Dating After Divorce; Especially Daunting for GuysApr 29, 2023
Dating after divorce can be a daunting prospect for anyone, but for men, it can feel particularly challenging. After all, divorce can be emotionally and financially draining, leaving some men feeling vulnerable and uncertain about how to even go about creating a future relationship.
However, it’s important to realize that divorce doesn’t have to be the end of one’s romantic life! On the contrary, with a positive attitude, a willingness to learn from your past mistakes, and some key dating strategies, you can navigate the dating scene after divorce with confidence and success.
As a relationship and intimacy coach for over two decades, I’ve been doing LifeStyle and Style Makeovers for hundreds of men who find themselves starting over after divorce, breakup, or widowhood; mostly unexpectedly.
The following are a few of the important points to consider if you find yourself starting over.
Take Time to Heal Before Jumping Back into a Relationship
Men who feel like they failed in their marriage or a past relationship, are concerned that the same thing could happen again, which it might if they don’t take time to heal and learn from their past experiences.
But unfortunately, t’s not uncommon for men to not want to be alone and feel lonely, and thus many rush into a new relationship to avoid feeling uncomfortable.
Rather than find yourself on the “rebound” it’s important to take time to heal from any emotional wounds caused by your last relationship and subsequent breakup. Even though your relationship is over, it doesn’t mean you are over it.
It seems logical to think that after one divorce, people are less likely to divorce again; that just maybe they learned some things through their experience and thus will emerge wiser, with a better sense of how to make a relationship work.
That certainly happens in some cases. People become more cautious and make sure a relationship is sturdy and stable before taking that next step into commitment. But that’s not how it happens in every case. Looking at the following current divorce statistics illustrates this point:
In reality, with each subsequent marriage, the chances of divorce greatly increase. The numbers break down like this:
- 41% of first marriages end in divorce.
- 60% of second marriages end in divorce.
- 73% of third marriages end in divorce.
I believe the cause of the increase in divorce rates for second and third marriages is due to people NOT taking the time they need to heal before jumping into another relationship.
Spend Time Alone
This can involve a range of activities, from spending time with friends and family to practicing self-care or engaging in therapy or coaching. The key is to give yourself the space and time you need to process your emotions and work through any unresolved issues. And, to get to know yourself as single rather than connected to someone else.
Be Honest with Yourself re: What You Want
One of the most important things you can do before you start dating after divorce, is to be honest with yourself about what happened in the past that worked as well as what did NOT work. This requires taking an inventory….
In other words, you need to clear your canvas to make room for a new version of yourself and a new, healthy relationship.
Once you’ve cleared your canvas, you’ll have space to delve deeply into designing what you truly desire in your next relationship.
Ask yourself the following:
What are my non-negotiables (or must haves)?
What are my deal breakers?
What are my preferences
Non-negotiables and deal breakers are opposites such as the following examples:
Non-negotiables < ----------------------------- > Deal Breakers
Wants children < ----------------------------- > Doesn’t want children
Non smoker < ----------------------------- > Smoker
Church < ----------------------------- > Non believer
420 Friendly < ----------------------------- > Never
Preferences are just that; something you prefer, as in it would be nice to have….but not a deal breaker. For example. I’m a skier and would prefer to be partnered with a skier, as it means a much more fun winter for me. But it’s not a deal breaker if someone doesn’t ski, as I can still get to the mountains.
Once you have a clear idea of what you want, you can be more intentional about the people you choose to date.
Embrace Online Dating
While online dating may have once been stigmatized, it’s now a mainstream way to meet potential partners. Dating apps and websites can help you connect with people who share your interests and values, and they can provide a low-pressure way to get to know someone before meeting in person. Just be sure to take safety precautions and don’t get too invested in someone before you’ve met them in real life.
Consider working with a dating coach who can help you create an effective online profile including great photos and the right copy representing this new version of yourself.
Dating after divorce can be challenging, and it’s important to be kind to yourself as you navigate this new territory. Practice self-compassion by acknowledging your feelings, treating yourself with kindness and understanding, and avoiding negative self-talk. Remember that you’re not alone; that many people have successfully navigated dating after divorce.
Dating after divorce can take time, and it’s important to be patient as you search for the right partner. You may need to go on several dates before finding someone you connect with, and you may need to learn from some less-than-ideal experiences before finding the right match. Be willing to take your time, and don’t settle for someone who isn’t right for you. Otherwise you might add to those divorce statistics!
Set Realistic Expectations
When dating after divorce, it’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself and your potential partners. While it’s natural to want to find someone who shares your interests and values, it’s also important to recognize that no one is perfect. Be willing to compromise on some things, and be open to getting to know people who may not initially seem like your ideal match.
Build a Support System
Having a strong support system can be invaluable when dating after divorce. This might include close friends or family members who can offer emotional support, as well as a therapist or counselor who can help you navigate unfamiliar territory. Having a professional to guide you is especially helpful for those of you who’ve been married for decades, and find yourself in a whole new, daunting world of dating.
Focus on Communication
Good communication is key to any successful relationship, and this is especially true when dating after divorce. Make an effort to be open and honest with your dates about your intentions, expectations, and boundaries. This can help you avoid misunderstandings and build trust and intimacy with your perspective partners. And since we weren’t taught all about dating and relationships in school, I recommend you take some courses, find a coach and consider this whole new chapter of your life as a research project! That way, if something works great it’s great research. And if it sucks, it’s also great research! Either way, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow.
You’re invited to my Master Class for men only!
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