After divorce, you will get a lot of advice about dating. When to date, how to date, when to introduce your kids, when not to introduce your kids, and much more helpful tips, but the truth is that everyone is unique and every divorce is unique. Some people want to date and some people never want to date again. The only one who has to be comfortable with your decision about if and when to date is you.
Do the work on you before working on a relationship. Divorce is hell. Anyone who says it isn’t is from outer space. Uncoupling takes a mighty effort. It is impossible to go through such a life transition and not have some thinking, planning, or recreating, to do. Take time to make sure you are in an emotionally healthy place before you go through the emotions of a new relationship. If you know who you are and who you need, you will make better choices going forward.
Put your ex behind you. Do not start dating if all you can think about when you meet members of the opposite sex is your ex. You want to judge the person on who they are, not how they compare to your ex. If you think you want to date someone “hot” so your ex will be jealous or you hope the new love interest will make you forget all about your ex or take their place, you are not ready to make room in your life for new love. Your ex is still taking up way too much space. Get the ex out of the equation. They do not belong there, even if you share kids with them. Sharing children does not equal sharing your life or intimate details of your life. They do not belong in your new relationship and your new relationship does not belong to them. They have no say. If you are seeking their approval, you have not put them behind you.
Examine your past relationships. Look for patterns that you do not want to repeat. If you have felt that every person you were with controlled you, or sucked the life out of you, it is time to learn about assertiveness. If all of your partners had addiction issues, or could not hold a job, try to determine why those people appealed to you in the beginning. Talk to a therapist about it if you need to, but whatever you need to do, aim for healthier relationships going forward. Past relationships are in the past because they did not work. If you truly want a relationship to work, it is time to find something different, something that has the footing to succeed and grow, not something that starts out great and then withers out. Don’t just look for patterns in the partner either. Look within yourself. The better your self awareness, the better you can find a compatible partner. If you don’t know who you are or what you want, how can they?
Examine trust issues. If you have not been able to trust a partner in the past, and now you don’t trust members of the opposite sex, stop and think about that. Is it that you can’t trust them? That can’t be it, you don’t even know these new people yet. Maybe it is that you do not trust YOU to say no to the same type you have always attracted. Ever hear someone describe themselves as a loser magnet? You can only be a magnet if you refuse to pick and choose. Build up your confidence and self esteem so that you can choose the right person for you and say no to the ones who are not right.
Have patience. There is someone out there for you when you are ready. Do not doubt it. While you are feeling lonely and hoping to find the right person for you, believe that there is someone out there feeling the same way and waiting for you as well. You will find each other when the time is right and you are open to finding love again.
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