The Loneliness of Going through Divorce
You are hurt, lonely, and yearning for companionship when you go through a divorce. Men especially report that their wife is their life, and they are anxious about being on their own without their spouse.
Just as it’s hard to get used to being single again, it can be hard for those that care about you to see you hurting. Well-intentioned friends and family members may want to sign you up for dating apps or set you up on dates. But you aren’t sure you are ready, as you are still healing from the hurt and pain of divorce.
Single Again and Trying to Decide if Ready to Date
When it comes to being ready to date after a divorce, the timing is an individual decision that varies from person to person. Some people are eager to start a new relationship and begin dating shortly after separating with their spouse. These individuals find comfort in developing new relationships. While others want to take their time before they start dating, so they focus on being comfortable being single first. And even some men and women decide they are content not dating and staying single.
So how do you sort out if you are ready to start dating again after divorce? With divorce comes lower confidence and more self-doubt, so it can be especially challenging to sort out thoughts from feelings and make decisions. Trust your inner wisdom, and if you are interested in dating then take steps to get ready for a new adventure!
5 Steps to Get Yourself Ready to Date after Divorce
I know many divorced men and women haven’t dated in many, many years. And just thinking about dating gets your heart rate accelerating! Here are a few steps that have helped other single again individuals work through getting ready to date after divorce:
- Reflect on Your Desired Purpose for Dating: First, stop and ask yourself what is the reason behind your wanting to date. If its to make your friends or mom happy, don’t do it! People identify many different reasons behind their desire to date: to manage loneliness, to have someone to talk to, to search for their next marriage partner, to find a co-parent to help raise their children, to get over their ex. Once you identify what’s driving you to want to date right now, make sure it aligns with your desired purpose for dating. Consider your mind when following your heart.
- Develop Friendship Support System: Dating and marriage don’t meet all of our social and emotional needs. So, it’s best to start off developing and growing your friend and family support system before dating. That way if dating gets bumpy, you won’t be right back where you started. You will also be less urgent and desperate when dating if you have more than one way to meet your social needs.
- Wait Until Emotions Over Ex Lighten: It takes time to get through the intense emotions of divorce, and if you are still at the height of the emotional intensity, consider waiting to start dating. That way you are more emotionally available to date and are less likely to compare each date to your ex. Most importantly, if you are still trying to get back together with your ex, then that is another sign you aren’t quite ready to fully invest in a new relationship.
- Take an Adventure Perspective: If it’s been a while since you’ve dated, it’s totally different from online dating apps. You can date and be talking to many different men or women at the same time. Decide how many people you think you can manage to date or talk to at once. It will take practice to get your confidence back up, so think of each contact as an adventure. Some adventures you will enjoy, some you won’t, and others you will learn from.
- Hire a Counselor to Help You Work on Relationship Patterns: One of the invitations in divorce is to re-evaluate your life and your relationship patterns. Consider hiring a counselor who specializes in understanding problems and patterns in marriage and family. Working with a counselor you get more objective about the part you played in any marriage problems that contributed to divorce. In doing so, you accept the invitation to grow through your divorce recovery process.
While not everyone one of you will decide to date after a divorce, many of you will. Your heart is longing for personal connection, so remember there are many reasons people date and many ways to meet your social needs. Keep your head with you, so it can help lead your heart on this new adventure. You’ve got this!
How did you know you were ready to date after your divorce?
Marci Payne offers divorce counseling for men and women at her office in Lee’s Summit MO (near Blue Springs and Independence). One of her specialties is working with adults who are going through a divorce and want to be more confident being single again. Schedule a free 15-minute phone consult to determine if she is the best counselor for you.