Are you ready to start dating again?

As a divorcee how do you know when you are ready to start dating again? It’s a difficult decision with a lot of pitfalls. In this blog, the author explains what she learnt when she started dating again after her divorce.

Why is it so hard to know when you are ready to start dating again?

I was with my ex for over 12 years and I really wasn’t sure when I would be ready to start dating again. It is so difficult, even when you feel that you have dealt with your divorce, not to fall down the odd rabbit hole of unhelpful emotions.  For me, getting back into dating was a virtual rabbit warren of emotional peril!

I didn’t help myself by launching into the dating scene way too early.  The old maxim that hurt people hurt people is very true.  If your friends are saying things like “wow you are dating again so soon” that should set off alarm bells. (I ignored them).

It seemed so logical to me I was lonely, I’d lost my man so “replacing” him would fix everything right???  WRONG!  This will sound counter-intuitive but if you feel lonely you’re probably not ready to date.  Dating from a place of low confidence, confusion and loneliness is an ordeal.  Dating should be about fun and getting to know people not a tourniquet to stem the flow of heartbreak.

I’m ready to start dating again

Now I feel I am in the right place to date… I am that rarest of things – a happy single.  I feel good about my life, it is full and balanced.  It would be wonderful to share that with someone but it is a desire, not a need. I am no longer looking for someone to “fix” me. I’ve done the hard work on myself and now I know what makes me happy and who I am.

What I learnt when I started dating again

It has to be said, although I feel ready dating is a tricky business.  Here are a few things I have learnt along the way…

  1. Rejection is not personal – attraction is a funny thing just because you aren’t someone’s cup of tea doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you.
  2. If you go on a date make sure it is the REAL you that goes rather than some cobbled-together faux personality that you think hides your foibles.
  3. Have boundaries – ditching your values to be with someone will never lead to happiness in the long run.
  4. Murder your inner Bridgette Jones  – idealised daydreaming about a potential new man (or woman) and the fabulous life you could have together is incredibly unhelpful.  It will distract you from finding out what your date is really like.  It also creates a “potential future” which you will grieve if it doesn’t work out.  It’s a first date not a wedding proposal it’s there to help you find out more about each other and that takes a little bit of time.

So if you feel that you are ready to start dating again –  get out there and enjoy it if you’re not – there’s no shame in that – it is far wiser to take your time and get happy before getting out there.

What next?

If you feel you haven’t resolved the issues from your relationship breakdown register for our eight-session course which can be done online or face to face. Visit ‘Find a course‘ for more details.

Other blogs you might find interesting:

Should I forgive my ex?

Dating disasters of the recently divorced