Society places a lot of pressure on individuals to wait for specific times before they date again, which is ridiculous. If you’re ready to date again, go for it!
Getting divorced is not an easy road. Whether you were married for a while or a relatively short time, making that final decision to end your marriage can be a very hard one.
After that heartbreak, deciding when to start dating after a divorce in your 40s (or later) is completely personal as it can all be a bit nerve-wracking.
If you’re ready to date again, Relationship Expert Megan Luscombe has some useful advice to help make the experience as positive as possible.
How do I know when I’m ready to start dating again?
There is no rule book for life after a divorce. It’s usually the furthest thing from your mind on your wedding day, so it's not like you’ll have a backup plan hidden in your wedding outfit.
Ending a marriage is different in every situation. Asking yourself “am I ready to date?” after your divorce will depend on how you feel and your unique situation.
“Society places a lot of pressure on individuals to wait for specific times before they date again, which is ridiculous. If you’re ready to date again, go for it!” encourages Megan.
What’s new in the dating world?
If you were married for a while, the dating scene may be a bit different to what it was last time you were out there.
Social media and dating apps play a massive part in those changes.
“We now have accessibility to dates at the swipe of our fingers,” says Megan, “This makes the dating experience completely different to how it worked 20 years ago.”
Whether you’re matched by the swipe on a dating app or introduced by one of your friends, the goal of dating is still the same.
“People go on dates because they’re still searching for someone to share their life with. Modern dating just means there are so many different ways to do it now,” explains Megan.
For the first few dates, arrange to meet in public spaces that are familiar to you.
Keeping the fun times safe
When you’re ready to dive back into the dating game, it's important to play it safe and have a plan.
“Steps can be taken to make sure you’re safe while still being able to have fun and enjoy yourself,” advises Megan.
These steps might include:
Meeting in public
For the first few dates, arrange to meet in public spaces that are familiar to you. If something goes wrong or you just don't feel comfortable, you know where you are and know where you can go to feel safe again.
Checking in with friends
Share your location with close friends and check in with them throughout the date so they know you’re OK. If they know where you are, they can step in and help if needed, which is why friendships are important.
When you both decide to take the relationship up a notch, stay safe and use protection. If you choose not to have sex, make sure your boundaries are clear. Either way, it's your choice and there’s no right or wrong decision.
Wanting to get it right this time
You will know the best time and setting to introduce a new person into your kids’ lives.
Dating should be a bit of fun after a significant period of your life. Building a healthy friendship is a good way to start any new relationship.
If and when you start dating someone seriously after your divorce, you want to make sure they’re going to be as good a match as possible.
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Megan advises to find “someone who shares your values and life alignment. Someone who is going to work alongside you as a teammate while encouraging your independence and solo pursuits of happiness. A friend who will make you better.”
Open communication is important for all relationships, especially new ones when you’re still learning about each other. Disagreements and friction are normal, but it's important to understand how to resolve conflict in a relationship so it doesn't turn bad.
When it’s time for your new partner to meet your children, or for you to meet their children, there is no right or wrong way to do it.
Megan suggests listening to your inner voice and doing what feels appropriate.
“You know your children the best and you will know the best time and setting to introduce a new person into their lives,” she says.
The bottom line when dating after a divorce
There are no rules when it comes to dating after divorce at 40 (or older).
As with so much in life, every situation is different. You can read all the books and talk to your divorced friends. But at the end of the day, if, how and when you start dating again is entirely up to you.
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- What is your libido and what things affect it?
- Why understanding your love languages can transform your relationship with your partner
Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board August 2, 2021.