Online Dating after Divorce: Is it Right for You?

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Now that your divorce is a thing of the past, you may be thinking about dating again. If you were married for a while, however, there’s a good chance you’ll notice some big changes in the dating scene. Certainly not the least of these is the advent of online dating apps. While the apps may be new territory for some, they can greatly expand your opportunities to meet new people.

It’s understandable that with so many options you might be feeling a little overwhelmed, especially if you haven’t dated in a while. Since the average duration of a marriage that ends in divorce in the U.S. is about eight years, it’s possible that dating apps weren’t available the last time you were looking for potential partners. You may be wondering if they’re safe and if they’re worth your time.

Like so many things that involve dating, there’s no easy answer. Some people meet their lifelong partner online, while others have horror stories that will make you want to throw your computer out the window. Regardless, it’s important to keep in mind that online dating apps are tools, and nothing more. Only you can decide if they’re the right choice for you as you once again test the dating waters. With that in mind, here are a few things to think about when considering online dating.

Make Sure You’re Ready to Date

The surest way to fail at dating after a breakup is to start before you’re ready. Be honest with yourself and answer these questions:

  • Are you are at peace with your marriage ending?
  • Do you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for in a new relationship?
  • Have you taken stock of how you’ve changed since you last dated, and how that has changed your needs and wants in a relationship?

Not sure about the answers to these questions? Then you might want to think carefully before jumping into a new relationship.

Create an Honest Profile

Once you start browsing dating apps, you’ll notice that many people take a lazy approach to using the apps. In fact, many dating profiles include only a photo and a brief description with a few words. Some don’t go beyond the photo.

If you want to meet people who are genuinely interested in who you are as a person, you should make an effort to showcase your personality. If writing doesn’t come easy, ask a trusted friend or relative to give you a hand. Be honest and up front about who you are and what you’re looking for in a relationship. And don’t be afraid to elaborate a little on the things you’re interested in.

Be Proactive

One thing you will quickly notice about online dating is the sheer number of dating apps, and the virtual ocean of people using them. In fact, 3 out of every 10 American adults have used them.

If you sit back passively waiting for the right partner to reach out, you might end up waiting for a very long time. So if you see a profile that catches your eye, don’t be afraid to send the first message. Be respectful, honest and friendly, and then move on. Don’t let it bother you if you don’t get a response. With the sheer volume of people online, it’s more likely that you won’t get a response at first. That’s just the way online dating works.

Don’t Linger Online Indefinitely

Once you connect with someone, be sure to take the conversation offline and meet in person. Dating apps should be a bridge, not a destination. Unless you take the leap and form an in-person connection, your new relationship will remain a virtual one.

The world of online dating may be a little overwhelming at first. But if you approach things honestly, intentionally and proactively, it can be a powerful tool for meeting new people and potential partners. Don’t be afraid to give it a try.

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.