Dating After A Divorce
Dating is not always fun, especially if you are starting again after a divorce. Dating after a divorce is particularly difficult as for one, you are most likely older and haven’t dated in a while; for two, you likely have a lot of emotional baggage you are carrying with you from your marriage and how it ended. Getting back into the dating world can seem overwhelming, especially if your marriage was a long one.
Things change, and the dating world has definitely evolved over the years. What used to happen when two people met in person now takes place online over the internet. Internet dating seems to the way to meet people these days, and if you are having trouble meeting people the old-fashioned way, it might be time to give it a try.
When any long-term relationship ends, it is difficult.
When a marriage ends, it can be extremely stressful as there is the emotional strain, grief over the ended relationship, the strain on children, and the dividing of assets. While we’ve all heard the term ‘mutual breakup’, it doesn’t happen all that often that after a long-term relationship, both people are mutually happy to part ways. When it does, it is the best thing for everyone, but when a marriage ends, it is most often the cause of one person giving up before the other, and that can result in a lot of hurt feelings.
Emotional baggage refers to the challenges and experiences learned from an earlier relationship that trickles down into subsequent ones. After a divorce, it is difficult to date someone new.
Chances are, you had been with your spouse for a long period of time. You learned the ins and outs of communication, how you fought, how you made up, and that was that. When you are exploring another person, they may have completely different habits, especially regarding communication. It can be difficult to separate the one person from the other. For example, if in your marriage, conflict meant nothing but hurt feelings with little resolution, you likely got used to shutting down emotionally, rather than hashing it out and moving on.
This is a challenge in a new relationship, as one person shuts down as that is what they have always done, and the other wants and needs to communicate and work things through. Adjusting to the new person you are dating and how they communicate and handle conflict is key to success in dating after a divorce.
Re-Gaining a Sense of Self
Another challenge with dating after a divorce is that, often, partners lose themselves in their unhealthy marriage. They may have tried to be something or someone they are not in order to please their partner, or they may have just buried their former self in the misery and sadness of an unfulfilling marriage.
Either way, losing oneself is an unfortunate consequence of divorce, and finding oneself again can be a journey that takes time.
When it comes to trying to cultivate a true sense of self after a divorce, it really boils down to looking at who you’ve always been, before you were married and throughout. If you had hobbies that seemed to fall by the wayside during your marriage, especially in a busy family with children, now is the time to explore them and help them lead you back to your true self. If you lost touch with friends during your marriage, that is another fantastic way to build yourself up. Remind yourself that a marriage is not the only fulfilling relationship out there; relationships and connections with people of all kinds can help fill the void of an ended marriage and help you move forward in a positive way.
Making time for yourself and the things you love is the ultimate form of self-care.
This can be a huge challenge if you have come out of a marriage and are now a single parent, but children benefit the most from seeing you happy, so taking that time for yourself, no matter how rarely is something that should not be neglected or undervalued.
Making Physical Changes
This may seem like a simplistic one, but sometimes making some physical changes after a divorce can help you feel like you are entering a new phase of life, rather than focusing on the end of another. Healthy changes can make you feel more confident, and looking and feeling your best, of course, is attractive, so if you are interested in getting back into the dating world, change can be a good thing.
Start with exercising. Not only will it be great for your overall health, but those positive endorphins are also powerful allies against the depression and anxiety that often accompanies a divorce. Exercising for as little as 20 minutes a day has proven benefits to mood, weight, blood pressure, and overall feelings of well-being.
The more you start to see these results, the more you will likely exercise. This is a positive cycle to get into, and when you are rejoining the dating world, looking and feeling your best can only help you connect with people.
Other positive physical changes might be making a change to your wardrobe or a change in hairstyle. If there is something you’ve always wanted to do physically but didn’t, now is the time. Get that haircut you always envy others.
Buy some new clothes to give you some much-deserved confidence, get that tattoo or piercing you’ve always wanted. Feeling good about yourself can sometimes come with taking the initiative to make a change that tells yourself and the world that you are more than worth the effort.
When it comes to dating after a divorce in the digital age, you will likely get pressured to try online dating.
Check into the sites you are considering as some are little more than random hook-up sites. If that is what you are looking for, enjoy, but do it safely. If you are more interested in a healthy long-term relationship, make sure any sites you are on are for people looking for the same thing.
When it comes to dating after a divorce, it will be a process for many. Shedding emotional baggage, exploring who you are, and making some positive physical changes can really help get you on the right path to finding a new and healthy relationship.
The key is to try and look ahead instead of behind; this is especially difficult if you did not want your marriage to end, but in time, you might see that if the other person didn’t want you, then it wasn’t right, to begin with.