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Dating After Divorce: Part 2

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UPDATED: In the first part of our dating after divorce article, we spoke with local relationship expert and mental health counselor Torr Lindberg. He laid out some common obstacles and pitfalls men face when they jump back into the dating pool following the end of a marriage.

In our second installment, we continue this conversation. Topics include tips and strategies for segueing back into the dating scene. First off, Torr highlights the importance of evaluating your readiness to date following divorce. 

To this end, he poses a few simple questions:

  • Are the reasons why your last relationship failed still a mystery to you?
  • Do you blame your ex for the relationship failing?
  • Do you continue to see similar issues show up in your non-romantic relationships?

If you answer any of these questions with a resounding yes, you might want to consider holding off on dating for the time being. These answers indicate you may have unresolved issues and that you likely harbor resentment toward your ex. You may have other things to work on before you start dating again.

In our conversation, Torr said, “Holding onto resentment is like eating rat poison in an attempt to kill the rat.” 

Resenting your ex has no impact on them. But it certainly does on you. Holding on to negative feelings only hurts you and can potentially damage new relationships. Working to let go of resentment and address the root causes behind the failure of previous relationships is a powerful first step towards successful dating after divorce.

Related Reading: Dating After Divorce: Part 1

Are You Ready to Date Again?

If you answer no to these questions, and feel that the time is right, you may be ready to return to that dating life.

In the first part of our discussion, we touched on expectations. It’s also important to adjust your expectations for a new relationship. Most people don’t find that sweeping, epic movie-style romance. That’s simply not how reality works most of the time.

However, it is vital to know what you want, what you need, and what you’re looking for in a relationship. Take stock of your values, who you are as a person, and what’s most important to you. This gives you a solid foundation on which to build future relationships.

Torr recommends identifying what you’re passionate about as a first step. Make a list of the things that move you the most; the things that excite you, fascinate you, or make you feel alive. From that list, select one or two you’d like to know more about or explore.

Related Reading: 10 Great Movie Dads

Indulge Your Passion

Once you identify what you’re passionate about, indulge that passion. Find clubs, organizations, and groups that share the same interests. There are groups online and IRL meetups for any interest you can name. If you’re into it, so is someone else. Participating in activities that stimulate you is not only fun, but shared interests provide the natural opportunity for friendships to develop.

You don’t even have to dive into these groups for the express purpose of dating. Torr notes that it’s important not to use this kind of activity solely to find romantic partners. It’s a way to indulge in your hobbies with like-minded people. If something more develops, great. If not, no loss. If you only want to find love, you’ll likely walk away disappointed.

This type of activity allows you to become more comfortable with yourself and who you are. When you get there, and surround yourself with people with similar interests, Torr notes the opportunity for romantic relationships may emerge organically. Try it and see what happens.

Related Reading: How Fantasy Sports Can Help Divorced Dads

Use Online Dating With Caution

These days there’s a dating app or website for every interest group. People looking for adventures, those with specific political beliefs, even dog lovers have their own outlets. You can log in, create a profile, and within minutes, you’re swiping left or right on singles in your area.

That may sound great, like an easy way to jump back into dating after divorce. After all, thousands of people use this strategy and there’s a ton to choose from. But Torr advises using proceeding with caution before using these outlets.

Dating apps certainly come with extensive opportunities to find dates. But they also come with ample opportunity for rejection. Following a divorce, this can be particularly painful.

Online dating profiles also rarely provide an accurate look at a person, or at least the whole person. People can pretend to be anyone online—we’re not talking about catfishing, but about misrepresentation. If you think you’re meeting one person, but meet someone who doesn’t resemble their profile, it can leave you feeling misled or disappointed.

While getting back into dating following a divorce, consider keeping your interactions offline and in-person. This can help establish real, meaningful bonds grounded in actual connection, not a collection of carefully curated facts that only paint a partial picture.

It’s easy to be intimidated when dating for the first time after divorce. You’ve probably been out of the game for some time and things may have changed. It’s important to make sure you’re ready and not rushing into anything. But with patience, persistence, and realistic expectations, looking for love after divorce can be extremely rewarding.

Related Reading: Legal Marijuana and Child Custody: Can I Still Smoke Weed?

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