For some of us, we've finalized our divorce and we're now settling into our new life as a single divorced woman/mother. Some of us have sworn off men and are embracing our single status with open arms and a new-found sense of freedom, peace and tranquility. It's a beautiful thing to not have to ever find the toilet seat up again, isn't it? To have the house to yourself? To embark on a new life, free of everyone one of his old bad habits?
For others of us, we were born to be with a mate. We just don't function right unless we're in a relationship. And so, we find ourselves at some point jumping back into the dating scene. But as many of the wonderfully supportive women here on the secure network will tell you (this is invaluable advice), you MUST make sure to find your personal happiness before you start looking for love again. A new mate is not what's going to make you happy, it's you who needs to make yourself happy first and foremost. Find you're own happiness, and then you'll be better equipped to start getting out there again into the dating world.
Once you've found that personal happiness, and you're ready to start down the path of dating after divorce, here are a few things to keep in mind that I learned as I started on my own search for a new mate:
- Don't dive in too quickly: Susan Shapiro, author of Secrets of a Fix-Up Fanatic, says, “Fix yourself up before you get fixed up.”
- Ask what you learned about yourself from the previous relationship. What are your issues? Trust? Money? Both? If you can’t think of anything, you need to give yourself more time.
- Consider a physical makeover. Change can be good and it doesn’t have to be radical. Think hair, makeup, clothes and new glasses/contacts. Don’t be caught in age-inappropriate duds though.
- Don't limit yourself to bars, online dating sites or speed-dating events. They're often dominated by people who emphasize looks over substance and experience.
- Instead of traditional dating venues, volunteer, join a class, book or hiking group. Meeting new people through activities you enjoy is a good way to go and enables you to enrich your world.
- Form new friendships and retool existing ones. Friends help support you and can serve as a reality check. But don't turn a friend into a confidant and a therapist.
- Open yourself up to people who ordinarily aren’t your "type” which doesn’t mean you have to date a jock if you’re a bookworm. But it’s a numbers game and the more people you meet, the bigger your “pool” of potential dates and friends becomes.
- Don't ignore red flags. Trust your instincts and gut feelings about people. A glass of wine, while helping you relax, will also impair your judgment.
- Having kids doesn’t necessarily weaken your dating prospects. There are plenty of guys out there who are newly divorced and who have kids! But if a prospect is turned off by the idea of your kids, move on.
- Again, love doesn't make you happy; pursuing the things you love is a far better prescription for contentment.
I think the last tip is probably the most meaningful. What do you think?
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