How to Start Dating After Divorce
Dating after divorce can bring unique challenges to a new relationship. Here are some tips for both men and women reentering the dating scene after separation.
Transitioning back into the dating world after a divorce can be tricky. There is no right or wrong way to go about it, however, being in a good place emotionally is key. The one thing that psychologists and family counselors all seem to agree on is that there are several emotional issues you should first address before diving back into the dating pool.
Take time to grieve
It's important to mourn the loss of your previous relationship. If you’re still heartbroken over the loss of your marriage or obsessing over who your ex is dating and what they’re doing, you may be too distracted to start a healthy relationship. Certified couples’ therapist, Alicia Munoz, says it’s important to, quote, “Take time to have a wide range of emotions, and be ready to handle your emotions when they arise unexpectedly with a new partner.”
If you’re still feeling intense anger or betrayal towards your ex, it’s important to make sure those feelings aren’t the reason you’re starting to date again. Munoz recommends asking yourself the following questions to make sure you’re ready to start seeing someone:
- Do I understand the underlying dynamics that led to the problems in my marriage and how I contributed to them?
- Can I talk about these issues and dynamics objectively, seeing both my own and my ex’s perspective?
- Can I talk about my divorce without a high degree of emotional reactivity but also without denying, dissociating, minimizing, blaming, etc.?
You need to love yourself
There are a lot of bad feelings that can come with a divorce or separation, including anger, fear, guilt, or disgust. Many people direct these feelings at themselves, severely damaging their self-esteem in the process. It's important to overcome negative self-thoughts before you start dating again.
Prioritizing your own needs and growth is crucial to starting a new relationship. If you are struggling with unhealthy feelings, cravings, or habits in the wake of your divorce, consider seeing a therapist. Working out any negative emotions before jumping into something new is beneficial to both you and your new significant other.
Be prepared for some setbacks
Being patient with yourself as you make this transition is key. Taking the proper time to heal after divorce is necessary and encountering setbacks along the way is normal. It's important to be clear on what your standards are, trust your gut, and disclose your needs, fears, and boundaries.
You may also encounter setbacks within the dating world itself, such as disappointment or rejection. Making sure you’re in a healthy and stable emotional state before you start dating will help you deal with the fallout from these roadblocks more easily.
You are not alone if you're considering dating again after divorce. There are thousands of people in the same boat as you, and countless resources to help you navigate the roller-coaster of emotions that come with starting a new relationship.