How Long Should You Wait to Date After Divorce?
That might depend on how you answer these questions. Here’s how to know when it’s time to start dating after divorce.
At some point after your divorce or separation, you’re probably going to want to start dating again. So how do you know when the time is right? When is it appropriate to start dating again after your divorce?
I just did a Facebook Live chat about this very topic over on the Round and Round Rosie Facebook page, lots of women weighed in with their own experiences. You can click over and still view the video on the Facebook page.
So back to the topic, when should you start dating after divorce? Way back in the 70’s when my parents got divorced, no one started dating until after their divorce was legally final and divorce papers were signed. Divorce was scandalous enough all by itself.
And if you started dating before your divorce was final, well then you truly were a fallen woman.
Thankfully, a lot has changed about divorce since the 70’s. First off, the stigma is gone, probably because divorce is so incredibly common.
And dating? At least in LA, where I live, I’ve found that most people started dating once they were separated. In my own experience, both my ex and I started dating other people once we’d filed our separation papers with the courts.
But with no exact rules for when to start dating, when should you open yourself up to a relationship?
Simply put. When you are emotionally ready.
Looking back, I started dating way too soon. I wasn’t prepared for those first few dates and/or relationships I had after we separated. I was emotionally raw and still grieving the end of my marriage. I wasn’t strong enough and should have waited longer.
In short. I wasn’t emotionally ready.
As Dr. Margaret Rutherford, a psychologist specializing in relationships and divorce put it, “My feeling is that if people don’t wait long enough to change themselves, they’ll be attracted to the same kind of person. The length of time isn’t as important as; what are you learning?
Want to know if you are ready? Before you start dating again, ask yourself these questions.
1. Are you in a good place emotionally?
Are you emotionally stable enough to be a partner again? If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or panic attacks, get counseling and support first. Work on getting strong emotionally. Dating won’t solve these problems but only mask them or make them even worse.
2. Is your marriage truly over?
If there’s a chance that you and your spouse will reconcile, don’t drag another person into that drama. No one needs to be an extra in your marital drama.
3. Are you dating to “get back at your ex?”
If you’re dating to show your ex that you’re still desirable or that you CAN get a date, don’t do it.
4. Is dating a hiding place to escape from the pain and uncertainty?
Are you throwing yourself into dating to avoid your own pain?Dating again can be like a heady drug. Flirting, romance, the giddy feeling that “wow, someone finds me attractive.”
It can make you feel better about yourself, at least in the short term, to know that you’re not a total troll, especially if you didn’t feel desired in your marriage, but if you’re doing that as a convenient way to not have to pay attention to your own issues, that’s not a path to getting better.
So how to know when it’s time to start dating after divorce? Take an honest assessment of your emotional health.
If you’re strong and learned from your past mistakes, move forward. But don’t start dating until you’ve done the work you need to do on yourself.
Yes, dating and meeting someone new is a good thing but make sure you’re emotionally ready or dating again can create more problems than it solves.
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