Dating can be fun, but it can also be pretty difficult. It hurts when a guy you thought you were connecting with doesn’t feel the same. It can be frightening when you thought you were getting along pretty well with a guy, but then he does or says something that instantly changes your opinion for the worse.
Dating after you get divorced has its own unique layer of issues. Face it—you’re carrying baggage. It’s difficult to transition from what you thought was a committed long-term relationship to meeting someone online, texting a few times, and going out for dinner or coffee. It can be exciting, but it’s also confusing, tense, and uncertain.
But a divorce in your past can be a good thing. If nothing else, you’ve gained a clearer concept of what you’re looking for in a partner. So, don’t be ashamed of it. Here’s a list of five things to avoid to get through the early phases of a relationship after a recent divorce.
- Don’t start dating until you’re ready.
Just because your divorce is finalized doesn’t mean that you’re ready to move on with somebody else. If you can’t stop thinking about or talking about your ex—either positively or negatively—you probably need more time to process what you’re going through before you jump back into the dating scene. Be patient and give yourself as much time you need. Don’t be pressured back into dating by well-meaning friends and family members if you don’t feel ready.
- Don’t start dating to make yourself feel better.
You probably will not meet your next significant other immediately. So, there will be instances in which you and your date just aren’t that into each other, or worse, you like him just fine but he just isn’t that into you. So, don’t start dating until you’re self-confident enough to handle the sting of rejection. Be in an emotionally healthy place before opening yourself up to that possibility.
- Don’t jump right back into exclusivity.
If you’re freshly divorced, you’ve probably been obsessing over your broken relationship with your ex. You certainly don’t need to start obsessing over a new person right now. You may be naturally inclined to do this if you put all of your proverbial eggs in one basket by exclusively seeing just one guy. Get out there and play the field for a while.
- Don’t neglect yourself.
Don’t expect your new love interest to become your emotional crutch, or to start checking things off your personal honey-do list. It’s too soon for that. Now is the time to show him—and yourself—that you’re a strong, capable woman who wants a new relationship, but doesn’t need one.
Do things that make you happy. You may have been so wrapped up in taking care of everybody around you that you’ve lost sight of the things that make you happy. Make a list of some things you like to do, and start doing them. That’s your honey-do list.
- Don’t ignore your gut feelings.
If you’re feeling bad vibes, end the date. If he objects, he doesn’t respect your best interests. If your instincts are saying he has potential, don’t be afraid to say you want to get together with him again.
If things aren’t working out after a few dates, don’t hold onto him. As the old saying goes, you can’t fit square pegs into round holes. Take a step back, remind yourself that you may just have prevented another divorce, and let him go.