With 827,261 reported divorces in the United States in 2017 alone, thousands of people are trying to find their way back into the dating world after years or even decades of marriage. It can be challenging to work up the confidence to start dating after divorce – and not only because it may have been several years since you last went on a date. If there was emotional or physical abuse during a marriage can deeply harm a person’s self-esteem as well as making them extremely wary of romantic relationships. However, there is hope.
4 Strategies to Find the Confidence to Start Dating After Divorce
1. Reconnect with Yourself Before Considering Dating After Divorce
Before you jump seriously into the dating world, it’s essential to remember who you were before you got married. While it may be easier said than done, do not let the feelings of rejection or the cruel words of your ex-spouse define you. Whether you are religious, spiritual, or even an atheist, spend some time to quiet your mind. Set aside time for just yourself to devote to positive visualization, prayer, or meditation. If you are not spiritual, take some time in nature to reconnect with yourself and a sense of peace.
2. Find an Inspiring Book, Audiobook, or Podcast
Read (or listen to) an uplifting book, audiobook, or podcast that you relate to at this point in your life. With so many people experiencing a loss or divorce, there’s an abundance of both nonfiction and fiction options out there that will lend your new insights or make you feel less alone. Sometimes revisiting a book you once read but couldn’t relate to at the time will deeply resonate with you now.
3. Invest in Your Appearance to Boost Your Self-Confidence
If you’re feeling less than attractive, remember there are several aspects of this area you can take control of before you post a dating profile picture or ask someone out for the first time. Whether it’s a visit to a salon, buying teeth whitening strips or services, taking up a new sport, or joining a gym to not only boost endorphins but get in shape again, go for it! Investing in the way you look is not just a frivolous pursuit: it can boost your confidence and, let’s be realistic, increase success when trying to step out and start dating after divorce. Taking care of yourself shows the world you haven’t given up – and it shows respect for the person you’re meeting for a date. Just as the famous adage is to dress “for the job you want, not the job you have” when going for a job interview, consider dressing for the relationship you want when going on a date. Treating yourself like you deserve to look and feel your best can increase your confidence – and most people find self-confidence (as long as it doesn’t cross the line into arrogance) attractive and even sexy.
4. Embrace – and Accentuate – Your Positive Qualities
If you’re attempting online dating after divorce, before you set up your profile, spend some time writing out a list of things you truly love about yourself. Even if you have to dig deep for a while to remember your fantastic qualities, they are in there. Find them, embrace them. Write out your favorite things about yourself, the best compliments people have said to you, and your most significant achievements. Hang the list somewhere you can see it regularly if you wish. Remember these commendable parts of yourself before you head out for your first dates post-divorce. Your positive attitude will radiate – making you more likely to attract a partner who will value those positive qualities.
Divorce can be unbelievably painful and can drain so much of the confidence you used to have. However, you must remember that even if cruel things were said to you, it was often out of a place of pain. That pain originated from the broken bond you once had with your ex. Remember, even if you and your ex-spouse are on horrible terms now, they once found you amazing enough to marry. You learned a lot from your marriage and divorce; keep the lessons and find a way to discard any lingering bitterness and mistrust – in yourself and in others. Take confidence knowing you are worthy of having a great relationship – and that you have a lot to offer someone new.
Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.