Happy as can be. If the right person comes along again someday, well into the future…then maybe. Until then I’ll enjoy life to the fullest. I’m financially stable, nice house, kids and healthy. Now, what should I have to eat tonight?,,,,ANYTHING I WANT! (but in moderation 😉
I had no interest in dating after my son’s dad and I parted ways….17 years later I feel no differently. Yeah it would be nice to maybe have a roomate after my son flies the coop, to help with bills and maybe fix stuff around the house, other than that I couldn’t care less.
TJ Spehar says
It’s so nice to see others feel the same as I do. So many people don’t understand the desire to just be single. I still feel the same as when I wrote that article almost a year ago. And so far, no one has come along that makes me feel any different!
Kristy J. W. says
It’s been little over a year since my divorce was final. During this time I had a bit of interest in dating but that diminished after a few months and I broke it off with the man I was seeing. I just wasn’t ready. Right now I have absolutely no interest in dating, sure I sometimes miss things couples do BUT I much prefer keeping my focus on my kids, improving myself and achieving my goals and dreams. If I am single for next year, 5 years or 10 years so be it, when I’m ready it’ll happen.
lesley Gurney says
So happy to read this . Unfortunately my friends don’t understand and I’m starting to feel as if there was something wrong with me x ty
TJ Spehar says
There’s nothing wrong with you! Believe me, I’ve felt that same way. I think if we’re meant to date, it’ll happen when it’s meant to. Not wanting to, doesn’t meant there’s something wrong with us, it means our focus and desires lie elsewhere and that’s perfectly okay! Take your time!! Don’t let anyone else’s opinion make you feel there’s something wrong with you! 🙂
I am a single mother of 2 boys and have been divorced for over 4 years now. I went on my first date since a bad fling right after the divorce and I was surprised at how uninterested I was. The guy was great and I would like to continue a friendship with him but it just confirmed my belief that I don’t need anything else in my life besides what I already have. I would much rather have gone out with some of my friends and spent the evening without the stress of a date.
Thank you so much for this article. I’m about 18 months out and TBH, someone has just shown an interest in me this past week for the first time and I was flattered, then immediately nauseous at the idea of entering into another relationship. Like someone about, mine was a 30 year relationship where I took a lot of crap, now I have my kids and myself and my dogs and life is good. No thanks.
TJ Spehar says
I’m so happy people are still coming to this article! It’s been 5+ years now since my divorce and I still am not remotely interested in dating. The thought of dating sends me into a whirl of emotions that lead me to feel almost sick to my stomach. I don’t want to go through the motions of starting another relationship and sending my current life into an upheaval as I try to fit someone else into what is already a comfortable life. No thank you! My kids are my focus and I’m still 100% happy with that! Part of me wonders if I’ll /ever/ feel like dating. Right now, I’m thinking I won’t.
Thank you for this article and for everyone’s comments. I am newly out of a 26 year relationship and feeling very raw. It was very good for me to read these posts! I was like yes! to every one of them because my mind instantly went to thinking about dating and I am realizing it is not the right answer for me at this point.
TJ Spehar says
You are not alone in this! I’m so tempted to start a place where those of us who feel this way, can talk and be supported by others who feel like we do about it! 🙂
N King says
So grateful for this article and all of the responses! I have been divorced for about a year. Dated a few people, one at a time, and things always seemed to get serious very fast. I felt smothered and like I was repeating codependent patterns. I am finally allowing myself to be truly single and am 3 months in. I love it! I said I’d meet up with someone tomorrow night because he seems great and he comes with recommendations. I feel sick to my stomach and just not wanting to date at all. I love my life. I had that feeling that something was wrong with not wanting to date and I found this article. Very grateful to know I’m not alone.
TJ Spehar says
You’re definitely not alone! I’m quite a few years out now and still not remotely interested in dating! I’m not sure I ever will, at this point.
A Gunter says
After almost 25 years of marriage and raising 3 almost grown sons, I got a divorce last year. I was excited about dating at first and that quickly turned into a suffocating feeling. My marriage had some rough spots and I can’t stand the thought of having someone try to control me or make me feel ashamed of myself for perfectly normal things (like wanting to go to the beach or sit and read a book). I am financially stable and can take care of myself. Honestly, I have moments where I wish I had someone to go camping with me, to hug on, or to reassure me things will be fine when I have a long day at work. But I am afraid that someone will take away my freedom to be myself. I am a little afraid of being completely alone when last two boys go off to college. One will be a senior and one will be a junior in high school next year. It’s hard not having married couples to hang out with anymore, since it is a little weird to be the third wheel. I am finding other divorcees, widows and unmarried singles to do things with, so that’s been good and kept me from being home alone. Thanks for all of your comments on here. It has been reassuring that I am not the only one not dating. I am not ready for it. It brings up too many emotions and makes me feel anxious.
OMG I could have written this myself. <3
TJ Spehar says
I think that’s definitely what many of us are feeling!
I was married 19 years and have now been separated 2years. We are going to start divorce process. He developed major health problems at the start. I was his caregiver. Never had children. Lost myself completely Unfortunately Covid hit the world when I was finally ready to start going out into the world. For me I have been in “quarantine” for two years. It has definitely set me back just to be social in general forget about dating. Even if, I wouldn’t be dating. No sense to I’m in my 50’s, to late for kids and was already a caregiver to someone so I don’t want that again in my senior years. I am lonely though. But I try to remind myself you were alone a lot while you were married. One day I hope like most of you I can say I am alone because I have a great single life with a lot to do.
TJ Spehar says
Hello Jud! I think no matter what brings us all to divorce, at some point we all feel the same and in that I hope we can all take some comfort. We’re not alone in what we’re feeling. I hope things have gotten better for you and I hope we’re all able to find our happiness, whether alone or with a partner. Divorce is the end of one thing, but can be the beginning of something wonderful. Hang in there!
Amanda Mozingo says
This is amazing to read!! Thank you to all who posted!!:)
I was with my husband for 16 years and we’ve been divorced nearly 4 years now. I didn’t date before meeting him in college, so when we parted ways, I knew I was ready for fun. (Greatly in part to cover the pain from my divorce but also fun!). So I went on a dating spree…no one “stuck” but then I realized, I didn’t want them to. I continued with online dating with no intention of anything remotely serious,and finally about a year ago, something clicked. I didn’t have to earn any guy’s approval. I finally liked coming home alone to my own home to do whatever I wanted to! It was like a flip of a switch! The reality is, I dont want a relationship…the drama, the energy, the time, the questions raised as to whether I even think “true love” exists anymore for me romantically…and that’s okay. I’m loved and fulfilled in more ways than I ever could have imagined post divorce. All of that said, it’s incredibly encouraging to know that so many of us have no desire to date, and we are not alone! Thank you!!
TJ Spehar says
Thank you so much, Amanda!! I have found a great peace in seeing so many who feel the same as I do! It’s reassuring to know we are most certainly not alone and that being okay with being single, is just that…it’s OKAY!!!
Marie Mathis says
I finally got divorced in July after spending a miserable 3-1/2 years fighting pancreatic cancer while my husband cheated and checked out emotionally while I fought. It’s the second time I left since diagnosis the first time for two months two years ago. I was afraid of dying alone. When the loneliness of being married to someone was heater than actually being alone, I left. I packed my car and moved from Florida Keys to San Antonio, Texas. I asked for no support and had no assets after all the medical bills. I live with basics. My car is ten years old, and I have a male friend in the city who has recently been hunting about dating. I love my time alone and cannot imagine having any kind of relationship other than friends for however much time I have. Finally, I am free.
TJ Spehar says
Wow Marie, you are a warrior and I pray you have many more years ahead of you! I completely understand how being with someone like that can feel lonelier than being alone. I’m grateful you have friends and loved ones around you now that you can spend time with. You are free and I am so proud of you. Keep fighting and know that you are not alone during any of your battles!
I came out of a ten year relationship ten months ago. I had very happy and very sad moments while I was with him. I loved him very much, though. But I totally lost myself in that relationship. I’ve had other relationships before and they all ended the same way. Somehow I do better when I’m by myself. It gets lonely at times. But I don’t see myself with anybody. Just the idea of it overwhelms me. It was great to come across this article and see there are other people on similar situations.
TJ Spehar says
I’m still at the point of feeling overwhelmed at the idea of being with someone. So I completely understand!!
I was married for 18 years, and I’m separated now. Divorce is imminent, as he has been living with someone else for over a year now. I was blindsided and hurt as lies were revealed. I know that all men are not the same and with me being in my mid 40s and kids about to graduate college, I should want to date or at least explore it, as others say. But, I have zero desire to date, let alone get married again. I still need to regain my independence, but what I’ve realized is, it was all about him and the kids for so many years. Right now, and as far as I can see, I need to focus on me, give myself the attention I deserve and learn to be happy again without relying on someone else to do that for me.
TJ Spehar says
Take your time and don’t let anyone make you feel like you /have/ to date or go out and play the field. I felt so much pressure and I knew that wasn’t what I wanted. Take your time and find yourself again! You’ve got this!
monica layne says
Left seven years ago this month and will have been divorced 6 years this May. I have had alot of recovery work to do and I was focused on my kids being okay. That was my life for 30 years-making sure everyone else was okay as I slowly lost myself and died inside. Now, I am not looking. If an amazing kind decent human being came along, I would enjoy the company and I think it would be nice to know what it feels like to have a man really truly love me and care about me. I have never had that. I am close to my grown sons. I am looking to possibly move out the country and become an expat. I am concerned about financial security as I left money on the table at the divorce because the abuse was not worth hanging in there for it. Had to do what was best for me and the kids to protect us. A sweet man would be welcome but i am not shopping.
TJ Spehar says
Hey Monica! Yes! That’s where I’m at too at this point! I’m not looking, but hey if someone great comes along and there’s a click, why not see what happens. First and foremost are my kids and they’ll always come before a new relationship.
It’s not just women who may not want to or are not ready to date after a divorce. I have gotten busy now w not just work and kids…. But caring for my aging parents. My focus has changed and the timing isn’t there. This is a great article that I am so glad you put together for others.
TJ Spehar says
Thank you! You’re absolutely right, Minnesota! This can definitely go for both men and women. Life in general, caring for kids, family and work all have an effect on a dating life. Whether you want to date or not, timing has a lot to do with it. I think we’re all going to know when the right time is because it’ll just happen.
My wife divorced me in February. We where together for six years & married for almost a year, before she left me. She’s currently engaged to be married again. Meanwhile I don’t think I want to be in a relationship & I know I will never get married again. I thought something was wrong with me, but reading these comments have given me confidence to remain single & focus on being a great father to my children.
TJ Spehar says
First, I’d like to say I’m sorry you had to go through that. But I am so glad you’ve been able to find some confidence here! That makes me so happy, to know that this article and those that have commented, can still help people through these difficult moments! Day by day is all we can do and you are definitely not alone in your feelings and focus! Hang in there and enjoy your time with your kids!
I divorced in September of 2021 and have no interest in dating. I like being alone & focusing on my kids/grandkids. I like being able to sleep without being touched & pestered for sex. I like not having to answer to anyone. I promised myself long ago that I will never make my kids have a stepfather & I meant it. I do not need some man coming into my home, running his mouth about how I parent, how I spend my time, how I spend my money, and making my kids feel uncomfortable.
No thank you. Single for life! ❤️
I got divorced in June of 2021 after 8 years of a tough marriage and I have ZERO interest in dating. I’m only just now starting to feel independent again 18 months later, and I have so much I want to do and accomplish. I just don’t see trying to fit someone else’s needs and wants into the equation any time soon. I spent years completely focused on someone else’s happiness, so I’m only now trying to figure out how to work on me and my own growth. Looking forward to getting more dogs, but the relationships will need to wait. Happy with my own company and own interests right now, and my really great girlfriends.