Let’s be honest: divorce is not a picnic, especially when there are more than two of you involved. It’s more than dividing assets; you’re trying to divide a life you shared into two while taking care not to break the little hearts you both created who are looking at you and watching (and listening to) every move you make.
Add in the pressure of the idea of having to date again after divorce, and it can feel like TOO MUCH. It can honestly just be really intimidating and uncomfortable. I had been with my husband for 14 years when we split, and to say I was terrified to go on my first date would be a massive understatement. But I learned, through trial and error – believe me, that it doesn’t have to be such a scary thing. It’s actually possible (and exciting) to have fun dating again after divorce.
Divorce Isn’t Fun, But Dating Should Be
“What if he tries to kiss me? What if I’m not attracted to him? How awkward is it going to be when it comes time to settle the bill?” All of these thoughts swirled through my head as I nervously shaved my legs for some random dude I met on the Internet, wondering where my life went so wrong. “This is too hard. I should be married right now,” I thought, with one more pass of the razor.
Spoiler alert, my first date post divorce definitely wasn’t my type. And I excused myself from the date to go home early and watch the final episode of Game of Thrones. He tried to walk me to my car, but I just rushed off so he couldn’t. That was an awkwardness I just didn’t wasn’t ready to deal with.
I didn’t let this first experience discourage me, though. I continued to date, learn, and discover more about myself and what I really want in my life right now.
I thought that I wanted to find a new husband to replace what I had lost. Someone to help me raise my kids. Someone to turn to after a long day and rest with.
But the sobering statistic that 67% of second marriages in the United States also end in divorce slowed me down. I took a step back to self-reflect and heal (which is never fun, is it?)
What I found was that I don’t really want to get married again… at least not yet.
What I really want to do is play with my children without the toxicity of a dying marriage in the home.
What I really want is to grow my business and serve my clients as much as I want to without needing to find balance with a spouse.
And gosh darn it! The truth is I got married young. I never had the “college experience”, and my list of desired bedroom experiences is long! HA! I want to go out and date for the fun of it. I want to explore my body on my own. And I want to explore my body with different partners. AND I want to do it all without an ounce of shaming.
How about you?
One of the biggest mistakes I see women make when dating after divorce is making it all about finding their next husband.
Most women don’t even realize they are dating with this intention. It’s just that, like me, after years of being settled into the comfort of a committed relationship, they think that’s what they are supposed to want. Their bodies are literally wired to seek that out.
But this is part of the challenge (and fun!) after divorce… taking the time to self reflect and discover who you really are and what you really want in life.
Women frequently ask me, “When is the right time to start dating again?” I don’t believe there is a magic amount of time that one must wait before she can start dating someone new. Each divorce is different. Each woman is different. Just know this:
Dating Should be Fun
If it ever gets to the point where it feels like a job or a burden, take a step back. You cannot attract a sexy, healthy, masculine, powerful man from this needy energy. Feminists, relax. The same can be said for a man entering into dating with the same energy. And let’s not dismiss the fact that this is SO easy to do. But I’ve learned to recognize when I’m diving in too fast, too hard.
If I ever find myself behind the screen, staring at a dating app, and wondering where all the good men have gone, I shut it off and take a step back. That’s a sign for me that it’s time to head back to my journal and take an honest look at what is being reflected to me.
Take Time to Develop and Listen to Your Intuition
Your inner knowing will lead you to the best experiences and relationships for your soul’s journey.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Well dating is no different. Some men show up to help us learn a lesson. Some help us love parts of ourselves we couldn’t before. And hell, some men just show up to remind us of what we do NOT want in a partner. But even that is helpful and serves a purpose. It is all here for our highest good.
Always Practice Open and Honest Communication
Practice this even when it’s hard, and even in moments where your partner isn’t.
Don’t worry about making some guy your “rebound.” To me, a rebound is someone you intentionally go out and sleep with to “get over” your ex. The women I coach are never actually doing this. What they are doing is moving on, calling in new relationships, and having new experiences. This is normal.
Someone will have to be your first relationship after your divorce, but he doesn’t have to be reduced to your rebound. With open and honest communication about what you are looking for in a relationship, and where you are in your healing process, the relationship can actually help you heal.
Always remember… divorce isn’t fun, but dating should be!
Take time to enjoy the journey. Allow it to be a tool that helps you heal and release the patterns that attracted your ex-husband. Now is the time to reinvent yourself. Give yourself grace and patience. I promise you that your future self will be so grateful when you do call in the lover you actually desire and deserve.
For more dating tips, check out Sarah Michelle’s Youtube video 3 Top Tips for Women Dating.