When, why, what and where? These are all questions to consider when thinking about dating after divorce.
When is the right time?
This is the most commonly asked question.
When are you ready? Is it too soon? Are you on the rebound?
There is no right answer. You are ready when you are ready.
However, it's really important to think about your "Why" to see if you are indeed ready.
Many people start dating because they don't want to be alone or because they want to hurt their ex and make them realise what they are missing. Clearly, these are not good reasons.
You also need to know your own value and be prepared to ignore or walk away from people who will not value you. Divorce can leave you lacking in self-belief and dating without a firm belief in who you are and what you bring to the table is probably not the best idea.
Another red flag is if your resilience is low. No matter who you are, what you look like, how interesting you are etc, dating WILL involve knockbacks and confidence blows. Are you strong enough to take those right now?
You are ready when you are doing it for yourself and for the right reasons. When you know why you are doing it and what you are looking for.
Why am I dating?
Some may think that's a silly question but when I ask it of my clients, the disparate answers include:
- To meet my soul mate
- I need financial support
- For sex
- For companionship
- I don't want to be alone forever.
Knowing your why is important because it will clarify what you are seeking. If you are just interested in short-term dalliances right now, then maybe similar values and interests are less important than physical appearance and proximity. Conversely, if you are only interested in a long term/ forever relationship then looks may take a back seat to a sense of humour and occupation.
Your why will also impact where you look. Hook-ups are more prevalent on certain dating sites and if you want a long-term relationship you may even consider a professional matchmaker.
So, understanding your why is crucial. Remember, your why can and probably will change over time.
What do I want?
This is more tricky.
Some dating experts advocate for drawing up a specific list and then deciding what is non-negotiable and what is less important.
Physical appearance, geographical proximity, child status, occupation and education, pastimes and interests, ethnicity and background are amongst some of the many factors people filter their choices based upon.
However, the nature of dating is that even when somebody meets every criteria, you may not have any chemistry between you.
So, I believe that having a good idea of what you'd like is important and it helps you understand what to look for and what to avoid but the romantic in me also believes that we should remain open because who knows what the next "one" will be like!
So you've figured out your when, why and what, so, time to get started.
Depending on your why and what, your options include online dating, local singles events, asking friends for introductions, joining clubs or courses or even a professional matchmaker.
You have to try them all out and see what works for you best.
Online dating can be terrifying but it also a great resource. One that is easy and relatively inexpensive to use and remember, everybody on there is in the same boat. So, dive on in!
Come and join our free Facebook Group for people who want to create an amazing life after their divorce. www.facebook.com/groups/thedivorcehive