Finding love after divorce can be challenging, stressful, daunting and terrifying. Actually, to put it more accurately, even clearing the mind effectively enough to begin thinking about looking for love again is tough enough.
When people talk about ‘going through’ a divorce, it’s particularly apt phrasing. It’s a testing ordeal. The break up of a marriage is heart breaking and chaotic; your life is torn into shreds and for months, sometimes more, you’re just focused on keeping everything together – making sure the kids, if you have children, are okay and coping with the situation, ensuring finances remain in control and that you don’t lose sight of the importance of maintaining performance at work.
At some point, after the initial shock and upheaval, comes the legal process of officially dissolving the marriage. After the emotional and financial fall out of all of that, you might feel inclined to take the first tentative steps towards looking for companionship.
The experience of beginning to date again may feel very different and a lot could depend on age and circumstance. If you were a relatively young bride or groom and find yourself divorced and childless when still in your 20s you may just seamlessly pick up single life where you left off. Many or most of your friends might be unattached and you can simply start hitting bars and clubs again.
However, if you’re divorced and in an older age category, perhaps you also have children, it’s a different ball game. This is the situation three of my best friends have found themselves in recently. They all have children and responsibilities, all work full-time, all have a house to run and maintain. Every other weekend they might be effectively child-free, while their ex-partner has the kids, but things have changed. All in and around 40 years of age, it’s now not so straightforward as just going out and seeing what happens. Looking for love has to fit around the rest of life. It doesn’t take priority anymore.
With this in mind it’s no surprise that dating websites are appealing – they work because they take away the hit and miss aspect of hoping to bump into someone while out and about, and the new singleton has the opportunity to check out the profiles of suitable potential partners. This removes the chasing aspect of dating: Single Dad or Single Mum can browse online for an hour in the evening with the kids tucked safely in bed. There are loads of online websites – here’s a review of one of the more popular sites.
If online dating doesn’t appeal, try other methods. Without a partner to accommodate, you have free time to fill and surely some hobbies or interests you wish to pursue. This could include joining a gym, or taking up running – in which case, join a running club. If you have children of school age, join the PTA and get involved in volunteering for events. Raise your profile and your interaction with others, and your confidence will grow, too. Be seen and don’t hide.
It may sound a little lame, but when approaching dating again after a long period out of ‘the game’, there’s nothing in looking for friendship first and love afterwards. You feel more comfortable, in any case, asking a new date for a coffee, or an early evening drink. That’s not as daunting as a full-on dinner date and an opportunity to just have a chat for an hour really might not feel like a date with romantic intonations but something more casual and informal. Which might help with nerves and expectations – on both sides.
For further tips on dating again after divorce, read this article. Perhaps most important of all, take it slowly and don’t be rushed into anything: remember, you have a second chance at finding love and the decisions are yours to make.