After couples successfully complete the daunting and painful process of divorce, how do they individually know when they are ready to begin dating? How are they suppose to approach finding new relationships when it may have been many years since they have experienced the dating scene? How do you prevent rushing into a relationship just to avoid feeling alone? How do you control for the problematic interactional patterns which played out in your previous marriage when approaching a new relationship? Lets explore how you can navigate this phase of the transition period after divorce.
Typically, people have suffered in a variety of ways by the time divorce happens. We become acutely aware of how our needs are not being met, and may begin to lose hope that we could ever feel loved, desired, appreciated, or needed. However, once the divorce is finalized, it is unwise to rush into a new relationship. It is necessary to personally process the end of the marriage, and then focus on defining and re-defining yourself as an individual outside of the context of the marriage. Without this important step, you are likely to end up seeking a relationship which will only address a few specific unmet needs, without taking into consideration other important aspects.
Once someone has successfully adjusted as an individual post-divorce, then they are ready to initiate the exploration of dating. The longer its been since they were engaged in a dating experience, the more foreign it will feel for them. While the first person you date may very well end up being "the one," it is unlikely that this will happen. What I recommend is that you use your first few dates as "practice." Yes, you read that correctly, its OK to "practice" dating. This will remove the pressure of jumping into a committed relationship too quickly, and help you focus on the most important task of initiating dating after a divorce, which is HAVING FUN.
Think about it, how long did you spend suffering in your marital relationship? You need to have new and different experiences as you date, which are focused around meeting people, exploring fun activities, and trying new things.
While many will meet people in naturally occurring environments in their life, today's technology affords many ways to connect with potential people to date. Using dating website and apps are becoming more popular, and can assist you in evaluating potential people to date. Just remember that the way we portray ourselves online may not afford others to accurately get to know who we are.....so always rely on a face to face interaction if you feel there is a connection with online profiles.