Wise men say only fools rush in – Elvis.
Some will say that one of the best song lyrics for relationships is “All you need is love” from the Beatles. I would argue that while yes, love is definitely important; you need more than that for a relationship to truly thrive and survive. You need patience, understanding, respect, humor, growth, humility… I could go on. There is so much more to a relationship than love. And, unfortunately, sometimes it really isn’t enough. When a marriage breaks down and a divorce happens, sometimes you may think that it’s the end and love will never find you again. Or you may be so bitter from the divorce that you rule out love and relationships all together. While I do think it’s healthy to give yourself the time to heal, I also think you should be open minded enough to give love another chance. Ah yes, there’s the skeptic-hopeless romantic in me at it’s finest. But when is it okay to start dating after divorce? Well, I truly believe that depends on the individual.
Divorce rates remain high in America. Not only does this mean that many adult men and women are alone and available, it also means that many of them are wondering how to get back in the playing field.
After years of being in a relationship, you might find dating after divorce a daunting task. In fact, the mere thought of dating after divorce might just be overwhelming enough to scare you off the prospect…permanently. Tumultuous breakups do that to a person, damaging your self-esteem so that you will end up doubting over your chances of dating after divorce, not to mention worrying over your rusty dating skills.
But while you might think that you are alone, rest assured that you are not. In fact, according to the US Census Bureau, approximately 9 out of 10 people will marry but about one half of first marriages end in divorce. From 1970 to 1996, the number of women living alone doubled to 14.6 million. For men, the number nearly tripled, leaping from 3.5 million to 10.3 million.
So with so many singles out there, there’s probably a lot of dating going on, right? But sadly that is not true. It seems that the older we get, the less dating we do. Social psychologist Jerald G. Bachman, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, conducted a study where he found that nearly 50 percent of 18-year-olds go out at least once a week. However, when it came to 32-yeard-old adults, he found that only an approximate 25 percent dated.
Now, it is quite possible that some people simply do not choose to deal with dating after divorce. But while that is true, there are others like you who may want to start dating but don’t know how to or can’t overcome their negative self-thoughts. So how do you overcome these obstacles and get back in the dating arena?
Well, the first order of the day is to set appropriate personal standards. More particularly, ask yourself some questions that would help you get an idea on how you are going to act. Will you play hard to get? Or will you be an easy catch? Call it your “social price,” if you will. The more you have to give in a relationship, the higher your social price should be.
Base your social price on the following factors:
* Inner strength
While these things are usually imperceptible, they can be seen through how you act, the way you speak, and your body language. So it is important that your actions should speak for who you are as a person and how you perceive yourself in the eyes of others.
People that have been married for a very long period of time often have the hardest time reentering the dating world. They have gotten so used to being with their spouse and they have not been on a date in so long. Often, they have forgotten what is involved in dating. Another thing that is working against them is the fact that times are always changing. There are new forms of dating, people are always changing, and improvements are made to everything. Society forces us to change and adapt. If you have been married for a long time, you will not be aware of the changes that have been made. You are at a loss going into the dating field.
People that are younger and that have not been married for a long period of time will often find it easier to reenter the dating world. They have not been off the market for as long. They are still pretty fresh. They know what is involved in dating and what the aspects are. Younger people are much more likely to successfully date after a divorce due to these factors. However, young people that get married are also much more likely to get divorced. This creates a vicious cycle. It also changes the dynamics of the dating world. If you have a large group of young or middle age people that are all together, chances are the majority of them will have been divorced. Sometimes, people in this situation will have self esteem issues. They are afraid to get back into the dating scene.
The one thing that divorcees should be careful of when they are reentering the dating world is the fact that they are on the rebound. Some people like to take advantage of this fact. They think that they can get what they want or can manipulate the person that is recovering from the divorce. At the same time, some people that have been divorced will be looking for someone to fill the void in their life. This is not appropriate and can ruin the chance for a successful relationship. They give false hopes to other people and end up hurting themselves and the other person.
If you are divorced and looking to get back into the dating world, you need to use caution. It is very possible to have a successful relationship after a divorce. You just need to use proper planning and know what you are wanting. Give yourself time to grieve your loss and get over the feelings that you have towards your ex. This will allow you to start dating with a clean slate and a clear frame of mind.
I’m certainly not suggesting that you jump right back into dating. Take your time and give yourself time. You’ll know when it’s right. And when it’s right, make the choice.
Choosing to date again does not make you a bad person. You’re looking out for yourself and you’re choosing to move on. When I chose to start dating again, I’ll be honest- I wasn’t actively looking. I wasn’t about to sign up for an online dating site or ask my friends if they knew of anyone else who was single.
My thought process was this: if a relationship is going to happen, it’s going to find me.
Kyle and I began dating in 2013 and will be celebrating our anniversary on St. Patrick’s Day. We both came into this relationship with children from a previous marriage. We were both single parents. And we both knew, for the most part, what we were looking for in a partner and in a relationship. Our relationship is not perfect and quite honestly, I wouldn’t want it to be. If it was perfect, there would be no room for improvement. Rather, I think that there ways to improve every day. Little things always add up and overall, our relationship continues to grow and strengthen.
At a time in our lives where neither of us were actively looking for a relationship; we chose to take a chance. We chose love.
This reminds me, in a way, of the new Nicholas Sparks movie, The Choice which will be out in theaters on February 5th (my birthday!) so maybe we’ll make it a date night. This movie is about making difficult choices of the heart to find your destiny and perfect match. The main characters are first brought together due to an encounter between their dogs! Their adorable pets play an important (and adorable) role in the story.
Are you a divorcee and have you made the decision to choose love? What tips or advice would you share?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.