You might think that by having one or two divorces under your belt means that love simply isn’t in the cards for you. For one thing, everyone deserves to be loved and you shouldn’t assume that you are going to be single forever. With that said, you do have to make sure that you are ready to start dating after divorce. After all, you don’t want to end up in another relationship that doesn’t live up to your expectations.
Here are five things you need to do to ensure you're really ready to date again.
Although the ultimate goal when dating is to spend alone time with that special someone, you shouldn’t feel obligated to start one-on-one dating right away. Instead, form a "group date" to go to an event you'll both enjoy: a jazz festival, craft show, or baseball game, for example. You'll have friends there with you to help you over the small hurdles that may come up during the date. They can talk you through those moments where you are uncomfortable, they can offer advice, and even be the fresh eyes you may need to evaluate the person you are seeing.
Sometimes after a divorce, we are so overcome with distress that we feel badly about ourselves. While it may be easier to simply say “I love me” than to actually believe it, try doing some things that will make you feel good about yourself again. Get a new outfit or haircut. Join a class that you’ve been meaning to for a while. Go on a vacation with your closest friends. Do whatever it takes to make you feel good about yourself and recognize what a great catch you are.
No matter how old you are or how many first dates you go on, they never get easier. Instead of approaching the first date with the expectation that it is going to be horrible, approach it with a positive attitude and be optimistic. You’ll find that when you believe that the date will go well and you’ll have fun, you probably will, even if there is no chemistry between you and the other person.
A connection between you and another person isn’t going to happen overnight. When you understand that and you’re prepared to let nature take its course, the better off you’ll be. Since you’ve been in other relationships that didn’t work out, you don’t want to jump the gun and assume that this one will fail also. When you see signs of things that you aren’t fond of, bring it to the other person’s attention. If they really like you, they will be willing to keep your feelings in mind. Remember, change (and love) won’t happen in an instant; you have to be patient.
Honesty is crucial: whether you're talking to your kids or letting a new potential love interest know what you want in a relationship, you have to be honest. You don’t want to start off a new relationship with a lie, because not only will that lie become harder and harder to maintain as time goes by, but if you're caught in that lie, the trust you've built between you and your new girlfriend/boyfriend will be gone and it may never come back. Honesty doesn't mean you have to share every painful, deeply personal detail about your divorce on your first date (hint: don't do this!), so you need to be appropriate as well as honest.