The Dos and Don’ts of Post Divorce Dating

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It’s no secret that dating after divorce can be tough.  Conventional wisdom also dictates that this is not something that should be rushed into.  Yet when the time is right, and diving back into the dating pool seems appealing, then you should go at it with gusto.  Here is a comprehensive list of what to do and what not to do in the post divorce dating milieu.

Do:

Be honest – with your date and yourself.  For instance, if you have kids, make sure your date is aware of this beforehand.  The last thing you want is to be at the inception of a dinner with someone who casually remarks “I definitely don’t see myself ever having kids.” …when you have three at home with a babysitter.

Don’t:

Talk about your ex.  This seems fairly obvious, but it’s a trap that is all too easy to fall into.  While you may think that your date wants to hear about all aspects of your life, and that it will be “cathartic” to talk about it, it actually makes them feel that you can’t let go of the past.  Frankly, that is precisely what it is: your past.

Do:

Try something new.  Frequenting the same type of places (or, the actual places) that you and your ex favored is not healthy.  Try a new type of food, a new activity – anything that will have you living in the present moment, experiencing shared newness with your date.Diamond-Lighthouse-broker-happy-couple

Dont:

Hang out with your still married friends.  Not saying to ditch them forever, but a little break is good while you hit the dating scene.  Married people’s exploits will only remind you of your past relationship.  Your single friends (who have a positive outlook) are the best to discuss your dating life with as they are in the same boat.

Do:

A little research into your past and identify any dating/relationship patterns that have been detrimental.  Taking an objective look at how you have treated/been treated by your ex-spouse can infinitely help your future endeavors in love.

Don’t:

Start dating just because you caught wind that your ex is.  There needs to be a sufficient amount of healing time before you jump in; trying to compete with a speed dating ex can set you back by leaps and bounds.  In fact, the less you concern yourself with your ex’s current life the better.

Do:

Update your wardrobe.  If there has ever been an excuse to go shopping, here it is.  Even your nice “date clothes” from the past may have affiliations that the newly single you needs to shed.  This is a time to start fresh, from the inside and out.

Don’t:

Put dating as a priority over everything else in your life.  Yes, it’s important to get out there, but your friends and family are the ones who are going to get you through the roughest times.  Attaching too much significance to a new person early on is a surefire way to either end up getting hurt or inflicting pain on them.

Do:

Enjoy your “me time.”  Yes, dating is a healthy way to get back into the world of all things social, but don’t be afraid to spend some alone time and relish your own company.  Set aside at least one night a week to engage in one of your favorite solo activities.

Don’t:

Put on a front.  If a potential new beau suggests that the two of you should get in some practice at the local firing range, and you are staunchly opposed to guns, please don’t just go along with it.  In the end, all your preferences will eventually come out, and you’ll just come off as disingenuous.  No one likes dishonesty, in any form.

Do:

Date as many new people as you can.  This is not to say that you should hop into bed with them, but just get to know them.  Often people get into a relationship with the first person they meet post break-up; just happy to be with anyone at all (ie: “rebounding”).  Don’t sell yourself short.  The right person is out there for you.Diamond-Lighthouse-broker-happy-couple-biking-path

Don’t:

Introduce your kids to your dates.  This not only goes for the obvious first dates, but even someone you are seeing fairly regularly.  Your kids may be very well balanced and seem okay with your divorce, but seeing their parent with someone new will always be somewhat unsettling.  Once you are in an actual committed relationship with this person, then you can eventually arrange a casual introduction.

Do:

Plan initial dates that focus more on activity/experience rather than just having dinner.  This allows for the two of you to get to know each other, without all of the focus being completely on the other person.  A carnival, aquarium, rodeo – literally anything where the two of you can simultaneously chat and enjoy the surroundings too.  This leads to far less potentially awkward moments of silence that can plague first dates.

Don’t:

Be afraid to go for it.  After divorce, for some people, confidence can be at a real low.  Fighting through that and seeking out what you want is essential.  If you see someone you’re attracted to, then ask them out!  You could be very pleasantly surprised with the result.Diamond-Lighthouse-broker-happy-couple-selfie

Don’t:

Date a mutual friend of you and your ex’s.  A part of you may want your ex to know about how well you are doing and how quickly you are moving on, but focusing on this actually has the opposite affect on you.  Dating someone you both know is just an extension of this.  Just focus on yourself and your future!

Do:

Ditch your old rings.  It may be hard to let go sometimes, but showing up on a date wearing your engagement/wedding rings is a huge no-no.  Even just keeping them locked up in a box at home isn’t doing anyone any good.  Instead, put those rings to good use for your future.  Learn more.Diamond-Lighthouse-broker-lady-engagement-ring

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-Joe Leone

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