Dating after a divorce can be a daunting task. Even amicable divorces are exhausting and lengthy processes and getting over the end of a marriage is never easy. When you’re ready to get back out there and face the dating pool again, you may feel that you’re unprepared for what your life will be like now that you are divorced. How will the conversations go? How do you bring up your divorce? Do you bring it up? Your dating vocabulary will have changed now, but so will your perception of what you want (and don’t want) in a relationship. We’ve compiled 5 Tips for Dating After a Divorce:

5Not Everyone is Your Ex

Even if your divorce was relatively amicable, there’s a reason the marriage didn’t work. This is even harder if your marriage did not end well, as many don’t. It can be hard to go back out there and give everyone you meet a fair shot, but looking at every woman or man you meet like they are a new incarnation of your ex is only sabotaging your chances at happiness. Distrust towards a new partner based solely on their sex will fry your chances of ever being happy with someone again. If you can’t date without comparing everyone negatively to your ex, you may need more time to recover from the shock of your divorce.

4Be Gentle With Yourself

The time after a divorce is delicate. You may feel shame about the end of your marriage and discomfort with people’s knowledge about such an intimate part of your life. You will be setting up a new life with new structures, schedules and a new home. It’s important to remember that you have been wounded and you don’t need to go ripping back onto the playing field after a month. Take time to meet yourself again as a single person and remain true to your basic beliefs and principles.

3Don’t Get Involved In a Rebound Relationship

You’re hot and single and ready to mingle, but are you really? Jumping from your marriage directly into a new relationship may seem tempting, but the chance of hurting yourself and someone else is very high. You may be lonely after your divorce and seeking companionship or be anxious to find that settled routine you once had with your old partner, but this behavior often spells disaster.
First, spend time with yourself and figure out if you enjoy your own company. Has your divorce left you feeling jagged and bitter? Mend those wounds by spending time with yourself and pursuing interests. Rebound relationships often fail because the partner getting out of a relationship hasn’t accurately considered whether they and their new partner are actually well suited. Don’t do that to yourself or someone else. Take your time.

2Make a list of your “must haves” and your “must not haves”

Coming out of a divorce, you may feel that you know exactly what you want and don’t want in a new relationship, but in reality it can be very beneficial to sit down and write down what it is you really want. Divorce can cloud our judgment and makes us see every one of our exes qualities as bad, but you may be overlooking aspects of your relationship you enjoyed and what you would also enjoy again.
On the other hand, you may be a lot more familiar now with your deal-breakers, or even with things that seemed innocuous at first that ended up driving you insane. See what those things are so you’ll know what to look for when you’re back on the dating scene.

1Let go of your expectations

Unfortunately, dating after divorce is not a Nicholas Sparks novel. The chances that you will meet the true love of your life on your first online date aren’t likely. Be willing to see every date as a lesson and a new experience, not as a potential love match. No one is perfect and no date is perfect. Not every date you go on will be good, but they will all teach you something new about yourself. If you go into each date viewing it as a positive, but weightless experience, you will get the chance to meet new people without feeling crushed if it doesn’t work out.

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