Dating After Divorce – A Guest Post by Wendi Schuller
Those dating post-divorce have unique challenges than people who have been steadily dating throughout the years. One may be carrying more baggage or be emerging from trauma. Unwritten rules seem to have changed from when one was single many years ago.
Be clear why you are dating
One has been accustomed to going out as a couple, a built-in companion to go to places. What is your motive for dating? A warm body to sit next to you in cafes or concerts? Or is it to find a special person to share your life? Are you ready to date or it is that your buddies feel it is time? If your friends are saying you keep going after the same type of person, then listen. Evaluate what exactly you are seeking in a dating partner.
One may have leftover issues from divorce, which need to be addressed before moving on. Especially when coming out of an abusive marriage, one may not value themselves. This low self-esteem can negatively affect future relationships. A dating coach helps an individual to stop repeating toxic patterns from the past and bringing them into new dating situations. If feeling desperate about being by yourself or perceived as too needy, this can turn potential partners away.
A change from the last decade or two is hook-ups. If one-night stands are not your thing, then be careful how your dating profile is worded. One London friend is surprised at the texts from middle-aged men hinting at a hook-up. These are from guys who had been married in the past. One has to learn a new language in the dating world as the meaning of words is changing. Common words can take on a second definition indicating the desire for a sexual encounter. Think of it like speaking in code. Try to ascertain before a first date if someone is looking for a relationship or merely a romp between the sheets.
When I was a speaker at The Divorce Fair in Kensington earlier this year, hook-ups was the main topic we talked about on breaks. Coaches discussed what their clients were facing trying to find someone who was not just looking for a quickie. We talked about our own dating experiences and all of us had encountered guys looking for hook-ups. Across the pond in the States, this is an issue as well.
How to start dating again
You can get your feet wet without taking the whole plunge. Start with baby steps if feeling unsettled. Go out in a group. You have companionship and can talk to other singles. Have friends invite their friends and you get to interact with others with less pressure than being in a duo. I was a trauma nurse in a large hospital, we went out with different people from other units, the doctors, nurses, etc. after our late evening shift ended. It was a blast and some of us met new partners at these gatherings.
Consider joining special interest groups and clubs. You may or may not meet spouse number two, but you will be around others who share your passion. This could be environment, political, animal rescue or whatever you like. MeetUp.com is one resource for finding them. Several people I know did start dating another member and got married. Wait until after Covid to try out the above two tips.
I sit at community tables in coffee shops and have interesting conversations with other single diners. Let your co-workers and friends know that you are available for dates. Consider going on a blind date set up by someone who thinks you both would both get along. I did this last summer with a man from Cornwall. We had to say what we were wearing in order to recognize each other in the restaurant. It was fun being on a blind date after a two-decade gap.
Look at dating after your divorce as an adventure, just as you do when travelling or trying a new sport. Your life does not depend upon this activity, so lighten up. Having a sense of humour and being able to laugh will get you through dating situations. When a date bombs horribly, think of the funny stories you can tell your mates at the pub.
Wendi Schuller is the author of The Global Guide To Divorce. She has a series of children’s books with the third, Jack Jack The Cat Loose In London being released in October 2020. She is a dating coach who specializes in helping people date after divorce. www.globalguidetodivorce.com
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