San Diego Family Mediation Center

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The Dos and Don’ts of Dating After Divorce

Going through a divorce is stressful enough without having to think about jumping back into the dating scene again. For many people, it’s been a long time since they’ve dated anyone and the prospect of getting back out there can be daunting. Whether and when to start dating again is something many people struggle with. While this is a very personal decision and can be different for everyone, here are some dos and don’ts on dating after your divorce.

Don’t Listen to Everybody Else. You Know Yourself Best

Everyone from your mom to your best friend to your coworker will have an opinion on whether it’s too soon for you to be dating, but you know yourself best, and only you will know when you’re ready. Now I know that all of these people mean well, but it’s not their decision to make. If you feel ready to jump back into dating while you’re still going through the divorce process, then that’s your choice. Similarly, if you decide to take a year or two, or three off from dating that’s also ok.  You’ll know when you’re ready and it’s ok just to nod and smile at everyone else’s opinion and let them know that you’ll date when you’re ready.

Don’t Rush into Anything

While only you will know when you’re ready to date, it’s ok to take time for yourself before jumping back into the dating scene. Going through a divorce is a stressful time in anyone’s life, and it’s important to make sure that you take the time necessary to adjust. Healthy parents create healthy children, and that means addressing your issues and how you contributed to your previous marriages shortcomings. Statistics show that second marriages have a higher divorce rate than first marriage and if you don’t take the time to assess your role in a previous break up, then we are more likely to choose another partner that does not meet our needs.

Do Think About How This Will Affect Your Children

If you have children then dating someone new not only affects you but affects your children. You need to think carefully about what that means. It’s important to take time and don’t rush into introducing your new partner to your kids until you’re sure that this person is going to be around for a long time. Be sure to talk to them about your children and make sure that you can see this person with not only you but your children long term. Sometimes I hear clients say that they have introduced their new partner to their children but only as a friend. Guess what? You have raised intelligent children, and kids know. They know intuitively if something is going on between two adults that is more than friendship. If you’re going to introduce them be honest about who they are.

Don’t Talk About Your Divorce All the Time

While this might seem obvious when you’re going through a divorce it’s often the first thing on your mind. You may be tempted to talk about your ex-spouse and your divorce on dates, but please don’t. My best friend went out with someone recently who spent the majority of the first hour talking about his divorce and bashing his ex-wife. She could tell that he clearly wasn’t ready to be dating yet and still needed to deal with himself before he could be with someone else. While your divorce might come up and if you have children your co-parent will be discussed at some point, be aware of how much you talk about it and it’s not something you need to dive into on a first date. Enjoy getting to know someone without bringing your ex-spouse along.

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