Dating After Divorce-the Lessons

I know some folks wonder how I got back out there and started dating after my divorce. I know of some women who are divorcees who still are kind of leery of dating again but I must say how I got out there is I put one foot in front of the other. I’m a bit of risk-taker but never stupid risk just calculated ones. And after my divorce I decided I didn’t want my ex-marriage to dictate how I felt about taking another chance with dating and falling in love. I didn’t want my ex-marriage or my ex-husband to hold that kind of power over me so I decided I was going to do what I needed to be done with my ex-marriage and to heal and learn from my experience so I could open myself to possible love again. I believe in love and I think it’s a wonderful thing especially in an intimate relationship. We are designed to spend our lives in the love and companionship with one another so although my first marriage had gone badly, I learned a lot about myself, what I wanted and love.

I’m going to list some of the things that think divorcees need to contemplate, before and when they start dating again. With this list I will also include some posts I’ve done on the subject that may be helpful. I hope you find it useful, if not pass it on to someone it may help. My advice is never for everyone but it’s for someone.

  • Take stock-most people when they leave a relationship especially after a divorce are totally down on their ex-spouse without ever looking at their part in the break up of the marriage. We all have a part in a relationship working well and working badly so you just can’t pretend your hands are clean. Even if you were in an abusive relationship, you have to take ownership that you let that go on and didn’t stop it and why you did that. It’s time for some introspection to ask the hard questions. Why you picked that person? What patterns you may have from previous relationships?  In my post Sometimes…It’s You it talks about doing some introspection to see your part in your issues.
  • Seek therapy if Needed-I also want to let any woman who has some issues from her previous marriage that she’s having a hard time resolving to get some therapy. Therapy does not mean you’re crazy, it means you may be having problems working through some issues and need someone to give you some tools, help and guidance. I don’t care who you get the therapy from but there is nothing to be ashamed of in seeking therapy. Anger and hurt about the loss of your marriage is normal but don’t let those things fester too long and turn into bitterness which is not good for you. In my blog post Sometimes…People Need Therapy and Sometimes…You Need to Just Move On, I speak of the benefits of therapy and learning to move on from a relationship. It’s not always easy to do but it can be done, I’m proof of that. Also you need to resolve these things because the next man to come into your life does not deserve to pay for what some other person did.
  • Get Out There and Date-Once you decide you may be ready to get back up on that horse again and that may take some time, but take as long as you need. But once you’ve moved beyond some things and issues it’s time to get back out there and date. Now some of this advice is for black women who are looking to date inter-racially but I think any woman could use it. Having been off the market so long when I started to date again, I was totally out of my element. Dating had changed, a lot, since I’d been off the market. I had to learn the new way to date, now the rules were still the same but the dating styles and how you met people was a little different. I recommend doing both online and in real-life meetings. It won’t hurt and it will put you out there in every possible fashion. Online dating is a different world but it’s not impossible to handle. My blog post called Online Dating-It’s a Jungle in There gives a little advice on how to get the best out of online dating.
  • Don’t Fear Rejection-But once you start dating, something else will occur that may throw you for a loop, rejection. Listen rejection is part of life, sometimes we’re rejected and sometimes we’re the rejector. But you can’t just reject people and not expect to be rejected. Sometimes…Rejection is a Good Thing is a blog I wrote to address a lot of what I heard on the web about people not doing online dating because they felt so rejected and in both the above posts I talk about rejection in real life and in online dating world.  It’s not a bad thing and not really reflection of you, but we all have something we want and we can’t be everything to everybody. I rejected a lot of people and a lot of people rejected me, I didn’t die from it. But it’s part of dating.
  • Know What You’re Looking For-But you know what can make things easier for you when you online date or date period is knowing what you want. In my blog post Sometimes…Well All the Time, You Have to Know What You Want I talk about women knowing what they want so they can seek it when they date. I suggest no one go into dating without knowing what they want out of the relationship and what they need from the other person. Now this is not something you bring up immediately but there’s a way to ask questions and get the answers you need so neither he nor you waste your precious time. Usually divorced women are a little older and unlike young women, I feel we don’t have much time to waste diddling with folks who aren’t meeting our needs. Please read Sometimes…You Need to Listen to What is Said and Not Said, it’s a good blog on active listening when it comes to dating. I think many women miss a lot of ‘red flags’ regarding men by not listening to what they say or don’t say.
  • I have two great articles on how sometimes being suspicious can be a good thing but I also believe in taking a bit of calculated risk taking to get what you want. Those two things can exist together. What’s So Wrong With Risk Aversion may speak to some women who are terrified with taking the risk with their feelings and hearts in another love affair but I say if you avoid all risk, you avoid the chance of finding love too. I didn’t want to not be loved or have the chance to be loved by a wonderful man again. But you don’t need to go in with blinders out, suspicion can serve you well until that wonderful man proves himself or that not so wonderful one fucks up, You Better Be Suspicious discusses how suspicious serves human beings well especially women dating. We want to put ourselves out there again for a chance at love but there’s no need to be stupid about it.
I don’t regularly discuss sex and what people need to do about it, that’s up to you and your partner. I will say get tested and be open and communicate regarding sex. That is always the best way to get your needs met whether you are celibate or decide to be sexually active in a monogamous long term relationship. If you meet someone who has your heart all a-twitter and decide to make the big jump back into marriage, one of my favorite and most read blogs is Marriage is Good for Practical Reasons Too. I hope some of these life lessons I’ve learned will help you as you try to get back out and there and seek love again after a divorce. My story is not an anomaly divorced people find love again everyday and maintain happy marriages with a new spouse.

2 thoughts on “Dating After Divorce-the Lessons

  1. Nice guide. If I ever get divorced (hopefully not!), I’ll refer to this. I 100 percent agree that divorcees need to stop and contemplate before jumping back into dating.

    • You don’t want to go through a divorce, it’s not fun. I was really careful and did a lot of introspection before dating again I had to, when I felt as if I wanted to marry Matt I didn’t want it to end in divorce, I didn’t want to make that an option. So I had to do some work on me. I don’t think enough do some introspection after a break up, we always just immediately go to blaming the other person and never figure out our part in it. It was not easy but I’m glad I did it. We also had pre-marriage counseling I recommend that to anyone getting married. It is very helpful.

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