Dating After Divorce > Directions for Re-Entry

Dating After Divorce: Directions for Re-Entry
By Dr. Pepper Schwartz

Dr. Pepper Schwartz Dating after divorce is like learning to dance again. Either you were good at it, and you're just a bit rusty, or you felt inadequate to begin with. And now, here you are faced with having to do something you might not have wanted to do in the first place.

For those of you out there who feel intimidated, and notice "intimidated" has the word "date" in it, let me offer you reassurance: dating after divorce can be a most happy experience.

No question looking for love after 10 or 20 years of marriage can be very stressful. We look older, even if we don't feel it, and we have many more boundaries about who we are and what we want then in our youth. The idea of emailing someone, and facing possible further rejection, is ego threatening. I would never downplay the anxiety dating anew can arouse.

On the other hand, please remember there are other people just like you out there: they have histories, they have sensitivities, they are lonely, they want someone to love and they want to be loved by someone. The search for love and acceptance is a powerful motivator. It's achievable, but you will have to put the work in to find someone who will be the center of the next part of your life.

So, let's do it smart. Here are some things to think about that will make it more likely for you to find a relationship on, even if you've been out of the "dating game" for a long, long time.

First: Be specific in your own profile. So many traditional online dating site profiles are all about sports or walking on the beach. If you are a bona-fide sports enthusiast, that is, sports are the main and continuing part of your life, then be honest and describe yourself that way. However, everyone is about more than just hobbies, so talk about what is important to you, how you see yourself as a person, and what you've learned about life. Let someone see who you ARE, and yes, be honest!

Second: Upload a good, clear picture onto PerfectMatch. Several pictures are even better. Pick ones that are flattering, but realistic. If you don't like the way you look, don't hide in the picture. Instead, go do something to make you feel good about yourself. Join a gym, get a new haircut, or get a friend with good taste to help you dress more attractively. Put your best self forward, but be honest about it. You don't have to be beautiful or handsome to find someone on the web. You do, however, have to let people know what they are getting, or you're destined to experience a series of one night stands and nothing more.

Third: You need to spend some time working at this. Visit often, go at your own pace and when you are ready, and ONLY when you are ready, move forward. We have plenty of educational opportunities, for example, my archived columns and to Ask Pepper. When you are ready, I encourage you to send out as many emails as you desire. This is your chance to meet as many people who interest you as possible. It's a brave new world! You may make mistakes in the beginning, so what? You will get more at ease with this as time goes on, and you will get better at picking people and being picked by the right person. Don't give up after one mismatched coffee date. Literally thousands of new people join PerfectMatch every single day!

Fourth: Live in the present. Don't talk about your ex. If you are bitter about what happened, don't show it. Those revelations can take place much later in a developed relationship. By letting people see too much sadness or meanness, you will undoubtedly never see them again. Try and get your disappointments solved by yourself, and deal with the present during your dates. It will be mentally healthier for you and a much better way to interact with new people.

Fifth: Be optimistic and open. You may have been hurt in the past, or worried about how you could have selected the wrong person. Now, you're nervous about your ability to pick someone new. This is completely understandable, but you must force yourself to trust and love again. Take your time when giving your heart, but don't be so closed no one will want to get to know you better. Losing love is very painful, but gaining love is so wonderfully thrilling. It is worth what it takes to get there.

Yes, there is absolutely love after divorce, whether your relationship broke up at 25 or 55. You may not meet someone immediately, but the time you spend looking will broaden you as a person and a partner. When you do meet the right person, and you will, they'll appreciate the self-knowledge you've gained. You will then be ready to give, and accept, love and commitment.

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