Everything changes after a divorce. After months of dealing with filings, proceedings and divorce attorneys, it becomes time to determine what your next steps will be.
This is an amazing opportunity for you to pursue exactly what you want out of life. Along with your interests and career, and your relationships with friends and your children, a new romantic relationship may be something you are interested in. Before you start dating after a divorce, ask yourself these five questions.
Am I ready to date again?
It’s the most obvious question, but it’s also the most important. Your friends and family may be urging you to date again. Their remarks about how you should “get back out there” may feel like minor comments to them, but that kind of social pressure can be stressful.
It is your decision when you start dating again. You are in charge of this incredible and unique journey that is your life, so don’t hand over that decision-making power to anyone else.
Jumping back into the dating scene right after a divorce can be difficult because you are still figuring out what your new life will look like. You’ll need to assess the commitments you’re already making:
- Commitments to your children.
- Commitments to your family and friends.
- Commitments to your job.
Are you ready to balance a new relationship with your other commitments? Only you will know the answer. And it may take some time to figure that out.
How are my children handling the divorce?
You may be ready to date again, but if you have children with your ex you will need to consider what is best for them as well. Whether it has been a couple of years or only a short time since your divorce, your first new relationship will be a very big change for your children.
No matter the age, it is common for children to have some hesitation when you are dating a new person. They may still harbor feelings that you and your ex will get back together. A new relationship attacks that hopeful feeling.
You can start dating again, but be cautious about how your children meet and interact with this new person. Date for a while before introducing someone to your children. If you don’t see the relationship lasting long term, you shouldn’t expose your children to adults that won’t be sticking around. If you think the relationship is going somewhere, find a safe and comfortable situation to introduce your children. Communication is key; make sure your children understand why you’re dating again, and lead conversations about how it makes them feel.
What is my relationship with my ex like?
If you still have strong feelings for your ex, you are not ready for a new relationship. Divorces can be finalized before feelings are. You might need more time, and you can also consider a healthy dose of therapy after a divorce.
To give yourself a real chance with a new relationship, your heart has to be open to the possibility of a new love. If there is any chance you’ll be saying “My ex is just like that,” or “Do you know what my ex did?” you need some more time to work things through.
Am I confident?
All of the emotions during a divorce can put you in a place where you need to rebuild happiness and confidence. Consider it a great opportunity to become the person you want to me.
Finding your confidence after a divorce is a gradual process. With effort and a positive attitude, you can find the confidence you are seeking in time.
Don’t offer your date a version of yourself that you aren’t comfortable with—wait until you feel good about where you are. When you present yourself as the confident and wonderful person that you are, you can find the confident and wonderful relationship you deserve.
Is a new romantic relationship what you need?
Before turning to a new relationship, remember the other commitments you are making that we discussed above. Is there more you want out of those commitments? Love is a big word, and it encompasses more than just romantic relationships.
Continuing to build a strong relationship with your children can provide the happiness you may have expected to come from a new relationship. Reconnecting with friends can do the same. Being single is also a great time to pursue the career opportunities you may have put on hold during your marriage.
If you are honest with yourself about the above questions and have a positive outlook on your future, you will know when it is time to date again.
Author Bio: Jack is a freelance writer based in Seattle who spends his hours hopping between an ergonomic keyboard and an old school typewriter. You can reach Jack by leaving a comment or connecting with him on Twitter.