After the Divorce: A Woman’s Guide To Dating

Aug 8, 2012 by

Dating after divorce can be an intimidating, tricky concept for some women. For others there is nothing tricky about it. They’re ready to get back out there and see what the dating scene has to offer. It is kind of funny how the dating advice crawling all over the web paints a picture of women on some sort of assembly line. They’re nicely wrapped in generic advice that is supposed to apply to each woman. The word “divorced” is firmly stamped on the outside of the packaging; as if that one word says it all.

Women are unique as are their circumstances. Sure, divorced women can all share that title if they wish but the events surrounding their divorces are as unique as they are. Dating advice needs to consider those individual circumstances. How long was the marriage, were there children involved? If you’re a woman who is ready to get out there and start dating, or even if you’re just starting to consider it, those are just a few points you’ll want to keep in mind. But the most important point is you and your feelings regarding dating.

SELF-IMAGE

How do you view your divorce? Many women view their divorce as something shameful. They have a sense of failure and perceive that everyone around them thinks they are a failure. It is kind of hard to attract someone when you’re feeling negatively about yourself. If you’re vulnerable you’ll attract the wrong kind of man. Then again, maybe you’re perfectly comfortable with your divorce but unsure whether or not you should allow another man in your life. Before you can hit the dating scene you need to work on you. You’re single and no longer have that “couple” mentality. It is the time to work on your own personal identity, expand your circle of friends. Of course, there is nothing saying you can’t have fun while you do that. It just depends on what it is you want. This brings up the next point.

WHAT DO YOU WANT?

It helps to have an idea of what it is you’re looking for before you head out searching for dating opportunities. I’m not talking blue eyes versus brown here; although, I suppose it helps to know that too if you have a preference. I’m talking goals. Are you out for a good time and have no expectations? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and it might help to play the field, as they say. Are you looking for someone to settle down with? If you’re looking for the latter then you’re probably going to want to spend more time on your personal identity. You’ll want to learn how to stand on your own before becoming part of a couple. Your attitudes regarding what it is you want will have a lot to do with how long you were married and if there are kids involved.

KIDS

While pizza and movies with the kids is a fun way to spend a Friday night, you still need interaction with other adults. Being a single mom does not mean you have to revolve your entire life around being a mom. You’re still a woman. You’re a person who wears many titles other than mom and all those sides of you need attention too. Your kids are your priority, sure. But, as Dr. Phil likes to say, who is taking care of their mother? You need to be happy within your life to be a happier mom. Dating with kids in the picture adds an extra level of trickiness that women without children don’t have to contend with. However, it isn’t impossible

 
HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN?

The length of the marriage will affect the way in which you enter into the dating world, not because a person coming out of a longer marriage had more emotionally invested than that of a person coming out of a shorter marriage. That is a blanket statement and not necessarily true. The length of a marriage matters simply because someone who has only been out of the game for five years will not be as rusty as someone who has been out of the game for 35 years. Just as with most things, dating has evolved.

It used to be that people looking to meet other people would do so by going to nightclubs, bars, or being fixed up by friends. Those means of meeting people still exist. You can also hope you’ll bump into a nice person at the grocery store or at church. It does happen. However, the age of the computer has spawned a new dating creature and that is the internet. Despite its age, many people are still wary of using the internet as a means to meeting new people. But with sites like eharmony and match.com people are starting to come around. We’ve all seen the commercials. If Lee and Anne Marie can make it work, then why not the rest of us? You can also turn to perfectmatch.com, chemistry.com or Yahoo!Personals. 

In addition to the various match making sites there are social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. And don’t forget sites that reconnect people like classmates.com. I know more than one couple who knew each other as kids only to meet up again 20 or even 30 years later.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED?

As you’re getting back into the dating world then the most important advice you can heed is to take all advice with a grain of salt. Anyone can sit here and dole out advice that is supposed to cover all divorced women. But only you can tailor that advice to your specific situation. You’ve no doubt learned a thing or two from your divorce. So, arm yourself with that knowledge, be safe, have fun and get out there.

 –by Amy Tjaden
 
Photo Credit: stock.xchng
 

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