Interested in dating after divorce? If so, you may be unsure of the best strategy for how to start dating again. You probably have a wide range of emotions to work through too. You may be:
- Excited by new opportunities
- Fearful of failure
- Feeling hurt from your previous relationship
- Struggling with trust
- Tired of feeling lonely
- And much more
How can you tip the odds in your favor so you have a positive divorced dating experience? Here are a few thoughts on that.
How Long Should You Wait?
This is one of the top-asked questions of divorced individuals interested in dating advice or dating tips. Although finding love again after a marriage ends is possible, dating too soon after divorce or rushing into marriage after divorce likely won’t get you there.
For those wondering when to start dating after divorce, some are disappointed to hear there’s no set amount of time one can point to. It’s a highly personal decision that should only be considered once you’ve reached significant healing through your divorce recovery process.
Many divorcees get too hung up on the ‘time question’. Instead, ask yourself, “Am I healed enough yet?”
For some, that could be a matter of months. For others, it could take years after a divorce to be ready to date again.
Avoid Dating to Dull the Pain of Your Divorce
Healing from divorce has to happen from within you. Do you find yourself tempted to date chiefly with the goal of dulling the emotional pain of your previous hurtful marriage? That’s a likely indicator that it’s not quite time yet.
Entering another relationship is a bad way to self-medicate because of your previous relationship hurts. First, it’s an attempt to feel better without properly dealing with the complex losses of divorce. Secondly, expecting your date to ‘make your pain go away’ is unrealistic, unfair and will put them in an uncomfortable situation.
Once you desire to date to enrich your life (and the life of your potential partner) without self-medicating it, it’ll be time to date again.
Be Cautious About Infatuation
It’s quite understandable that you want to find love after divorce. Dating relationships after divorce can help to remind you that life goes on even after something so painful as a marriage ending.
At the same time, be careful not to obsess over the idea of falling in love after divorce. Although we all love the drug-like surges of feel-good chemicals resulting from infatuation, these feelings can sometimes mislead us in a big way.
Just because the sparks fly with a date today doesn’t mean he or she will be good for you in the long run. The date you are so enamored with now also may not be best for your children.
For that reason, cautiously dip your toes into the strong emotional feelings that can come with dating. Balance out thinking with your heart and your intellect.
Don’t Revenge Date
Do you feel badly hurt by your previous spouse? This could be due to infidelity or a number of other highly painful factors?
It could be that your ex-spouse is already involved in a new relationship, leaving you feeling betrayed, scorned and falling behind in your love life.
As tempting as it can be to jump into a relationship to try and hurt your ex, entering a new relationship out of revenge is an all-around bad idea.
Not only will you get into a relationship for the wrong reasons, but you’ll wind up using your new date simply to get back at your ex-spouse.
Nothing good can come from such attempts. In fact, the desire to do so shows that you’re still going through the healing process.
In her “Psychology Today” article entitled Revenge Not Taken is Sweeter Yet, Diana Kirschner Ph.D. shares the following about the self-destructive tendencies of seeking revenge on an ex-spouse or partner:
“Why does revenge backfire? Because focusing over and over again on your ex, obsessing about your wounds or revenge only leads to more obsessing and more raging.”
The irony of seeking revenge is it ultimately hurts the revenge seeker more than the intended target. For that reason, focus on becoming a better person instead.
Dating After Divorce: Counseling Can Help with Post-Divorce Dating
Are you considering dating again after divorce? Even though you may have some apprehensions, life after divorce can involve a thriving love life despite your past hurts.
Divorce support through counseling can help you to avoid potential dating red flags, skillfully handle dating after divorce with kids and to better navigate concerns over divorce and remarriage.
The OC Relationship Center is here for you whether you’re looking for individual counseling, relationship counseling or marriage counseling. We offer therapy in Newport Beach, California and therapy in Mission Viejo, California. Feel free to schedule a confidential appointment with us at your convenience.