Dating again after divorce
Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert onOnce the dust has settled and you've come up for air again after your divorce is finalised, you now have the challenge of getting your head back into the dating game. For some, it can be an exciting time whereby you get to flirt, have fun and experience different opportunities. For others, it can be a daunting and overwhelming time that generates feelings of self-doubt and fear. Preparation will be vital in getting ready to date again after divorce.
One of the keys to dating successfully after divorce is to make sure that you've learnt from your mistakes and you're now 'relationship ready'. Avoid the temptation of just throwing yourself into a new relationship without first looking at what happened and then creating a plan to do things differently. Otherwise, you'll simply keep repeating the same relationship mistakes over and over again.
So prepare, prepare, prepare.
Put simply, you'll need to overhaul your dating approach and get 'relationship ready'. It's time to know exactly what you want and what you're going to avoid, and how you're going to be different with your next partner. You'll also need to use your friends in this process. After all, things are going to be very, very different since you were last out there in the singles scene!
Remember - you've now got to deal with the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, and texting. The rules have changed, dress codes are different and relationship expectations have transformed.
So take the opportunity now when you're single to prepare for dating after your divorce and bring with you a clear game plan. Here's some key tips to help you along the way:
1. Learn from the past
Set aside time to dissect your previous marriage and look at what went wrong. Why were they wrong for you, and what did you do that contributed to the break-up? Pinpoint your mistakes and lean from these - and know how you're going to be different with your next partner.
2. Avoid the wrong types
Become clear about the types of potential love interests you need to avoid moving forward. Think about some of the key issues in your marriage and the behaviours and traits of your ex that you no longer want in your life (e.g. heavy drinker, low sex drive, workaholic, unsociable, player etc.)
3. Define your ideal partner
Also turn your attention to your ideal partner. Don't simply have a shotgun approach whereby you go out with no focus and simply see what comes your way. Get selective and zero in on the key traits and behaviours you want and need in your next long-term partner. Be specific - social skills, sex drive, parenting style, sense of humour, ambition, health and fitness, communication etc.
4. Have an appearance make-over
Things have changed since you were last out in the dating world. Before launching yourself into it all - give your appearance an overhaul. Throw out the old wardrobe, get a haircut, put some time into your grooming and get yourself looking fabulous. It will lift your self-confidence and give you a sense of taking control.
5. Pursue individual interests/hobbies
When getting out there again, you need to make sure you're an interesting person with plenty going on in your life. Take some time to pursue your own interests and create a full and exciting life for yourself. You're not just sitting around waiting to meet someone special. Instead you have a busy life that's attractive and exciting.
6. Maintain a positive mindset
Avoid the temptation of becoming bitter about the hurts of the past or disillusioned and negative about dating. If you're going to commit to getting out there again, then you need to get positive. Prevent yourself from talking negatively to others about the past (especially other dates), and always, always be positive about your future chances in the dating game.
7. Lean on your friends
You need support when jumping back into dating the scene, and who better to lean on than your friends. They can not only give you feedback about your appearance and dating approach, they can build you up when you're having doubts, help you with your partner selections and support you after setbacks.
8. Always prioritise your kids
If you have kids from your marriage, it's vital that you don't get caught up in the romance of a new relationship and push them to one side. Instead, keep all your routines with them, answer their questions, reassure them and if your kids are living at home, avoid having sleepovers with your new love interest.
John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, seen weekly on Ch 7's the Morning show, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy (www.johnaiken.com.au)
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