The first person you date after your divorce is usually one of two things.  Either just like your ex and an example of the wrong person for you or nothing like your ex, and likely an example of the wrong person for you-

Newsflash!  Wait a hot minute after your marriage ends to find yourself before dating someone.  Most second and third marriages fail and perhaps the reason they do is that many of us rush into a new relationship without really knowing what we want.   Discovering that starts with better understanding of ourselves and our life goals.

Know this:

  • Some may figure out what they want pretty quickly and only need a short time after their divorce to get back into the dating scene.  This is especially common when a marriage suffers an Emotional Divorce (when one or more spouses is emotionally detached from the marriage, considering the marital relationship dissolved despite legally ending it) years before a legal divorce is established.  However, don't fool yourself into thinking this applies to you because you want to date right away.  It's still a good idea to take your time before getting into a serious relationship after any divorce is legally formalized.
  • Some have co-dependency issues and/or have so much of their former spouse and marriage as part of their thinking and decision-making, they're doomed to repeat similar mistakes, even with someone new.
  • Some seek a new companion to help them get over the pain from the last one.
  • Many go from relationship to relationship, simply replacing their ex with a new warm body.
  • Some take the time to work through their pain associated with the end of their marriage in order to begin a new relationship with less emotional hinderances from the last.
  • Most have a combination of one or more of the above.

Take a mental selfie and discover yourself without another person in your picture

Unfortunately, those of us who fall in the latter group are much more likely to rush back into a relationship.  Perhaps, it's because we still think as a married person, thus causing us to feel a great void, like something's a spouse?

While we may not consciously realize the reasons we do what we do, our lack of individuality and opportunity to think and live as a single person, even for a short period of time, causes us to close one hot door, simultaneously open another one, surprised when things blow up in our lives.

Provide for your own individual happiness

You'll be more emotionally available, self-assured and ready when the time comes to begin a new one.

The best way to ensure a successful, new relationship in the future is to first, make yourself more important than a relationship right now .   This is may include:

  • Begin developing individual goals. 
  • Establish your true likes and dislikes. 
  • Make hard decisions independent of other's input. 
  • Find what makes you happy and don't let anyone or anything prevent that again. 

Take the time to realize the qualities you seek in someone new

Next, you'll need to decide what new qualities you really seek that would be an improvement from your former spouse, while retaining some of the things that were right in that marriage and you may want again.  

It's totally okay to regard your former marriage as a mixed bag.  In fact, it may be healthier to remember some of the qualities of the marriage that made you happy rather than focus only on the problems and issues that forced it's end.  This will dissolve residual bitterness that has no place in a new relationship.  It will also provide you an objective in new relationship skills. 

Usually, when you are able to revisit the good from your past marriage is when you are most "ready" to start dating again.

By the time you get to your first date, it's best if you have had a prior introduction to get to know the person a little bit.  This will help you avoid some fatal first date mistakes and plan a date that is inclusive of interests you both share. 

First dates aren't necessarily about location as they are about each other.  So plan accordingly.  DMK has some good tips that may help in our 2019 article, First Date 101.

Objective of your first meeting

Ask to meet for a cup of coffee or glass of wine to limit your time obligation in case this is the wrong person for you.  It should give you enough time to ask some basic questions about likes and dislikes, general background, hobbies, career or family. 

Keep the questions light and friendly.  Don't ask too much about one thing and don't expand too much on anything.  This is just a quick introduction to see if there's chemistry and similar interests.

Objective of your first date

Share your objective of dating

Be clear with your potential date about what type of relationship you seek.   If she wants a relationship and you want a casual encounter, the date is pointless unless you're deceitful person who preys on the vulnerability of others.   Don't be that person.   There are plenty of people who seek the same as you; find someone else.

Don't focus too much on the location or activity

The date should focus on getting to know each other while in a comfortable social environment that is considerate of both your interests.  This doesn't mean you can't take in a concert or rock climbing.  Just don't make the entire date about doing an activity other than spending time together and talking.  

Result of first date success

The first date after divorce is never easy.  Some of you may realize 10 minutes in that you aren't as ready as you once thought.  Others may wonder why they waited so long.  Trust your feelings.

If you make it through the first date and didn't talk much about either of your ex's, sensed you had mutual chemistry and discussed a second date, you can pretty much call it a success.  

Most of you will know when things just felt right.  But, if you're not sure, you may need a few tips noted below that indicate you should write the first date off and find someone new.  

Fatal flaws of first dates following divorce

These may seem "tough", but keep your standards high and don't waste too much time on anyone that isn't the "right" person.  Divorce is costly and you don't want to experience it again.

Good examples of first date failure:

  • You bring up a second date and she keeps it vague - it may mean she's not that into you...yet or never
  • He reschedules a zillion times for the first date - just forget him, he's a player and doesn't regard you as important
  • She's a flake - find a girl with brains and beauty, really, life is short and smart women are actually better in bed
  • He looks at other women while on the date - run, don't walk away as fast as you can
  • She checks her phone constantly - my kids might need me excuse gets old, really a responsible mom would make sure her kids are in good, reliable care while away - if it's an emergency, suggest rescheduling -
  • You don't have much to talk about - seriously, don't waste your time with someone who doesn't have similar interests
  • He's a jerk - he's rude to the waitress or others and ignores you while in the presence of others
  • Your date is talking long-term relationship and your not - this should have been established prior to meeting
  • Mismatch - when you both seem like a mismatch, you probably are
  • No attraction - if you're not sure if she's the right one, she isn't - so just move on


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