Jumping back into the dating pool may not sound exciting, especially after a not-so-great marriage, but there are a few things to keep in mind before moving ahead. The journey can be fun if you’re willing to put a few things into perspective.
- Your ex-partner is not your next partner. For many, starting over after a divorce isn’t exactly high on the want list. If you’ve decided to give love another shot, it’s hard not to bring baggage from your previous relationship into your new. Finding the balance between what to let go of and what to hold on to will be difficult. What’s most important to remember is that your ex-partner is not—and does not represent—your next partner. Don’t compare your former spouse to the next person you meet. The new person in your life does not deserve your criticism, ridicule, distrust or mistreatment. If the new person in your life hasn’t done anything to create concern, you are only sabotaging yourself by making comparisons. Let go and move forward.
- Find solace in friends. Your friends can be your best defense after a terrible breakup. They know you, your history and can provide the insight you will need to help you navigate through the tough terrain called dating. Surround yourself with a positive support system and ask for help when you feel like the process is too overwhelming. Dating is an emotional ordeal, but if you have a great team to cheer you up when things go wrong (because they will), you will make it through with flying colors.
- Find your dating purpose No one wants to be alone. As uncomfortable as you may be with this notion, it is important that you understand that dating does not cure loneliness. In fact, dating can make loneliness even worse due to disappointment in prospects, high expectations and rejection. If you are not fully prepared for the journey, you are almost guaranteed to fail. Take some time to evaluate your purpose for wanting to find love again. Decide if those reasons are strong enough to support the process. You may find that you are still healing and if you are, let yourself heal! Trust that you will meet someone special when the time is right.
- Don’t give yourself a deadline. I have met so many divorcées in my matchmaker lifetime who have said that they wanted to be married or in a relationship in one year, next fall or by 2017. Dating does not have a shelf-life and neither do you. You will not expire if you don’t meet and marry the man or woman of your dreams by next year. What happens if you don’t meet that deadline? You will start dating men or women for the wrong reasons, i.e. “She doesn’t want children, but we’re discussing marriage!” “He’s been married four times, but he really is sweet.” Don’t place limits on yourself! When dating after a long hiatus, it is crucial to let nature take its course. You may not meet “the one” on the first five dates. You may not on the 10th. What’s important is that you don’t give up. Focus more on making friends than finding a husband or wife.
- Expect only the unexpected. Dating after divorce can be fun and exciting if you keep your expectations to a minimum. Many crack under the pressure once they realize that what they’re looking for is harder to find than expected. There is a reason why the game of love is called a game. Either you’re on the winning side or the losing side, but you always have a choice. You can win by choosing to expect the unexpected, and look at dating as the adventure it is. Or you can lose by putting too much pressure on yourself and the experience.
Step back. Relax. It’s going to be okay. Many who have divorced have gone on to remarry. Don’t rush the process.
Jasmine Diaz is a celebrity matchmaker, author and dating strategist with over 15 years experience helping celebrities, athletes and business professionals across the United States.