Therapy in Chester, NJ
A perk of marriage: you no longer have to date! A perk of divorce: you get to date! Hmm...how can that be? But it’s true. Divorce is typically not in the plan, which of course can throw you for a loop. While the thought of dating after divorce can be terrifying and confusing (how on earth do I do this?!), it can also be such an exciting new chapter of your life.
It could be really fun getting to know someone. Remember that feeling you used to get when you were younger and your crush would call you, or text you, or say hi to you in the hallway, or get you flowers?! You get to experience that again! That is pretty cool. You probably were never told exactly how to “get back in the game,” which is why I am here to help you and guide you into and through this next chapter of your life.
First, remember that your worth is not based on whether you have someone or not. Having a significant other does not place a higher value on you--you are you and that is fabulous, and your worth does not become “more fabulous” just because you are in a relationship. Don't look for someone to up your worth or make you feel worthy. Now is a great time to become aware of and think about all of the great qualities that make up who you are. Focus on these, and do not let another person or lack of another person take that away from you.
Be intuitive and insightful. Connect to yourself. Before starting to date (and throughout the process), really think about what you want and what you value. Do you want another partner? Do you just want to see what’s out there or understand more of what you want in a partner? Do you want fun Friday nights and reasons to dress up? All of these are fine answers!! It's just important to be self-aware. Also, be sure that what you are doing matches up with your values. You will feel your best self this way.
When you start dating, not every date will be into you or you into them and that's ok. Remember not to take it personally. You don't want to waste your time with someone where the feelings aren't mutual. Be patient! Dating is a process and being the "rejector" or the "rejectee" is not pleasant, but you are one step closer to finding your match. Just like the lottery, it's a numbers game, but you have to be in it to win it!
It may not be love at first sight and not everyone is “the one" but at the same time, try to give people a chance. Try not to write someone off right away--you never know--people can surprise you, and sometimes what you think that you want or need is actually not what you want or need, you just have not been put in the position to realize this yet. Be open-minded, take your time, and don't feel you have to settle for less than you deserve!
You could take away something valuable from every date that you go on, even if you don’t necessarily get what you want from it. For example, you may not come off of the date feeling like you met the love of your life, but you may come off of the date with a boost in confidence--especially if he or she calls again! You did it! You put yourself out there, and you even had someone call for more of your time! You also got out--you got dressed up and went out on the town...and that feels good! You may come off of the date with even more knowledge of what you do and do not want. You may have had a really fun night, and that’s all but you got out of your comfort zone and took a risk! Good for you!
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they are out with someone new is talking about their ex the whole night!! Avoid this topic like the plague, especially on your first date, unless your date asks. If this is the case, tell the story briefly (answer their questions if you are comfortable), but try not to bash the person. Your date will fear being your next "banshee". Remember, your date is not your therapist and you are both out with each other to have a good time. If you find the need to talk about your ex all night then perhaps you have some unresolved feelings and are not ready to enter the dating world yet.
If you do decide that you are ready to date, then how do you find one? I have to be honest, it is more difficult to date when you are older and divorced, especially if you have kids than when you were in college. You just have to put yourself out there and make more of an effort. Friends can fix you up, attend business or networking events, join a meetup group, take a class, etc. One of the most popular ways people are meeting these days is through online dating sites and dating apps! Go for it, and enjoy it! If it's not for you, that's okay too.
And if you’re a little skeptical about this whole idea, and you are not ready to date yet, that's okay--just embrace where you are at. There is no rule when you are “supposed to” start. There is no right time or wrong time--it’s whenever you feel ready. And if you think you are ready, but for some reason, you are feeling guilty, just notice that you feel that way, and remind yourself that this is where you are at now--you are entitled to do whatever your head and your heart feel right doing, so embrace it. Be happy--whatever that means to you. Get out there and celebrate you, and take it all in. Enjoy it, reflect on it, and live in each moment. If you go on a brutally horrendous date, laugh at it. If you had a great time, that's great--don’t overthink it. And have fun!
If you need help getting back into dating after divorce, I am here to help!
Call us at Modern Family Counseling at 732-742-0329 for more information about our services or to make an appointment with our therapists!