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The Dos and Don’ts of Dating After Divorce

Dating after getting divorced
Divorcee couple meeting on a date.

Dating, in general, can be an emotional roller coaster, but dating after a major life event like a divorce requires navigating many emotions all at once—excitement, fear, insecurity, stress, uncertainty. But taking a leap to date again can be a critical part of the healing process, allowing you to experience romance and love again. It is a major milestone to return to dating and you should be proud of yourself, but you may feel a little lost and “rusty.” Here are some dos and don’ts of dating after divorce. 

DO date outside of the box

Almost everyone has a “type” or ideal person in their head when they think about a potential mate in terms of looks, interests, or aesthetics. However, if your “type” led you to your ex, it’s probably a good idea to let go of any assumptions you have about people outside your ideal. Dating after divorce is the time to step outside your comfort zone. Try to refrain from dating the same type of person who may lead you down the same path.

DO write down your must-haves

While you should consider dating outside your “type,” it’s a great idea to determine the must-have qualities you want in a partner. Do some self-reflection and identify what didn’t work in your past marriage and what you absolutely can’t live without in a new partner. This will help guide you while dating because the romance and excitement of the first dates with a new partner can delude us.

DO take it slow

Dating after divorce can be emotional and overwhelming, but the process should be a positive experience overall. If you are not enjoying the process, take a break for self-care. It’s normal for emotions regarding your ex to pop up even if you consider yourself completely over them. Relationships and a true connection take time. It’s also helpful to shift your perspective by enjoying the journey of dating without trying to get to a “destination” too soon.

DO remember to listen more

After a divorce, it’s common to feel emotions of guilt or feel responsible for the failure of your marriage. This can result in rebound feelings that you have to overcompensate or oversell yourself while dating. These feelings are natural. A great piece of dating advice is to focus on learning more about the other person. This helps weed out people that aren’t worth your time early on.

DO trust your intuition

Intuition is a powerful guide when it comes to dating. If things don’t feel right or if they remind you too much of the qualities of your ex, trust that gut feeling and move on. You don’t always have to understand why things don’t work or why attraction isn’t there.

DO freshen up your look

After getting past hard feelings, divorce should be an opportunity to refresh your entire life. You now have the opportunity to pursue your own fashion choices, interests, and hobbies without a partner’s opinions or preferences and you should seize the opportunity to do so! A great place to start is refreshing any accessories or clothing that has memories associated with your ex. If you want to take it a step further, try something new that will boost your confidence. For example, women can change up their skincare routine or men can try a hair growth product to address some common insecurities.

DON’T be afraid of intimacy

It’s completely normal to be a little fearful of intimacy after a divorce. You likely haven’t had to be vulnerable with a new partner for a long time. Try to focus on being body-confident knowing that your partner is probably feeling all the same things too. If you have any insecurities about sex, be proactive. It could be a good idea to have a personal lubricant or an ED medication on hand to quell any performance anxiety. Finding your new groove can be scary, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

DON’T be afraid or ashamed of telling your loved ones

Divorces come with all sorts of shame, but having the courage to put yourself out there and date again should not be a source. It might be the best thing for you to tell your circle of friends and family about your new love life. They might have insight into the people you’re dating or be able to help you make great connections.

DON’T settle out of fear of loneliness

If you are feeling lonely, try to fill your needs for companionship through family or friendships based on mutual interests. Settling in a romantic relationship can be damaging after the tumult of a divorce and discourage the drive to meet new people. There are now more ways than ever to connect with others. Facebook groups or speed dating sites like CitySwoon are a fantastic way to find and connect with others.

In the end, remember to have fun, prioritize self-care, and not put too much pressure on yourself. Allowing yourself to experience romance again and being open to love is a huge accomplishment in itself. Feel free to refer back to these tips throughout the dating process.