Dating post-divorce – The Dos and Don’ts
Dr Isabelle Hung on how to enjoy dating post break-up
- Remind yourself before every date that you are worthy of love and respect.
- Take the pressure off yourself. This is not a high-stakes game – it is just a date!
- Make sure you are clear on what you want from a partner.
- Think about whether your date is right for you – will they be the sort of partner you need?
- Enjoy yourself. If it’s not fun, don’t do it.
- Stay safe. Know who you are meeting. Make sure you tell a friend and use condoms no matter how old/young you are.
- Set the pace. Go at a pace you are comfortable with.
- Decide what you want out of the date/this period of dating and/or sex. Make sure the reality reflects what you want.
- KEEP remembering that you are worthy of love and respect. Constantly remind yourself of this mantra and, if someone rejects you, remember not to take it personally. You may not be suitable for each other. They are unlikely to be the person to help you reach your goals.
- Keep your standards high – You have drawn up the list of what is acceptable to you and what you are looking for from a partner. Do not compromise on this.
- Don’t ignore/justify red flags. Be strict with yourself and end the relationship if you have genuine concerns about your date, whether it be their behaviour or their values or something else that makes you feel genuinely uncomfortable.
- Don’t rely on your new partner/date to comfort you over your break-up through talking, affection or sex. You should like each other for reasons other than your ability to comfort each other, and you need to be able to recover alone, without help from your new partner.
- Don’t rush into anything. Make sure you and your children are ready (If you have them) before formalising your relationship or making a big decision like moving in together or getting married again.
- Don’t catastrophise. If a date goes badly it does not follow that you will be alone for the rest of your life. Learn from the date and you may even be able to laugh about it eventually.
- Don’t prioritise dating over friends/other goals. This period is about prioritising yourself and your needs, so make sure you leave time for your other goals and self-care. Putting yourself first and doing what you want to do feels great!
ALSO CONSIDER THIS:
Dating and sex are only one (or two) part(s) of the re-building process. Re-building your relationships with friends is just as important and will give you a more solid base for a romantic relationship when you feel ready.
When you start dating, try and keep it in perspective. You are unlikely to meet new your partner on the first date. Enjoy the ride and at least you will gain some great stories to share with your friends.
Funny stories about dating post-divorce? Happy, sad or mixed feelings about post break-up dating? Let us know – and ask any questions on our forum.
For more divorce advice go here.
Lucy Davis is a co-founder of divorceclub.com and a TV Producer. She divorced 7 years ago. She is a passionate advocate for exploring the potential for change and creativity that can result from the trauma of divorce.