Dating after divorce

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Another Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. While this can be an exciting time for many people, it’s often regarded as a painful reminder for others. Too often, divorcees fall into the latter category. If, however, you’re divorced and ready to start dating again – but the entire process seems a bit daunting – don’t lose heart. The following tips will help you get started.

Be open-minded. While it’s easy to set your sights on dating a certain type of individual, try to stay open-minded. Fortunately, it’s possible to be compatible with lots of different people. As you age, remember that what was important to you in your twenties may no longer matter as much. While it’s true that physical attraction will always play a role, it’s a good idea to place more emphasis on a kind heart and a great personality.

Be open to how you meet people as well. If online dating doesn’t interest you, that’s okay. But realize that you may lose out on finding someone terrific just because you’re afraid of the process. Whatever you decide, confide in a few of your closest friends. Let them know that you’re interested in dating again and ask them for encouragement and support.

Know why you’re dating. Depending on why your marriage ended, you might not know what you want in a future relationship. Now is a good time to give that some thought and properly manage your expectations. Whether you’re looking for a fun, low-key relationship or a future spouse, it helps to understand your intentions before you start meeting people. This will minimize any miscommunication and set the tone for healthy relationships.

Don’t dwell on the past. Never talk about your divorce and/or your ex during a first date. Remember that the person sitting across from you is there to get to know you. Your divorce may have played a part in shaping who you are, but it doesn’t define you. If a new relationship progresses, there will be plenty of time to explore delicate topics. Likewise, hold off on introducing your children. Spend ample time getting to know the person you’re dating before adding that element to the relationship.

Go slow. Getting back into the dating world is not for the faint of heart. Slow down and take it one day at a time. Focus on how to enjoy yourself and meet new people. If it doesn’t work out with one person, relax and move on. If it’s going well with someone else, don’t rush it. At the end of the day, you’ll know when the right relationship comes along.

Remember that dating after a divorce can be fun. Keep an open mind and ease back into the dating scene at a pace that makes you comfortable.

David Lowenstein, Ph.D. is a psychologist and the clinical director of Lowenstein & Associates, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. In addition to providing therapeutic services to individuals and families, he offers training and consultation to numerous associations, schools and agencies around the country. Additionally, he is a frequent radio and TV guest and a resource and contributing writer for numerous newspapers and magazines nationwide. Contact Dr. David Lowenstein at 691 South Fifth Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43206, or call 614.443.6155 or 614.444.0432.