• The Hopefulist

Dating after Divorce

Deciding to date again after a divorce can be one of the most frightening decisions. I think that is one of the biggest fears after a break up. Will I find someone again? Will I be destined to be alone? Will someone new want to do weird, kinky things in bed? (or is the last one just me?) These are all valid fears and I would say that we all feel them to some extent. But if you want to grow old next to someone, you will have to wade back in to that pool.

There are so many feelings that are floating around at such a volatile time. Is the divorce something that you wanted or are you completely heartbroken? In either situation, you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back out there. The number one thing to keep in mind is just because someone you love stopped loving you doesn't mean you are unlovable. I'm going to say that again, just because someone stopped loving you doesn't mean that you are unlovable. You are worthy and deserving of love. Never, ever forget that.

I understand that there is a lot of fear with diving back in. What if you end up getting hurt again? What if it turns out exactly the same? But, what if you meet the person you are meant to be with? What if it turns out to be even better than you could have imagined? A lot of people throwing around the term, starting over again. But you aren't where you once were. You have more experienced, more knowledge, more wisdom. You know what you want and you know what you don't want. You are in a position now where you won't be afraid to have the hard conversations and say; "hey, this is how I imagine my life playing out. I want open and honest communication about everything because I'd rather be hurt in the short term than be left after years of growing apart." You know the signs to look out for. You will recognize flags as they come up and you won't talk yourself around them this time. If you see a red flag, get out of there. Run, don't walk. People almost always show us who they are. We just have to see them clearly. Your ability to do that should be greater now. No matter how that person makes you feel, if they don't live their life in a way you want, it's time to go. Yes, use your head. It really does come in handy.

Where do you start? I suggest you write out a list of the qualities you are looking for in a partner. And qualities you don't want. People will have a lot to say about the type of person you should be with. This is when your list of must have's and no way jose comes in to play. Once you have it figured it out you won't be as susceptible to others input. If someone says; "oh, you don't want that" you already know if you do or don't. Make a list from your head and then let your heart in on the deal. I remember when I was single, Dr. Phil said you can choose to love someone. I didn't agree with him at the time but I do to an extent now. Remember how your mom used to tell you it was just as easy to fall in love with a rich man than a poor one? It's something like that. I had a conversation one time with a co-worker about dating and I told him I wouldn't date someone who was poor. He really laid into me. He told me I was shallow and how horrible it was for me to judge someone over the amount of money they had. I told him it was about the life and lifestyle I wanted to live. If I wanted the good things in life, marrying someone poor wasn't going to get me there. Could I have passed up on the greatest love of my life? Maybe, but if it didn't include the life I saw for myself would I be happy? Because remember, you can only change yourself...you can never change someone who doesn't want to change no matter how much you love them.

Once you figure out the details, start dating. There has never been a better time to meet potential dates. A lot of the stigma has been cast aside with dating apps. So take advantage of them. I think they are a great thing. You certainly know a lot more about them from their profile than you would if you met them in a park, at your kids school, or at a bar. At least you can see their interests and some of their family information. Do they have kids? How old? Are they divorced, widowed, never married? I worked with a guy once who refused to use a dating app because he said he had a bad experience with someone he met through one. That seemed so silly to me. He obviously had bad experiences in relationships in the past but he wasn't ready to give up on finding love. You get what I'm saying?

Be open to new opportunities to meet people. Don't make it the most important thing in your life. Be casual. I know that can be hard. But making it the focal point of your life may set you up for disappointment if things don't go the way you hope. There is no rush, even if you feel like there is. Things will turn in their own time. Be part of it, don't try to control it. Yes, this is my past experience talking!

Even the thought of dating again can be scary. But it can also be thrilling and exciting and make you look forward to days in a way you haven't in a long time. Concentrate on the good part. Downplay the scary part. You'll be okay. And get on out there!

It's "I wish it were cocktail Friday" Thursday. How will you spend this Thursday? I hope you think a little about your future and what you want that to look like. Now, go make today, your best day yet!

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