Article: Dating After Divorce: 12 Tips for Getting Back in the Saddle

By: Julie Peirano

Regardless of who initiated the split, divorce takes quite a toll on a person. And once you’ve completed the necessary grieving process, adjusting to a new way of life is your next task at hand. Even though getting back out there can be tough, keep at it. Happy looks good on you, and you deserve it. Here are 12 tips worth following that’ll get you back in the saddle with ease.

1. Know when the time is right

Sad girl is holding heart symbol

Just because you’ve been divorced for a year doesn’t mean you’re ready to start dating again. The heart wants what the heart wants, so you may not be ready to get back out there. Even if you are, there’s no need to rush it. WebMD recommends going with your feelings, not the calendar. Don’t worry about sticking to some timeline just because you think it’s what you should be doing.

2. Determine what you need, and what you’re seeking in a partner

Man comforting his sad mourning friend

While recognizing your own emotional needs is crucial, it’s important to determine what you’re looking for in a partner as well. According to Divorce Magazine, “[I]f you don’t take the time to know what you want, you won’t recognize it when you find it, or you’ll waste your time by looking in the wrong place or at the wrong people.” Being sure of yourself, and what you want, will give you the best chance at another shot at love.

3. Be open to trying new things

couple on top of a mountain

Yes, the whole dating thing is new in and of itself, but it’s important to go beyond just the initial thought of getting back in the saddle. You may have to relearn how to flirt, or when’s the right time to initiate a conversation, but that’s OK. It’s all part of dipping your toes back into the dating pond. Your world is, or will be, significantly different post-divorce, so committing to an open-minded mentality is key in discovering this new chapter of your life. When you find someone you’re excited about, don’t be afraid to mix things up.

4. Avoid potentially toxic partners

a heterosexual couple lie on their stomachs in bed while they have a discussion

It’s more important now than ever to choose your company wisely. You’ve already dealt with heartbreak, so there’s no need to go searching for another relationship bound to fail. By now, you’re smart enough to know there are just certain types of people you should keep at a distance.

For instance, The Huffington Post recommends staying away from the trasher (aka the person who can’t stop trashing their ex), the sticker (aka the person who can’t stop praising their ex), and the jumper (aka the person who loves being in love). If you do find yourself falling for a toxic person, you’re only setting yourself up for disaster.

5. Don’t compare people to your ex

couple angry with one another

While you don’t want to date the “sticker,” you sure don’t want to be one, either. As you know, being open-minded is a huge part of getting back out there, and you don’t want to muddy the waters by placing your ex on a pedestal. Even if you think she’s the best mother in the world, or he’s the funniest guy you’ll ever meet, there’s no point in hanging onto these notions. Whatever the case may be, you and your ex called it quits for a reason, so looking for his or her exact clone isn’t really helping you to move on.

6. Don’t discount online dating

Woman wearing orange shirt texting on the smart phone

Keep in mind, lots of things may have changed since your single days. Depending on how long you were married, or even the number of years you and your ex were together, you may be surprised at how different the current state of dating has become. Don’t expect to return to the same status quo of what once was. If you met your ex in college, texting probably wasn’t a thing and Tinder definitely didn’t exist.

Rather than discounting — what you think to be — unconventional methods of finding a mate, consider ditching your ways of the past. As a matter of fact, you may be surprised at just how many people take to online dating these days. According to Static Brain, more than 49 million people in the U.S. have tried online dating at some point. If you’re ready to get out there again, but don’t know where to begin, the internet could be a great place to start.

7. Get out there

Colleagues drinking after work

As opposed to the aforementioned point, you may be more inclined to meet someone in person, without doing the whole online thing first. If that’s the case, but you’ve been shy about it, it may be time to give yourself a swift kick in the pants. Easier said than done, but forcing yourself to go out to be social is crucial in the process. After all, you can’t get back out there without actually getting out. If you’re feeling anxious about it, give our tips to ease your nerves a try.

 Friends at a bar

8. Go out with friends

Going out with a wing man, or woman, may be just what you need to be comfortable in the dating scene. Not only will you enjoy a fun night out with friends, but it’ll provide you with an out should some random drunk person start flirting with you. Furthermore, CafeMom says a group of friends serves as a great support system, which is key when going through a divorce.

9. Remember you can date whomever you please

beautiful couple on glitter gold background

Age ain’t nothing but a number, something PopSugar mentions is important to keep in mind. Now that you’re divorced, you’ve no strings attached, and therefore, have complete and total control to do as you please. See whomever you want. Date people you find attractive, insightful, and kind. There’s a certain sense of liberty that comes along with being divorced, and taking full advantage of your newfound freedom is A-OK.

10. Be a leader, not a hunter

woman rejecting a geek boy offering flowers

So, what exactly is the difference between a leader and a hunter? According to YourTango, “A hunter is someone that follows or pursues someone else. It is a short-lived ego boost for the hunted, but ultimately not attractive (you’re too easy to get). A leader, however, creates value because he/she has a full life, his time is scarce.” Basically, you don’t want to come off as desperate. Remind yourself how great of a catch you are, and that you’re worthy of the very best. Only accept what you deserve, and nothing less.

11. Be honest about your past

adult couple has privacy problems

While divulging every detail of your relationship history on a first date isn’t advisable, you’ve been through a lot, and talking about it — in due time — is good, and healthy. No doubt your ex-spouse was a huge part of your life, a part of your life which has led you to this point. Redbook says it’s important to be up front about your history. No BS, just honesty. If the person you’re seeing appreciates your willingness to discuss it all, he or she just may be a keeper.

father talking to son

If you have kids, and are worried about how they’ll react to your dating, simple solution: Don’t involve them. There’s no reason to stave off potential partners until the end of time just because you’re trying to be the best parent ever. As long as you don’t introduce your children to people you’re seeing, you will be doing right by your kids. You’re the adult here, so keeping your sex life from the kiddos is perfectly acceptable. Prevention suggests getting a sitter for date nights, or if you have joint custody, go out during times they’re with your ex.

Now, we’re not saying it’ll be easy, but you’ve got this. Take our tips and go forth into the big bad world of dating. It won’t be that bad.