After all the negotiating is done and the final divorce decree has been entered, you are officially single again. For many people, this may be the time to consider dating again.
If you're ready to dip your toes back into the dating pool, you might wonder how to start. After all, it's probably been a while, and the dating scene can be intimidating.
First, it is important to deal with your negative thoughts that may linger after your divorce. To be completely free to enter into a new relationship, you should let go of anger, resentment and bitterness towards your ex. Your emotions from the past should not seep into any of your new relationships. After particularly bitter divorces, this can be a big hurdle to overcome.
Remember that a new relationship will not heal your emotional scars. Dating someone new right away may be a good distraction and seem to fill a hole, but it is up to you to work through your negativity and overcome it to move on.
When you are ready to put yourself back on the market, you may want to consider your goals and what you are willing to put into a new relationship. If you jump into a rebound relationship to ease your own pain and fear of being alone, you are using the other person and run the risk of causing pain and heartbreak when you move on. You should always be honest about your feelings and intentions to prevent any confusion in your new relationships.
If you have children, it is essential to exercise caution when you begin dating again. Children can become very confused and upset when a parent starts dating after divorce. In some cases, children may find it traumatic to see a parent with someone new.
Many children, whether they express or hide it, continue to wish and hope that their parents will get back together. While you and your ex-spouse may be very clear and direct in explaining to the children the marriage is over, many may still fantasize about you all being together again.
To protect your children, it is a good idea not to introduce them to anyone new unless the relationship has real potential or has already become serious. Before such an introduction, you may want to sit down and talk with your children to make sure they understand your feelings for them have not and will never change.
You will need to find an age-appropriate way to explain your new relationship to your children and give them assurances that your love for them has not diminished. Children should be encouraged to express their feelings and know that their thoughts matter too. Open communication is key to understanding how your child feels and helping them with the transition into your new lifestyle after divorce.
No one can tell you if you’re ready to begin dating again. You will have to determine for yourself if the time is right. When you do feel ready, be sure to leave your ex in the past, project a positive self-image and take your time. There are plenty of fish in the sea and there is no need to keep each one you catch. Be selective and explore the dating scene at your leisure, within your comfort zone.