I’ve accomplished many things in my (short) adulthood and divorce is one of those things on that list. For the anonymity of everyone involved let’s call him Todd. The long and the short of it is this, Todd and I were young, stupid and in lust. Not love — lust. I was a single mom looking to make a family and he was an addict looking for someone to take care of him. The relationship was doomed from the very beginning. I’ll skip the gory details and launch into the waters I’m surfing now…dating after divorce.
As most divorcees would say my first love after being divorce was alcohol. We had a date practically every night. It was always at home waiting for me to return from a long day of work to give me the temporary relief I needed to make it through another night. Our relationship was solid until I became too dependent on alcohol to keep me steady. One thing led to another and I found myself in AA (read Sober Dating in a Drinking World for more on that). No longer did I have alcohol to fall back on. It was time to put my big girl panties on and enter the world as the damaged, hands full of baggage, single mom that I am. Get ready world!
I didn’t have the slightest clue how to begin dating after being married. Being the kind of woman I am I typically jump head first into things without fully thinking them through — thus the failed marriage. I got caught up in the whirlwind that is the honeymoon phase and naively thought it will last forever. This led me to immediately seek solace in a best friend’s uncle. A 17 year age gap. I know. I know. But he was handsome, didn’t need me to support him and treated me like a lady. It was nice and it reminded me that there were still decent guys out there.
That ended after a few short months — let’s be honest, there was no longevity there — and once again I was left feeling empty and wondering where had I gone wrong.
That right there was one of the biggest things I had to change in order to change my dating habits. I had to stop thinking of myself as the problem and realize that some people just don’t fit together. Simple as that. Have you read the book “He’s Just Not That Into You”? That should tell you all you need to know.
I was single for quite a while but during that time I learned a lot about what it takes to get back into dating after divorce and I want to share these tips with you.
1) Don’t take everything so seriously. Just because you have one good date with a decent guy does not mean you’ll soon be living happily ever after.
2) Take it sloooooooooow. There’s no rush at all to get into another serious relationship. Odds are you’re still recovering from your marriage in ways that may not have made their way to the surface yet.
3) Take time for yourself. Get to know what you do and don’t like about yourself first. That way, you’ll know what qualities to look for in a mate.
4) Make a list of ideal characteristics in a partner. Then you won’t settle for Johnny down the street when he doesn’t truly meet your qualifications. Be as specific as you want with realistic expectations. (I’d love to marry Prince Harry but the odds probably aren’t in my favor there.)
5) Reconnect with your friends and learn to lean on them when you’re feeling down. It can take years to fully recover from a divorce and instead of turning to the bottle, like I did, turn to the people that love you.
These are the biggest lessons I’ve learned entering the dating world as a divorcee.
Do you have any tips/suggestions you’d like to add to this list? I’m all ears! Send your thoughts to email@example.com
– Searching Stella
(Photo Cred: Astronomical Indie, Tumblr)