Dating After A Divorce

You’ve heard the sad statistic that between fifty to sixty percent of marriages end in divorce. If we can believe that to be fact, over half of you reading right now have been down that path or may go down that path in the future (here is hoping you don’t). I’m in that statistic as well – divorced from a woman I married when we were both young.

And like you, I’ve had to re-enter the dating world once again. No doubt about it, mistakes were made. Fortunately nothing I couldn’t learn from and overcome. Hopefully I can give you the benefit of a man’s point of view, but also my own experiences from which to learn.

It’s strange – when I asked many of my friends their thoughts to help build this article, one huge piece of advice was given consistently. And that was that if you’re still technically married, don’t date.  A few cited concerns over nasty legal battles involving money and children, but most of them stressed that you aren’t ready.  I can’t speak from personal experience on the former, but the latter I can.

I was fortunate that my own divorce experience was cordial. In fact, we reconciled and remarried for a couple more years before we realized it just wasn’t working out. The first divorce was very hard on me, so I understand what my friends were trying to get across about not being ready. However, for the second one, the divorce was simply a legal proceeding, and the romantic love was already gone. When I re-entered the dating world I knew I was ready, or at least far more ready than before.

Knowing when you’re ready is the most important step. Once you are able to let go of any lingering anger and resentment, you’re well on your way. Two reasons for this – the first is that if you don’t, a “player” will be able to sense it a mile away, use that to his advantage over you, and then drop you hard, leaving you more emotionally scarred than before. Yes, there are men who actively look for women who are emotionally down and vulnerable.  They will then take advantage of your vulnerable state, to get what they are looking for.  In no way are they ever planning to have a serious relationship.

The second reason is that the good ones that women complain are “so hard to find” can also sense bitterness, and they’ll likely avoid you to protect themselves from getting emotionally invested in someone that may hurt them later.  A good quality man will be scared off by any woman that is still emotionally involved in a past relationship.  Even if you are over your ex-husband emotionally, you still may be emotionally involved in the legal proceedings that can take a toll on anybody.

A good rule of thumb: If you think about your divorce or situations surrounding your divorce more then not, don’t date.  If you find yourself talking to your friends about your divorce, don’t date.

No matter what, be honest. Don’t hide the fact that you’re newly divorced, or that you have children. If he’s worth your attention, he’s worth the truth. Besides, it’s all eventually going to be revealed anyway – wouldn’t it be smarter to get it out of the way before it has to be revealed, forcing a very awkward situation.

If you have children, you have a lot to consider. Depending on their age, they may not understand why you’re looking for anther companion that’s not their dad, or why they aren’t enough for you. I have no personal experience with this, but I do know that some of my more successful relationships post-marriage were with women that held off for a long time introducing their children into the mix – more to protect them than to scare me off.

The one thing to remember regardless of when you jump back in the pool – if you aren’t enjoying yourself, maybe it’s not for you. Leave the pressure to “get it right this time” at home, and you have a real shot at post-marriage dating success.

Here’s to you jumping back into the dating pool,

Mike Shepherd

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