Even when you are the one to initiate separation or divorce—and regardless of how unhappy you might have been with your ex—the ending of a marriage is a significant life event. Make sure you take the time to acknowledge this significance. Journaling can be a great way to record lessons learned and mourn that past version of you. Additionally, if you feel that you would benefit from counseling or therapy, be sure to seek help and take care of yourself.
As soon as you can, though, it is wise to tip-toe back into the dating pool. Male attention has a way of energizing us and making us feel younger, prettier, and happier in general. The following tips for Dating After Divorce will ensure that you take things slow, protect your heart, and maintain healthy boundaries with your dates.
1. MAINTAIN REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. Sometimes a romantic euphoria can kick in when a woman starts dating again. You begin to imagine that all your relationship needs will now be fulfilled (especially if romance was waning in your marriage), and that each date brings the promise of lasting love. The danger is that you will open your heart too quickly, and project too-good-to-be-true qualities onto men who may not reciprocate your feelings.
2. TAKE IT SLOW. Put some rules into place so that you are sure to take things slowly with a new man, even when your heart says "Go!" Try seeing your guy only once or twice a week, to start. You will have a much easier time maintaining healthy boundaries, and ensure that you aren't neglecting other areas of your life, if you follow this rule. (As a side benefit, your guy may realize that in order to see you whenever he wants, he will need to marry you!)
3. BEWARE THE OFFICE FLIRT. Under other circumstances, attention from a friendly male co-worker or neighbor would be harmless. But when you're emotionally vulnerable, it can be easy to mistake friendliness for romantic intent, and waste time on a (one-sided) fantasy relationship. As a general rule, never assume that attention and flirting indicates true romantic interest. If a man wants to date you, he will ask you out. If you are sitting around wondering what his intentions are, he probably doesn't have any.
4. FOCUS ON FITNESS. I include this tip in all my posts because it is so important for life-long happiness. Investing in your health and fitness level has a guaranteed return that will positively impact every area of your life. So join the best gym you can afford, and work out regularly with a personal trainer. You'll enjoy the added bonus of meeting men who also embrace a healthy lifestyle.
5. ADD SINGLE FEMALE FRIENDS TO YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK. The next time you're out-numbered at a singles event, make sure you circulate among the other women in the room. You never know—that new gal pal may have a brother or co-worker who would be perfect for you. Also, it will help you to have one or two single friends with whom you can go to events and fill up your social calendar.
6. JOIN AN ONLINE DATING SITE. When a newly single woman tells me she's not ready for online dating, I remind her: Just because you post a profile does not mean you are obligated to actually go on a date. Maybe you will want to go when the right man contacts you and asks you out. Try it and see!
Robyn Wahlgast is a Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. Book a private consultation or subscribe to her FREE dating and relationship newsletter and get priority access to all new content.