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The Dos and Don’ts of Dating Following a Divorce

After going through a divorce, a time will come that you want to meet someone new. Here are some of the dos and don’ts of dating following a divorce:

There is no doubt that going through a divorce is stressful. Even an amicable split will be painful. On the other hand, a divorce can make you reevaluated yourself and what you want out of a relationship. With new insight, you may feel ready to date again. Divorce provides an excellent opportunity for learning and growing. This means that any future relationship can benefit from the “new and improved” you.

Below are a few tips on how to avoid post-divorce mistakes and meet someone compatible with your needs.

Take it Slow:

Divorce can be brutal to your self-esteem. You’re not sure if you’ve still got “it.” Self-doubt and loneliness can make it easy to succumb to lust. After the stress in the divorce, you’re longing for some excitement. You want sparks to fly, and that attractive person at the gym is looking extremely inviting. Should you make a move?

There are no specific guidelines to help us through the post-divorce labyrinth. Physically, you may be ready to swing from chandeliers. But are you ready emotionally? Are you truly over your ex? You probably are talking or thinking about him or her more than you realize. Divorce isn’t a quick cut. It’s the slow and irrevocable ripping apart of two lives. So, it might be a good idea to give yourself time to recover. You need to let go of anger and resentment that have no place in a new relationship. 

Don’t revenge date:

One of the worst reasons to begin dating again is because your ex is dating up a storm. In all likelihood, he or she is still trying to get over the divorce without taking the time to heal. You are not in a competition. If your ex has sleepovers every night of the week, there is no reason you need to make the same mistake. You have nothing to prove. Let the ex-spouse live his or her life. You are too busy with your own to take notice or interest.

Don’t date because your ex is out on the town.

Avoid random hookups:

You might feel that a no-strings-attach hookup will serve as the perfect ego boost. The truth is, you are probably in a too-vulnerable place at this time. It’s best to avoid anything drastic. Think dinner and a movie and nothing more, especially on a first date. 

You probably haven’t dated in several years. In effect, you are relearning how to build a relationship from the ground up. This requires communication and creating a connection with the other person. If the other person isn’t amiable to waiting until you are ready for sex, you’ve learned something important about him or her. Is this someone you really want in your future?

Don’t jump into a relationship too quickly:

You do want that emotional boost following the divorce. And lucky you – you’ve met the perfect person. He or she is everything you have been dreaming about. Takes you to nice places. Offers you lovely gifts. Tells you that you are the best thing that ever happened to him or her. Wants a serious commitment. You are floating in Seventh Heaven.

It’s time to take a deep breath and come down to earth. You are vulnerable right now. You are thinking more with your emotions than your brains. You may be, to put in bluntly, easy pickings for someone seeking to control a lonely person – you. 

Even if he or she is a walking bit of perfection, this person will be just as perfect a few months from now. The “take it slow” advice holds doubly when someone checks all the boxes and appears too perfect. Maybe you genuinely lucked out. Or maybe you dodged a bullet. Give it enough time to tell which it is.

When something is too perfect to be true, there is usually a catch.

Talk to a Therapist or other professional:

You’ve just gotten out of a bad relationship. New possibilities are opening up. This is a good opportunity to sit down with a neutral party and discuss both your romantic history and your romantic future. What mistakes did you make in the past? How can you avoid them now? What is your romantic wish list? 

When you began dating your ex, you had a vision of a certain person. It didn’t work out. Perhaps it is time to create a different vision. Who are you now? What is it you need? Now is the time to upgrade your dreams, not settle. What you need most at this point is some fun. Anything more serious can and should probably wait.

Take it slow with your kids:

Whether you are dating casually or seriously, several studies have found that you shouldn’t bring your children into the mix until you have been involved for about six months, AND you sincerely believe the relationship has potential. Your children suffered through your divorce. It’s a bad idea to set them up for another loss in the event your current relationship doesn’t work out. 

Dating and Finances

Re-entering the dating world is a challenge. It’s both thrilling and extremely scary. You are stepping into a new world without a roadmap. You will be spending time with strangers and doing things you haven’t done before. In effect, it’s like having a job interview with you doing the interviewing.

If you have a high net worth, it may be difficult to know how to handle it. Do you talk about money? Do you guard against someone dating you for your money? 

Keep the interview light. Your aim is to find out if you are a “good fit.” It’s okay to treat for a meal. But discussions about money should evolve slowly. Financial issues are private and have no place in a relationship that is not totally committed. Only then should the topic of money come up, and only because the discussion will affect both of your futures.

Is there a tremendous disparity between your incomes? Will you be splitting expenses equally or not? It is important to agree on who contributes to what and how much. 

If your divorce agreement includes spousal support, will that end if you remarry? How will that impact your lifestyle? 

The odds are you have more financial issues now than you did when you started out younger the first time. But this is an excellent way to judge your compatibility. If you and your new partner can agree on money, the odds are the rest will be smooth sailing.

Conclusion

A divorce will likely be one of the worse times of your life. It is an ending to a fairy tale you had hoped would be forever. But it is also an opportunity to grow, become a better version of yourself, and upgrade to an even greater story with a happy ending.

The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.

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