Into the Jungle: Dating Again after a Break Up or Divorce

Nothing can rip us apart mentally and emotionally quite like a divorce, or breakup from a long-term relationship. You once had a vision for your future that has been completely shattered, leaving you confused and scared about a future that is now wide open—in a way that is really exciting, but probably doesn’t feel so much like that right now.

If you are at the point now where you feel ready to head back out into the dating world, congratulations on that—it shows you are healing. It can be a rough go at first…here are some tips for a smoother ride.

Ease in with Online Dating

While meeting people over the internet used to carry quite the stigma, it is now widely accepted in a time when the online world pervades every aspect of our existence—it now makes perfect sense to use this channel to find romance. This can be a great way to ease into the dating world again because there is little pressure. You can take the time to craft a well-thought out profile; you can browse profiles, and communicate at your leisure, all from the comfort of your own home.

So, hop online and check out some dating site reviews to get an idea of how the different ones operate, and to get an idea of the general clientele.

One thing to keep in mind with online dating is not to spend too long communicating online—yes, it feels safe, and it is a good way to get to know someone without the pressure and anxiety you may feel when these initial communications take place in person.

But, ultimately, you can’t know if someone is a good match until you meet him in the flesh. In a sense, strictly communicating online isn’t ‘real’, and it can lead to unrealistic expectations about this person, or give you a distorted sense of who he really is. A lot of anticipation and hope will build the longer you communicate in this fashion, and if it doesn’t work out, the level of disappointment will be quite high, almost crushing probably.

Be Open

You are probably feeling a bit bruised and raw right now, and that self-preservation instinct is probably pretty powerful right now. While you do want to proceed with some degree of caution, it is also important to maintain an attitude of ‘openness.’ Just be open to whatever experiences come your way—try to say ‘yes’ more than ‘no.’ Let your friend set you up on that blind date. Accompany your friend from work to that speed dating event. If someone asks you out who even sparks a mild interest in you, just say yes—it’s only a few hours of your time.

Get Clear on What You Want and Stick with It

Having been through the emotional ringer after the end of your relationship does offer some advantages, one of the biggest being a greater sense of clarity about who you are, what you want in a partner, and the type of relationship that best suits you. Give some serious thought as you set out into the dating world, and stick to your guns. I know this kind of contradicts the previous advice about being ‘open,’ but not quite.

You do want to be open, but steer clear of situations you know in your gut are not the right ones for you. If your previous husband’s drinking and nightlife habits were a major point of contention, it is probably not a good idea to set your sights on someone who behaves in this same manner, for example. Ultimately, you need to tune into your intuition—there is no magical formula for determining whether a person is a good fit, or to measure how much of a problem a particular aspect of this person’s behavior, belief system, etc..will be down the line. Your gut knows, so do your best to listen.

Just Take Each Situation As It Comes

You are feeling lonely, and really hoping to meet someone again. You want to be coupled up, and this desire can lead to getting super-attached to each situation that arises, and really high hopes and expectations ,that when dashed, feel devastating. This piece of advice can be tough to follow, but it would really benefit you to try super hard. Just take each situation as it comes. Don’t go into each date hoping this person is the ‘one.’ Know there are plenty of people out there, and if this person isn’t the right match, you will find him if you are willing to keep looking. So, just detach and have fun.


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