You thought your dating days were over, but now your relationship is ended, he’s out of your life and everything changes, you may wonder how this dating thing works, without putting too much pressure on yourself.
Getting into the swing of dating is harder when you’ve experienced the closeness of a relationship and its ultimate breakdown. After divorce putting yourself out there can seem pretty overwhelming. “You may feel frightened, cynical, inadequate, or just sad because your marriage didn’t work out,” says Sherrie Schneider, co-author of The New Rules: The Dating Dos and Don’ts for the Digital Generation. “But one of the best ways to get over your divorce is to date.” Getting back into the right mindset and diving back into the pool before too much time passes is key. We have a few snippets of dating information that might help you get kick-started.
Get back out there.
It’s important to get over your ex and take time for yourself. You can largely ignore what you think people might be saying about you – it’s your life, not theirs. But beware of waiting too long. Hesitating can lead to getting stuck in a rut, which makes moving on even harder, says Ellen Fein, co-author of The New Rules with Schneider. “Dating is like exercise. You have to just do it, not think about it.” Some relationship professionals say it’s quite healthy to wait a few months. Others say 6 months is a good time. Ask yourself what you’re comfortable with and what honestly feels right. If you feel you have some important issues of therapy to work on, that’s cool, but don’t allow that to be an excuse. You’ll get the urge to make some effort to get out and socialise, for fear of loneliness taking grip, and the odd night out is a great idea and perfectly right, but understand what is “dating” and what is “going out”.
You probably experienced many ups, and many downs in your closing relationship, and before your marriage started to run its course, you might recall that some bits of your single life were maybe not so glamorous, other bits were just OK, while some was utterly brilliant. You fell in love and at the time your life as a partner in marriage was laid out. Divorce was never anticipated. There were good times. Being a single girl. Pre=marriage there were a few things that you never thought you’d miss – until you got married. You possibly, even then, hadn’t realised what you were missing – like staying out late for a few too many drinks, or juicy gossip sessions with the girls. Think back to the fun stuff and revive those special things (or at least grown-up versions of them). “After divorce, people should take time to fall in love with themselves again,” says life coach and dating expert Sandy Weiner. “That means identifying your strengths, finding hobbies you may have neglected, spending time with supportive friends and enjoying your new-found freedom.” And consider investing some new-found energy into your career so you can aim for promotion or a pay rise. It’ll
make you feel great and you’ll be more attractive to potential partners. and widen your social circles to encompass a different breed of man.
Manage your sexual encounters.
When it comes to sex, listen to your heart. A one night stand is fair game if that’s the level of intimacy you’re ready for, but make sure you feel secure with this. Researchers believe that the oxytocin release you experience during sex can cause you to be prematurely attached. This isn’t really something you need if you’re unsure of how far you want things to go. “You should feel comfortable and that he is making you a priority,” says Fein. “Sex is only anxiety-producing when you don’t know where you stand emotionally.” Weiner suggests you ask yourself if you’re feeling respected, valued and understood for who you are. If the answer is yes, go for it. But if you’re not quite there yet, hey, a little anticipation never hurt anyone.
Don’t air your dirty laundry.
It’s maybe a big deal for you, that the trauma of divorce gives you plenty of baggage you need to get off your chest. But don’t let those feelings cloud the early phase of dating after divorce. “Don’t tell him your whole life story, don’t put down your ex, and don’t get into the nitty gritty of your marriage,” says Schneider. Take your time and be choosy about who you share the details of your previous marriage with because over-sharing too soon can lead to freaked-out dates, as well as regrets on your part. Consider that information sacred until your new partner has earned it.
Keep your kids out of it.
Let your your parenting role remain separate from your dating life and the close encounters with new men appearing in your life. It’s unhealthy and unfair to expose your kids to a revolving door of men, says Weiner. So avoid introducing your kids to a guy until you’ve developed serious feelings for one another, and he’s expressed an interest in meeting them. Talk to them first about the new guy in your life so you can hear their questions and worries, and keep the first meeting short and sweet so you don’t overwhelm them. Use common sense and be sensitive to your kids’ needs. “Respect their privacy,” says Schneider.”Your kids are not fodder for your dates—in fact, they are really none of his business until he talks about a future.”
Join a few online dating sites
Dip your toe in the water without feeling any obligation to make a purchase. Try sites like Xflirt (of course) and maybe Match.com. Lovestruck or eHarmony. Research shows that not only do one in three people meet their spouses online, but those marriages are also more satisfying and less likely to end in divorce than those that began in more traditional ways. So how do you create a perfect profile? Keep it light, breezy and not too personal, says both Schneider and Fein. Think of your favorite movies, Music, food or sport, not the grizley details of your divorce. No matter what, don’t take the dating process too seriously. The best dating sites do all the work for you, working non-stop for you. By spending just a few hours online, you could probably line up a date every week for the next few months. Need proof? A recent Match.com poll revealed that online daters went on an average of 4.2 dates in 2014, while offline daters averaged just 2.8 dates in the same time period.
Keep an open mind.
Over the years you’ve merged characteristics with your ex’s tendencies. You developed and grew as a couple. So the novelties and quirks of new men may baffle, enthrall or bug you, and it’s natural to compare new men to your ex, but keep in mind that what you wanted in a man back then doesn’t actually hold true today. “You’ve changed, and what you’re looking for has changed, so appreciate that you have a blank slate to start over,” says Schneider. Your ex might have favoured old-fashioned steak dinner dates, but the beardy hippie who wants to cook dinner for you has his own brand of charm. Have fun going out with lots of different types of people and doing different things that you may have never considered trying before. Also, avoid thinking steroe-types and don’t make assumptions. “Remember that each new man you date is not the one who hurt you,” says Weiner. “So be open and compassionate with each one, while still protecting yourself and being aware of red flags.”
Extracts from the book – The New Rules: The Dating Dos and Don’ts for the Digital Generation.
The Rules taught a generation of women how to turn their dating misery into marriage success. Dating gurus Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider showed millions of women how ‘playing hard to get’ could help them capture the heart of Mr Right. Their book proved controversial, sparked worldwide debate and became a publishing phenomenon.
But that was all before Twitter, Facebook, online dating, texting and BBM. There are now even more ways to mess up your dating life. Ellen and Sherrie are regularly inundated with messages from women wanting to know: how to maintain a good profile on Facebook, the rules for texting, emailing and tweeting, and how to spot cheaters and players. This is the new dating bible for Rules Girls who want to have a good time dating without getting hurt or played.
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