“Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.” ~ Lily Tomlin
“You cannot start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” ~ Michael McMillan
“When your heart is broken you plant seeds in the cracks and wait for rain.” ~ Andrea Gibson
Dating after divorce can be daunting for the mid-life woman. Just the thought of having to go through that again is enough to give one pause. You are back to fussing over what to wear, where to go, and who pays. Navigating this minefield again means making sure you have the right expectations and attitudes.
Here are some tips to help you be successful in your quest for love.
Make Sure You’re Ready
Having the right mindset is crucial. Divorce is an emotional roller coaster so make sure you take some time to re-center yourself before you head out into the social scene. It doesn’t matter if it’s one year or five years after your divorce because time is not the consideration – your mental state is the crucial factor.
You are not ready if the thought of dating again makes you cringe. Now, you don’t have to be over the moon with the idea of dating again, you just shouldn’t want to run screaming from the room when the topic comes up. There is a distinction between mentally ready to start another relationship and mentally ready to face the dating scene. Make sure you are sure about the first one before taking on the second. And sometimes you need to test the waters. Go out once or twice. If you’re not ready you’ll know and you can pull back, regroup, and try again later. You’re not making a commitment, you’re just having a cup of coffee or a meal so don’t make it bigger than it has to be.
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
Once you think you are mentally ready, know that you will have to face those old high school jitters all over again. Only this time the jitters aren’t just about what to wear and how you look. You might have fallout from the betrayal and upheaval you’ve recently experienced to contend with. This time around there will be extra layers of trepidation when facing the dating scene, but know you can take it slow and not rush into anything serious until you fell 100% ready. Start small; let your friends know you are ready to date and accept invitations to events and parties.
You are Worthy of Love
Stop those self-sabotaging thoughts that there is something wrong with you. Women after divorce sometimes feel that they are “damaged goods” and that no one would possibly want to date them. Not true.
Whatever happened in your marriage took two people to create. Assess your part, take responsibility for it, hold your head up high, and get back out there. When you are feeling anxious think about all the people you know who have found love the second time around. If Meghan Markle can do it then you can too!!
Set Your Intention
Dating isn’t your intention – at least not completely. It will be helpful if you are clear on what you want right now. Are you looking for something light and fun or a life partner? Get clear on what you are looking for so you can decide how you want to approach this adventure.
I know, I can hear your groan from here, but all the cool kids are doing it. Actually, it has become very mainstream to use the internet to widen your dating pool. Try it at least. Your odds are better than those of a chance meeting at a coffeehouse.
However, that’s not your only option. Remember to let the people in your life know you are available to date and get involved in activities you enjoy. That way you will increase your opportunities to meet your next partner.
Know It’s a Numbers Game
Look, some people will disappear, fall off the face of the earth, or all of a sudden go from hot to cold. That’s just how it is. Don’t take it personally. You never know what’s going on in someone else’s life. Trust if someone does drop out of your orbit then they weren’t right for you. That will make it much easier to move on and not obsess over the why’s and what happened. Just shake it off and let it go.
Don’t Hide Behind Your Kids
If you have kids it’s really easy to hide behind them, using them as an excuse to not jump into the dating pool. I don’t advocate bringing home anyone who isn’t a serious prospect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go out and enjoy the company of other adults. Divorce is hard on kids too, but they want you to be happy so be upfront with them that you are going to start dating again and that you appreciate their support.
So, what are you waiting for? Don’t wait for everything to be perfect or you’ll never leave your house. Get back out there and enjoy yourself. If it isn’t right for you right now you can pull back and give it more time. You will feel uncomfortable and scared and excited and nervous. It’s all part of the adventure. You deserve to love again so open yourself up to allowing someone new to give you that gift.