Even as it is, dating is already a challenge, especially for women and men who feel the need to commit to a partner seriously. It becomes more stressful if you recently had a divorce. It’s easy to start questioning your love priorities and romantic preferences and get consumed by memories and regrets.
However, there is a silver lining here. A lot of dating experts believe that divorced people are more successful in dating because they know their dealbreakers and pain points. The main difficulty is in taking the first step and getting over the last relationship, but the process of dating after divorce can be fulfilling.
Dating after divorce brings a lot of joy if you know how to approach it. At least, that’s the way it worked for me. Here is how I approached my return to dating, with tips and main challenges.
Main challenges for dating after divorce
Nature is an elusive thing. The desire to start a relationship and have stable sources of physical satisfaction tricks us into thinking that we are ready to date when we aren’t. The main goal before every divorced dater is to understand if it’s time for you to meet people.
Looking for physical chemistry
At the beginning of my life after divorce, I felt that my previous relationship lacked natural attractions. After years of living together, I stopped liking my partner — and the absence of chemistry was the one to blame. This had serious consequences on my dating life later — a couple of times, I rely on my first impressions of dates, quickly dismissing them, while looking for elusive chemistry.
After divorce, you don’t want to hear anything about relationships being work. You want to have it friendly, easy, and with fire. However, I had to re-learn that it doesn’t work this way. My best dates turned out to be with the people who didn’t make me feel comfortable right away. Accepting the difficulties after the divorce is difficult, but don’t let the previous relationship discourage you.
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Thinking that you moved on
Once divorce papers are signed, people have to talk themselves into quickly getting over exes. Even though your breakup is set in stone, your mind and body might not feel the same way.
Don’t rush into looking for serious dates if you still keep thinking about past mistakes and happy moments. If you are looking for a hookup or rebound, this is acceptable, though.
Being afraid to start from scratch
Dating after divorce feels a lot like re-reading an old book. You already know what’s going to happen, and you are just flipping through pages, waiting for the highlights. The problem is, you can’t build a solid relationship if you rush primary stages.
Sex on the first date might be great for hormonal relief, but it usually doesn’t promote serious relationships. Even if your partner is also divorced, you still have to take a step back and give a relationship a chance to show its full colors.
Refusing to accept faults
When I was starting with dating, I was always going over my spouse’s faults that caused the situation to get this far. Naturally, when I started dating, I was super alert in the detection of these red flags. As soon as I saw at least one trait that reminded me of my husband’s issues, I dismissed the date altogether.
A lot of my friends, who went through divorces, have the same issues. They feel like they deserve respect and appreciation — being showered in gifts and flowers, and agreeing on political views — all have to fit perfectly. Of course, it limited my date circle: looking back, I wanted to start over after divorce fully and dismissed a lot of fine guys.
Sticking to a type or the opposite of that
My best friend also went through a divorce — her husband cheated on, and they broke up. Still, she never quite got over the type — at some point, I called her out of looking for her husband 2.0. Of course, that approach didn’t get her anywhere — dates were not stupid and quickly understood that they serve as substitutes.
My issue was the opposite. After having a failed relationship, I started looking for a man who would be completely different from my spouse. It wasn’t a conscious choice — I didn’t have criteria in mind. It took me a while to pinpoint the problem — and even more time to learn to catch myself on such impulses. So, watch out for any preferences, and go with the flow instead.
Divorce dating tips that saved my love life
You can tell that dating after divorce is a complicated road. Many of us aren’t aware of the problems before a friend, or family member points it out. For me, it took a lot of trial-and-error to develop a method that worked. Here are my key divorce dating tips — I wish I wouldn’t take quite as long to figure them out.
Go to a therapist
Dating requires self-awareness. If you don’t know what you want and let another person define your worldview and values, it will be a disaster waiting to happen. There will always be a danger of using your partner to get rid of the baggage, talking about your relationships — exploiting a potential boyfriend in the role of a shrink.
So, to move on after divorce before you even register on the online dating site, make sure that a professional therapist gave it a go. Otherwise, there might be complications. If you can’t afford a professional, go to a friend and have a therapy session — but make sure you can fully open up in front of that person.
Explore different dating apps
A lot of divorced men and women make mistakes of boxing themselves into stereotypes. They are only ready to look for mature partners, which is why they do to traditional dating platforms like Match, eHarmony, or EliteSingles.
In reality, it’s not the best strategy — having a partner with baggage might likely take that chemistry out of the relationship. You don’t want your couple to feel like a package of damaged goods.
My dating life became much better after I tried out more “millennial” dating services, such as Tinder and Pure. Meeting younger guys made me feel attractive and gave much-needed validation, but most importantly, it was refreshing to see people who aren’t yet bothered with previous experiences.
Speak openly about your children
I never intended to hide the fact that I have children — but the tricky thing was, it never seemed to come up. It was hard to bring up my family all of a sudden — such conversations always feel out of place. So, I wasn’t transparent about my situation right away, and as a result, wasted a lot of time on guys who weren’t ready to deal with kids.
My time would be distributed much wiser had I spoken up immediately. Don’t repeat my mistakes and make it clear right on the dating profile. Also, discuss children at beginning dates, if you don’t want it to look like you are hiding something.
Find a hobby
Immersing yourself into dating can have dangerous consequences. If you are holding on to your partner way too much, you are likely to come off needy — the status of being divorced already puts us in the risk zone. So, you want to make sure that dating isn’t the only joy in your life.
Take your time after the divorce and find a way to do things that you always wanted to do. It doesn’t have to be cool or beneficial for a career. I started playing the violin — because it made me feel better and gave a sense of accomplishment. My friend took up yoga — and it seemed to make a difference in the dating life.
Look for common interests
The whole opposites-attract rule is fun at the beginning, but as the relationship progresses, settling the differences gets more challenging. This is especially true for mature daters — because we already have clear priorities and values, and adapting to the partner’s mindset is a challenge.
Even if an opposite partner makes you feel excited, you need to think long-term. Unless you are both ready to adjust, it’s going to be an uphill battle
Best apps and sites for starting over after divorce
The most important thing in divorce dating is to make the first step. This is my collection of favorite destinations, both for serious relationships and casual encounters.
|750k members||150k per months|
|4/5 hookup chance||High Sex Chance|
|low fraud risk||Verification email, phone, photo|
|$0.95 – $45.95 subscription price|
A fun dating website for people who want to get out of their comfort zone and try something new. Pure looks for matches in your area — and since this is a sex dating app, most people are down for physical relationships. The best thing is, it doesn’t have to be just a hookup. The community has a lot of members with a mature mindset who wouldn’t mind continuation.
|40 million members||2 millions per week|
|4/5 hookup chance||High Sex Chance|
|medium fraud risk||Verification email, phone number, Facebook|
|$9.99 - $120 subscription price|
An excellent way to feel relevant after taking a long break from dating. Tinder is a go-to place for dating newbies so that you won’t feel out of place. It’s popular among millennials and older daters alike, plus you have millions of users to choose from.
|10 million members||1 million daily logins|
|3/5 hookup chance||Medium Sex Chance|
|low fraud risk||Verification Facebook|
|$7.95 - $23.70 subscription price|
I love OkCupid for its open-minded community. People here prefer to speak directly about their political views, habits, interests. After going through a relationship that failed due to misunderstanding, it’s nice to meet direct and outspoken people. You can search here MILF or use the site for shemale hook up, any sexual desires are fulfilled here.
|3/5 hookup chance||Medium Sex Chance|
|low fraud risk||Verification Facebook, phone numbe|
|$24.99 - $119.99 subscription price|
This dating app is my guilty pleasure. I am not a big fan of calculated approach to matchmaking — instead, I’d prefer casual meetings and old-fashioned romance. Happn manages to combine the two: whenever I pass another member on the street, we’ll both get alerts. These notifications are fun to receive, and you always have a conversation starter for approaching a stranger.
Is it okay to date while going through a divorce?
Yes, if you are sure that you have no feelings for the partner. There are technical difficulties, however — it’s hard to be emotionally and physically available for the partner when you are going through trials, documentation issues, and financial disputes. I’d recommend seeing a therapist first. Even if there are all signs you are ready for divorce, you still need time to process the changes.
How do I love again after divorce?
It would help if you stopped the blame. Women are more likely to take their frustration out on the partner, seeing a man as a bad guy, while men typically reserve the guilt for themselves. Both strategies are destructing for future relationships. If you are still feeling angry, you won’t be able to face the challenges of the new relationship with an open mind.
How do I find my partner after divorce?
Start with online dating — it’s the easiest way to sort matches and learn the most about a future date. Try serious relationships and casual hookups — you don’t have to box yourself in a particular type of dating.
How do you make a divorced man fall in love with you?
You shouldn’t expect him to move on from his previous relationship quickly. This requires a lot of hard work, and there will be moments when you’ll feel left out or worry about being a rebound. You need always to talk these concerns out and accept that he might never fully move on from his previous relationship. It’s a work in progress, and it might be like that for a long time.
How soon after divorce should you date?
There are no specific limits — you can do it pretty much as soon as you feel ready. Be sure to take care of yourself first — ten to your health, appearance, find a hobby.
What are the five stages of a divorce?
People who went through divorce usually go through stages of grief that are commonly underwent after the death of a loved one. Psychologically, these two events are similar — someone you loved is no longer available for you as much as it used to be. These stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Some people feel several steps more acutely than others, but generally, everyone has to go through them all.
Is there life after divorce?
Of course, but you need to invest in your well-being and become your person. If a divorce was an emotional struggle for you, don’t rush dating. I would advise doing therapy and trying new things to get out of the comfort zone that doesn’t necessarily involve other people.
Pure is for real meetings, not endless chats online
Pure users have only an hour to chat before their profiles disappear. In one hour, you send a casual sex request to potential matches near your location, discuss your desires, and share contact detail to set up an offline date. If you want to repeat the search and find other matches, you have to create a new profile. No worries, it takes a minute.
The bottom line
Dating after a divorce is fun. I know that I likely made it sound challenging, but it’s refreshing to get out there again and test everything you knew about relationships with new people. Not only it helped me to cope with the solitude, but it resolved my insecurities about looks and habits. Divorce lands a hit on self-esteem, and smart dating is a great way to minimize the damage.
Ultimately, the best you can do is avoiding expectations. Pay attention to your hunches and urges — you deserved to respect what your mind and body want. It’s going to be okay, as long as you are getting occasional reality-checks from family and friends.