So you’ve gotten divorced and were able to get over every ugly and painful thing divorcees go through.
You’ve made drinking your job since the day the court made your divorce official.
You’ve indulged in drunk texting, to your ex-husband’s dismay. You’ve made stalking him on social media your new vocation.
And when you saw that life’s going well for him, you’ve decided throwing yourself a pity party is the best way to deal with life’s unfair twist.
You’ve brought a one-way ticket to Self-Sabotage City and you plan to spend the rest of your life making more terrible life choices while there.
Dating After Divorce: 6 Signs You’re Finally Ready
You know in your heart that you’ve spent enough time mourning and you now accept the fact that your marriage is over.
Now, finally, you’re positive that you’re healed. You feel like you’re ready to jump back into the dating pool again.
But the question is, are you truly ready? Let’s face it. The breakdown of a marriage is a seriously traumatic experience.
Feelings change. You can be ready to get back to dating after divorce today and feel exactly the opposite tomorrow.
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The point is, it’s quite dangerous to just base your readiness to date again on your feelings alone.
So here’s a better suggestion. Assess yourself with these six major signs that prove you’re emotionally ready to end your “leave of absence” from the dating scene.
1. You no longer hate your ex to death.
You used to indulge in emotional cutting by asking bitter questions and pondering on thoughts that only hurt you more. But now, your mind is clear as day. No bitterness. No desire for revenge. Just peace.
2. You’ve realized you don’t need to be in a relationship.
Being with someone has become the least of your priorities. You’re happy and contented with yourself, even if you know you’re far from being perfect.
You don’t despise the idea of being single after a long relationship. You’re actually cool with it.
3. You’ve lost interest in rebounds.
You’ve stopped sleeping with people you don’t truly care about or have genuine feelings for. You have more important things to spend your time on.
4. You’ve figured out what you’re looking for.
You’re now certain about what you want and you know how you’ll get it once you’re back in the dating game.
You’re also determined to date only on your own terms, not anybody else’s.
5. You’re loving yourself again.
You’ve forgiven yourself for the mistakes you’ve made. You’re starting to find time to care for yourself and you’ve made a vow to be consistent about prioritizing self-care moving forward.
6. The idea of a second marriage doesn’t scare you too much anymore.
You’ve work hard to survive all the emotional challenges that came with divorce.
Thus, you know you’re more self-aware and mature when you enter another relationship when the right time comes.
6 Smart Strategies For Dating After Divorce
If most of the “dating readiness signs” above ring true for you, congratulations! You’re officially ready to start dating again.
To help you navigate the scary complexities the second time around, here are six smart strategies you must live by.
1. Have a list and stick to them.
You probably have one already but you didn't take it seriously before. If so, now's your chance to turn things around.
Before you go out on your very first date, find time to list down every "must have" and "must not have" that you'd want in a guy.
Keep your list handy on every date. As you meet new guys along the way, you'll find that this list you've prepared is not set in stone.
Even so, it's important that you stick to it. You can modify it as you learn more about yourself through the dates you've been on but never sacrifice it for the sake of being with a guy you truly like.
That's a road you don't want to go down again.
2. Maintain some distance.
Meeting someone new is a thrilling experience, more so if you’ve spent the previous months of your life dealing with the divorce and its catastrophic aftermath.
The chances of you getting swept away is high so be warned. The rush is just temporary. It’s not wrong to enjoy it.
But as you do, observe enough distance so your emotions won’t get the best of you and your brain can still make informed decisions.
3. Be open.
This piece of advice may sound contradictory to the previous one but hear me out. What I mean by being open is welcoming new possibilities.
Go out, meet different kinds of men, and keep conversations going with those who you think are worth it.
Prepare yourself for lessons and surprises along the way.
Dare to investigate new alternatives while still maintaining the necessary distance you need so you can still assess each man’s character and his compatibility with you.
4. Practice “sexclusivity”.
So you’ve found your kind of guy. You know he’s a good man and your chemistry with each other is undeniable.
You know you’d want to be exclusive (and sex-clusive) with him but you haven’t found the courage to bring up such a conversation.
You think it may sabotage what could be a beautiful relationship in the making.
While it’s okay to feel that way, it’s not acceptable to stay mum over such an important topic.
Yes, timing is crucial when opening a conversation about “sexclusivity” but you’re not in the position to wait for him to be the one to open up about it.
Strike a conversation as soon as possible so you know if you’re on the same page.
If you’re not, you’ll be thankful you didn’t have to invest much in someone who doesn’t feel the same way as you early on in the relationship. If you are, then good for you.
5. Create and develop your support system.
Dating after divorce is never going to be easy. You’re going to need your closest friends and family members as your support system while you navigate this complex road again.
If you have few left because you’ve lost them while you were going through one of the most challenging phases of your life, it’s cool.
You can contact a professional who can give you the guidance and help you need as you attempt to get back and take control of your dating life again. This way, you’ll have someone who can be there to constantly support you.
6. Live by the 3 Ps of dating after divorce.
It can be tempting to speed up the process and be with the real “Mr. Right” as soon as you jump into the dating pool.
But going for shortcuts when you’re dating after divorce will not only push you back farther from the goal, it may also derail you. And you don’t want that.
Fight these kinds of thoughts by taking a daily dose of Patience, Perseverance, and Positivity.
When you do, you’ll stay the course and arrive at your destination at the right time.
And when you do find the right man who ticks the important boxes, discover how you can hold on to him, for good.
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