Dating after divorce. I feel pretty qualified to give advice on the subject not because of how well I did after my five-year-marriage-yielding-two-children ended but because of all the things I just really, really f*cked up.
So you’re ready to date after divorce? tips:
(1) Don’t settle
Now that you’re single, every person that has ever found you even mildly attractive is going to come out of the woodwork with open arms, ready to comfort you after your poor, poor marriage ended and aren’t they just the sweetest thing? No. We’re all adults here. We know what these people want.
So when your old high school pal suddenly resurfaces or a neighbor wants to come for a visit at 11 p.m., shut the door, honey. These fools are up to no good.
Unless you want what they want, in which case, you do you.
(2) Be direct
For whatever reason, your marriage ended. And if I can guess, I’d say somewhere along the way there was a breakdown in communication. Maybe he didn’t listen when you spoke, maybe she couldn’t find the words to say. Whatever the reason, don’t let it happen again.
Be direct. Say exactly what you mean.
He’s trying to get too serious too soon? Tell him. She wants to go hiking but you’re feeling Netflix? Say it.
Don’t beat around the bush and don’t waste your time trying to please someone else. If you’re not into it, you’re not into it. Speak up and move on.
(3) Be alone
You’ve been living with someone for years and the alone-ness, the quiet, is deafening and seemingly unbearable. Eat it up. You (likely) will not be alone forever.
Do things for yourself. Hell, date yourself! Where do you want to go tonight? Dinner? A show? Netflix and chill? Take care of yourself for a little while.
And if you find yourself out on dates, go home when they’re over. Trust me—you’ll miss it when it’s gone.
(4) Get out there
Get coffee, get beer, get off the internet. Strike up a conversation the good old-fashioned way, without swiping left or right or whatever the kids are doing these days. (But if you are doing a dating app, do Bumble. Always do Bumble. It’s easy, gives women the reigns and their Instagram account is both hilarious and empowering.)
When I met my current partner he was a regular where I was bartending and we didn’t exchange numbers for weeks. Actually, we never did. I finally, sheepishly, asked his best friend if he could, um, give me, um, Randy’s number, please?
We set up dates and showed up for them. I had to put myself out there emotionally (trusting he would show up) and physically (meeting up with him in real life). It can be scary and sometimes people don’t show up and– spoiler alert—you don’t want those people around anyway.
(5) Let love find you
This is seriously quite possibly the cheesiest, most cliché thing I could ever tell you but it is true. And, no, I’m not personifying love as a single person or the enigmatic “the one” (who probably doesn’t exist anyway). You find love (in all forms) when you are receptive.
If you haven’t worked out your old sh*t, you probably aren’t ready for love. If you’re still bitter from heartache — you guessed it — you probably aren’t ready.
Oprah has said, “I started giving thanks for small things, and the more thankful I became, the more my bounty grew. What you focus on expands. When you focus on the good, you create more of it.”
Start with loving yourself, with self-care, and with the realization that you truly are okay on your own. Open your heart to the universe and you’ll be surprised with what you’re gifted with.