It’s 2019, your divorce is final, and you’re ready to get back on the preverbal dating horse. The thought of dating again can be daunting and frankly, overwhelming. Chances are the dating scene is very different now and the thought of navigating through dating apps like Bumble or Tinder is a little scary. Who am I kidding? It’s down right terrifying! You may be asking yourself things like…How do I know who is real and who is fake? Do I swipe left or right? How do I start an online conversation? Are the rules different now? How do I meet new quality people? Fear not my friend! Below are my top 5 things you need to know to kickoff the year successfully dating again.
1. Love yourself above all others
Let’s be honest. Divorce sucks! It can leave you feeling out of sorts. No matter how long you were married, you had someone to do things with. You had a built in movie or dinner date, a travel partner, a wine tasting partner, someone to buy you flowers, etc. Now you may be wondering who will do these things with you. The answer is simple. You can, and should, do these things for yourself. Yep, I said it! Date yourself! Take yourself out to dinner, go on a nice vacation alone and treat yourself to a dozen red roses simply because you are worthy! Taking the time to reconnect with the new you is so important! Odds are you have grown and changed since you were last in the dating game. Take this time to really get to know who you are again and discover what you really love, what your passions are, and create new hobbies. This is what I like to call “growing your single legs”. This process will help you get crystal clear on what you want and need in your life. It will take time to figure out who you are as a single person, compared to who you were in a relationship and that OK! The challenges, pain and growth you experienced from your divorce will also contribute to the type of person you are now. Fall in love with yourself first and others will too.
2. Get clear on your why
Understanding why right now is the right time to start dating is really important. It sets the foundation for your expectations and overall experience. Are you looking for something casual, meaning a dinner date here and there? Are you looking for someone to explore a new city with, travel with, etc. Take the time to get clear on why this is important, why now, and what you need right now. The answers to these questions will change as your dating experience evolves and that is normal. As you grow, become more clear on what you want and what your deal breakers are, your dating objectives and “why” will change too. After all, if we are not growing, we are not living fully.
3. Put down the phone and get social
Get back to old school social time! Don’t get me wrong, spending time on social media is great, reading this article is amazing, and watching the latest episode of the Bachelor is exhilarating, but what you need is some good old-fashioned face-to-face time. Look for opportunities to get out of the house, reconnect with old friends, and make new friends that share a common love of your newfound life joys. Who knows, you might even score an awesome date! Let’s face it, the UPS guy is not going to hand deliver the partner of your dreams to your doorstep, complete with a big red bow. You have to get outside of the 4 walls of your home to meet people. If this sounds too scary, start by getting friends together and go out to places where you can strike up a conversation with others. You can also join a dating site or download a dating app. Another great option is Meetup! Look for singles events in your area. Join the gym, get more involved in your community by volunteering. There are so many options, but the only option is to do something. Pick 1 thing ever week to get you out of the house and getting social. I personally like Bumble and Meetup and have had great experiences with both. You need to find what works for you. One thing is for sure, you’ll be amazed at how powerful human interaction can be.
4. Take it slow
Be patient with yourself when you jump back into the dating game. It may take a few dates with different people to get your groove back. Just remember, you just got out of a marriage and you need time to date a variety of people to clarify what you need in the next real relationship. Keep those first dates short, an hour tops! Keep the activity to something that allows you to really connect with the person. For example, go for a walk in the park, meet for 1 glass of wine, or my favorite, a coffee date. First dates are intended to help you learn enough about the person to determine if you want to go out with them again to keep learning. Before you go on that first date, make sure you have a few hobbies to talk about, ask them questions about their interests, their family, etc. Keep it light and airy, add humor, and see what happens. Check your baggage at the door and just have fun!
5. Strike a balance
Maintaining your sense of self when learning to date again is critically important. You’ve invested so much time in creating new hobbies, growing stronger relationships with your friends, and loving yourself to give it up. It is so important to have keep balance in dating and not automatically assume the role of spouse with someone you barely know. Keep your needs first; keep spending time with your friends, and under no circumstance give up your hobbies. After all, dating is a piece of the pie, not the whole pie.
Keep up with these strategies and before you know it, you’ll be dating like a pro and you’ll be so happy you got back out there. There’s nothing stopping you! You’ve got this! Now get out there and show the world how amazingly wonderful you are!