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Dating After Divorce

Getting back in the saddle after ending your marriage.

The ending of a marriage, or any long-term relationship, can make you re-evaluate everything you once knew about yourself and love. Divorce can often result in bitterness and resentment that lead many individuals to spiral out of control or immediately jump into a new relationship as an unhealthy way to fill their empty void.

Although dating after divorce is standard (and often necessary), getting back in the saddle does not have to happen so quickly, especially if it is a selfish attempt to try to mend your unhealed wounds.

How much time do you give yourself?

You may have signed your name on the dotted line of your divorce papers, but the emotional and mental impact of divorce often takes time to process. How much time? It depends on each individual.

If the individual had healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress before the divorce, chances are, they will continue to incorporate these positive coping skills during the divorce. For women, body image issues, going from being a mom to a divorcee, learning how to be self-sufficient, and dealing with trust issues are all difficult challenges that they often struggle with after a divorce, especially if they were in a long marriage.

Wait at least one year

As a general rule, many therapists will tell their clients to wait at least one year before jumping into a new relationship. Taking a year allows you to re-adjust to a new life, mourn the loss of your divorce, become confident in your independence, and sort out any housekeeping issues, such as finding a new place to live, adapting to a new financial status, selling off any joint property, and ironing out any custody details if children are involved.

Usually, the individual who initiated the divorce will have a shorter grieving process compared to the other party, who did not seek out separation. If infidelity was involved, then the wounds may cut much deeper and need more time to heal. The three main factors that contribute to how long it will take someone to overcome their divorce include the following:

  • The length of the marriage (the longer the marriage, the longer it will take to grieve)
  • The individual’s resiliency and desire to move forward with his/her life (an emotionally fragile individual will have a more extended grieving period compared to a resilient individual)
  • How or why the relationship ended (catastrophic endings, such as infidelity or abuse, will usually cause deeper wounds that take longer to heal compared to marriages that ended due to mutual differences)

Tips for dating after divorce

Dating is hard for anyone and can be especially hard if you have been in a marriage for the past decade or two. You probably have never used a dating app or have never been “ghosted,” as this new-age dating technology is often foreign to individuals who have been in long-term marriages.

The four most important factors in dating after divorce include the following:

  • Make sure you are emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy. You do not need someone to complete you, as you should be complete on your own.
  • Make sure you are over your ex and are not trying to replace one person with another or fill a void. Do not use one human being to get over another; you are potentially causing harm to someone else by doing this.
  • Be honest with anyone you date in regards to your past. Divorce is an important aspect of an individual’s life, and it always best to be open with this piece of information.
  • Be honest with yourself and with whomever you are dating about what you are looking for in a partner.