Expert tips on how to get back in the dating game and meet someone new.
First, since you're reading this: Congratulations! You're ready to put yourself back on the market. And after divorce, that's no easy feat. You might think you're not worthy of love, or that you have too much baggage to find another mate. Or maybe it's been decades since you've gone on a first date, or you're intimidated by going online to meet someone new. Whatever you're feeling, take heart—if you've healed emotionally, putting yourself "out there" and looking for love (or just enjoying new company) could be one of the best things you can do. We spoke with divorce coach and author of The Smart Divorce, Deborah Moskovich, to get her top tips on dating after divorce.
Heal yourself emotionally before you jump back into the dating pool. "People often feel bruised and battered from the breakup of the relationship. If you understand why the relationship didn't work, you can move on in a healthy way so you don't make the same mistakes," says Moskovich. "Make sure you grieve that relationship because there's nothing worse than dating and talking about the loss of your former relationship." Potential partners want to know that you're truly ready to move on and not looking back with regret.
Give yourself permission to date again. "Get comfortable with the dating scene and challenge yourself to new relationships," Moskovich says. "What hobbies interest you? Try something new and you never know who you might meet. You might just surprise yourself." She says it's also important to be comfortable both in your own skin and with meeting new folks. "If you haven't dated in years this can be scary, but live outside your comfort zone safely."
Don't jump into a new relationship to get over a past relationship. It's all about working on yourself, and you can't do that if you dive right into something new. "You need to feel comfortable being by yourself and develop strength. The stronger you are as an individual, the stronger you'll be emotionally, and then you'll get into healthier relationships," says Moskovich. "The better you feel, the better quality of people you'll meet. If you're still grieving, you're not going to meet the people who are healthy for you. Misery loves company."
Understand what you need in a partner. Ask yourself what didn't work in your past relationship. "What do you need in a partner who will bring out the best in you? Is it someone who challenges you mentally? Someone with a great sense of humour or adventure? Look for someone who has similar interests."
Be open-minded. "The person you were 20 years ago may not be who you are today, so you might be surprised at who turns you on," Moskovich says. "Look past some of the initial things like physical attraction; there's more to a person than just looks. Sometimes you know after a date that the person isn't for you and that's fine. If you're just not sure, give him or her another chance."
Don't settle. "Just because you're lonely, that's not a reason to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't make you happy," she says. "It's lonely in a bad relationship, too."
Learn the dos and don'ts of online dating. "Be really careful and ask lots of questions. People might present themselves untrue to who they really are," says Moskovich. Also, never lie about your age or over-share about your situation. "It's OK to say you're divorced, but you don't need to get into the dirty laundry of your past relationship."