Advice for Dating After Divorce

Dating after a divorce can be difficult. The longer the marriage lasted, the harder it may be to get back into dating new people. You may feel like so much has changed with the dating scene that you feel out of place. Following a few pointers can make it easier to meet someone, whether or not it leads to a serious relationship.

Work on Your Self-Esteem

It's hard to be an interesting prospect if you don't believe in yourself. Put negative thoughts aside, especially if you think you're unworthy of someone's love. Anyone coming from an abusive marriage, where they were constantly put down, should especially first work on improving their self-image. Believe that you're worth dating and that you deserve to meet someone.

Make a list of what you want in a person. While no one person may meet every requirement you have on that list, don't waste your time on dates who are "dealbreakers." If you don't want to date a woman who smokes, don't lower your standards just because you want to be with someone. Continue looking until you find a person who meets most of your criteria.

Take Baby Steps

For that first date with someone new, keep it casual and short. It's less pressure on the both of you to meet for coffee or lunch than for an elegant dinner at an expensive restaurant. Remember that you're trying to meet people, not necessarily your next spouse.

Plan fun activities together, whether it's a picnic, a museum outing, a concert or kayaking.

Keep the Ex to a Minimum

Once your dates know that you're divorced, you don't need to talk about your ex-spouse constantly, especially if you don't have anything nice to say. You can briefly explain why your marriage ended if your date wants to know, but don't badmouth your ex. Doing so gives a negative impression of you. If you're still in love with your ex, don't mention it. It's probably better for you not to date until you've worked out your feelings for your former spouse.

Meeting Your Kids

For divorced parents, wait a while before introducing your children to a date. You should tell your date right away that you have kids, but they don't need to meet on your first date. It can be hard on children to see their divorced mom or dad dating someone new, so if your new relationship becomes serious, you should talk to your kids about this new person in your life, why you like him and why you want them to get along.

If your dates don't like children or can't get along with your kids, it's better to move on and find someone who does.

Have a Support System

Whether it's close friends or family, have a supportive network around you. They can help evaluate your dates by giving an outside perspective that may be hard for you to have. Surround yourself with people who will be honest with you; if they see red flags, they should tell you.

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About the Author

Since 1996, Zoe London has written extensively on fashion, health, beauty, crafts and parenting. Her work has appeared in "Mahogany Magazine" and "The Kid Turned Out Fine".

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