The thought of dating again can feel daunting if you’re in the divorced dating pool. Am I too old? Is it too late? Is it possible to find love a second time around? These are some of the most common questions and answers for dating after divorce.
Breakups are painful and putting yourself out there isn’t easy. And divorced singles have a different set of challenges. Oftentimes, they have the added stress of parenting. This comes with many responsibilities and time commitments. When you factor in the courage it takes to date, it explains why many divorced singles have a tough time moving on.
Gender can impact the reason for why people have a hard time dating again. Research shows women are more likely to blame their ex for the breakup. Men are more likely to blame themselves.
So, to all the divorced men reading this, it’s time to stop beating yourself up. Let go of your past mistakes and believe that you can find love again. Because you can.
If you’re ready to get back in the game, here are a few divorce tips for men:
1. Do the inner work
The first step is to look within. Many people think they’re okay when they are actually far from it.
There is no set amount of time you should wait when it comes to dating after divorce. So, rather than think about time, think about your mental and emotional state. Are you still attached to your ex? Do you still reminisce and romanticize the past, hoping things were different? If so, then you still have more healing to do.
To move on, you need to understand what went wrong in your previous relationship. Have you accepted it’s over? What role did you play in the split? Do you understand what went wrong? What lessons did you learn from that relationship?
Until you can answer these questions, you should press pause. Dating from a place of sadness or frustration doesn’t lead to healthy or smart choices.
2. Get clear on your dating goals
What type of connection are you looking for? To avoid repeating past mistakes, it’s important to outline your goals. This is one of my most helpful divorce tips for men.
To start, make a list with three columns: “must haves,” “must-not-haves” and “negotiables.” In the “must have” column, write down values you won’t compromise on. In the “must not have” column, write down values the other person can’t have, aka deal breakers. In “negotiables” write down what you are willing to compromise on.
Think back to your previous relationships and why they didn’t work. For example, let’s say your ex-wife cheated. You can write “honesty,” “integrity” and “loyalty” in your “must haves” column. If you felt taken advantage of in some way, you can put “selfish” in the “must not have” column. An example of a negotiable is communication style. If your partner needs space after a fight, you can compromise and meet them halfway.
Despite your best efforts, you will continue to self-sabotage if you don’t change your way of thinking. You have to believe on a deep level why certain qualities will never work for you. You have to become aware of what your emotional needs are, what makes you feel safe and what makes you feel loved.
Once we get clear on our goals, we can choose partners that we will be happy with in the long run. It will prevent choosing connections based on chemistry rather than compatibility. It can be difficult to make smart decisions if good sex is clouding your judgement. It’s one of the most common traps I see clients fall into.
Dating After Divorce-What Makes You Happy
3. Do what makes you happy
In other words, you can look for love through hobbies. If you’re a parent it’s normal to put most of your time and energy into your family. But, in the process, many people don’t make time for themselves and what they enjoy.
Having hobbies is important for two reasons. First, it makes you more well-rounded. Second, starting off with a common interest is the perfect icebreaker.
For example, if you’re into running or biking, you can join a running or biking club. That type of activity will attract both sexes. You may have a more difficult time if you tried joining a fishing or golfing group.
New groups will increase the chances of meeting new people and experiences. Worried about dating during the pandemic? Meetup has a long list of virtual events you can choose from based on your hobbies and interests.
4. Keep an open-mind
Your perfect match may come in an unexpected package. So, don’t discount someone based on physical characteristics. If this person is compatible with you in the areas where it counts, keep an open-mind. Be willing to explore people who are different from your usual expectations.
Of course, attraction is important and that needs to be there for a relationship to work. Don’t feel fireworks in the first 10 seconds? don’t panic. If this person isn’t your “type” it doesn’t mean you two won’t work in the long-term.
Part of being open-minded is to trust the timing of life. When life doesn’t go according to plan, stay optimistic. Rather than going to the worst case scenario, reframe your perspective. What if something better is on its way, and this is a blessing in disguise?
5. Understand that rejection is part of the dating process
If you’re dating after divorce, you will experience some challenges along the way.
Many people are afraid of putting themselves out there for the fear of rejection. This is completely normal, but it’s also holding you back.
Want to know the secret to becoming rejection-proof? Let go of the false belief that you aren’t good enough.
As long as you believe this, you will continue to fear rejection and self-sabotage. When you’re scared of rejection you put your guard up. This prevents anyone from getting to know who you are. How do you expect to connect to anyone if you don’t open up? How do you expect to develop a meaningful relationship if you don’t make yourself vulnerable?
Think about it this way: if you date from a place of fearing rejection, you’re dating with your ego. This blinds you to what matters in a potential match. It prevents you from having a fulfilling relationship.
To overcome your fear of rejection, ask yourself what’s worse: rejection or regret? What are you more afraid of? Do you want to look back in ten years and say “I should have” and “if only I had…?”
Dating After Divorce- Make Time
6. Make time for your love life
A common exuse from divorced men is “I can’t find the time!” If finding love again is important to you, then you will have to make time. Look at your schedule and pencil it in as you would a business meeting.
For example, if you’re online dating make it part of your morning routine to sign into your dating app. Even if it’s browsing for 20 minutes each day as you drink your coffee, you’re being productive.
Take note of your emotions. If you’re feeling burnt out, it’s okay. Take a break. Online dating can be frustrating, especially if this is your first time. You’re navigating new territory. It’s important to be patient with yourself during the dating process. You’ve got this!
If you want a more in-depth, customized search, you may benefit more from a matchmaking service. My selection process is very thorough to ensure you find the right match.
7. Be in the present
Being in the present is the only way to be happy in dating and in life.
While the past is a learning tool, it’s important to keep the past in the past. This is one of the most important divorce tips for men. Once you’ve learned what you need to learn, focus on the here and now. It’s the only way to connect with another person in a deep and meaningful way.
This means releasing your attachment to your ex-wife. If you have children, it’s important to communicate and be civil for their sake, but make sure to set boundaries. Hide them on social media so you aren’t triggered. Stalking your ex will do more harm than good. When you enter into your next relationship, you want to be available. Remember, open heart and open mind!
To be more present, the first step is to stop worrying. Accept that you can’t control the future. Don’t stress if you don’t have it all figured out yet. If you’re unsure about a person, keep dating. You’re still learning about each other!
This also requires listening and getting curious about the other person. What are her adorable quirks? What makes her tick? What is she passionate about?
Last but not least, be willing to make yourself vulnerable. Vulnerability is the only way to find love. You may feel uncomfortable, but that’s because getting close to another person can be scary. Old trauma from the past may resurface, but you can push through it. And you will be so glad you did.
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