Matchmaker Gives Tips For Dating After Divorce If You’re Ready To Get Back Out There
Matchmaker Susan Trombetti’s Tips For Dating After Divorce
As a matchmaker, I can tell you If there’s anything that can totally shake up your perspective on relationships, it’s a divorce. Am I right? Ending a marriage can bring to light your insecurities, your fears, your unfulfilled desires, and your deal-breakers, all while causing you to reconsider what’s actually important to you in a partner. But you know what? You deserve to find happiness — and if you’re gearing up to get back out there, bravo on being brave enough to give love another shot. First, though I have some tips for dating after divorce to share.
Lots of people ask about how long to wait before dating after divorce, and the truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all timeline. The real questions are: Have you allowed yourself some time to grieve your previous marriage? Just because the divorce papers have been signed doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to move on. Pay attention if you find yourself thinking and talking about your ex a lot — and if you need a little more time to process your feelings and let go of the past, be patient with yourself. As much as you may crave some validation from someone new, that’s not going to heal your wounds, nor is it the right way to embark on a healthy relationship. And jumping back into the dating game before you’re emotionally ready isn’t fair to yourself — or your prospective dates.
So, you’ve mourned your marriage and taken some time to reflect on it — now what? Before you get out there again, there are some things you should know. If you’re wondering how to start dating after divorce, here are my tried-and-true tips for finding love again.
1.Build up your confidence
My first piece of advice for getting back into dating after divorce is to focus on repairing your self-esteem — because ending a marriage can take a serious toll on it. You may feel like it’s your fault that the marriage fell apart, or like you’re a “failure” because it didn’t work out. Before you can even think about introducing a new love interest in your life, you need to do some work on yourself to banish these self-sabotaging thoughts. The best way to attract a healthy relationship is by having confidence — and I don’t mean faking it, I mean really believing from within that you are worthy and capable of love.
Any time you notice a negative thought about yourself popping up, write it down or say it out loud. As you start to notice your destructive thought patterns, you’ll be able to slowly re-wire them and shift toward more positive self-talk. At the same time, build up your confidence by doing things that make you feel good about you — whether that’s hitting the gym to strength train, spending time around supportive loved ones, or working on a new hobby.
Your support system can play a role in this, too. So, let your friends and fam know you’re starting to date again. Then they can cheer you on — providing a quick text to pump you up before a first date, or making you laugh after a terrible dud, to help keep you motivated.
2. Define what you’re looking for.
Before you hop back into the dating world, take a beat to determine what you want out of your next relationship. Are you looking for a life partner? Just a fun partner-in-crime for now? Someone to travel with, that may turn into something more? Once you’ve defined it, make a list of all the traits that are most important to you. Star the ones that are must-haves, and note which ones you can live without. Remember: no one’s going to check every single one of your boxes, so you need to be flexible and open-minded.
Figuring all of this out beforehand will help you to narrow your focus — thus preventing you from wasting time by pursuing anyone who doesn’t meet your needs.
3.Take it slow.
Baby steps. That’s the key here. Don’t go downloading a bunch of apps and swiping through an endless sea of prospects — it’s a surefire recipe for getting overwhelmed, burned out, and jaded very quickly. Instead, start by informing a few trusted friends that you’re looking to meet new people. Put yourself out there by attending more social and networking events. At a certain point, if you’re serious about finding “The One,” you may need to enlist some outside help. As an exclusive matchmaker, I can help you to find high-quality people you might not otherwise come across.
I’m going to be real with you. The man or woman of your dreams is not going to simply land in your lap — you need to really make an effort to put yourself in new situations and expose yourself to new people, and that may require getting out of your comfort zone. If you’re a little shy in social situations, I can help to coach you through the process so that you’re prepared to approach new people and make connections.
Start by going to some new bars, restaurants, and events rather than the same old haunts. Take up a new hobby, start volunteering, or join a local community board. That way, you’ll start meeting people who actually share some of your interests.
5. Forget your “type”
While it’s definitely valid to want to find someone who you’re attracted to, and who shares similar values, be careful of being too specific and rigid when it comes to your “type.” In fact, going through a divorce can be an excellent lesson in realizing that the people you’re drawn to or think are “perfect” for you aren’t always a good match. Dare to ditch the idea of a “type” and recognize that what used to work for you may not anymore. After all, you’re a growing, evolving human being — so it’s crucial to keep an open mind when it comes to dating. If you come across someone who breaks the mold of who you’ve dated in the past, lean into that. You may find them to be a refreshing change of pace.
6. Let yourself play the field.
It may be tempting to lock down another serious relationship after divorce if that’s what feels “safe” to you. Even if that’s what you’re ultimately after, though, I usually don’t recommend putting all your eggs in one basket right off the bat. After being in a marriage, you deserve some time to explore the dating realm again for a bit before making a commitment. This way, you can start to get a stronger sense of what works for you. If you do decide to go this route, however, I strongly advise being clear about that with your dates so there are no misunderstandings or hurt feelings. And if you don’t feel comfortable going on dates with multiple people at once or that’s just not your style, that’s OK, too.
7. Remember what’s important.
Don’t forget that the most important thing to assess in any dating situation is how that person makes you feel. Do you feel respected and valued? Do you feel attractive? In the dating world, there’s so much emphasis on compatibility — and while, yes, it’s true that it’s important to have a few things in common, don’t place too much importance on having the same interests or personality traits. Honestly, it can be pretty boring to date a clone version of yourself. Another key question to ask yourself, particularly if you’re looking for a long-term love, is: do you want similar things out of life?
8. Don’t compare your dates to your ex.
This is basically the kiss of death for any budding relationship. So, as soon as you start mentally comparing your date to how your ex behaved, make it a point to push those thoughts away. It’s not fair to you, because you need to be assessing the person in front of you as a unique individual, not in the context of your last relationship. And it’s not fair to them, either, because you’re not giving them a real chance if they unknowingly need to live up to someone else.
9. Keep it low-pressure.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You really don’t want to rush this. Before you start fantasizing about your next wedding or thinking about introducing your date to your kids, remind yourself that your only objective right now is to meet new people. That’s it. Taking the pressure off the situation can allow you to enjoy the process a bit more, and hopefully, eliminate some unnecessary anxiety and stress.
10. Tread carefully online.
Dating apps have become super common, and it makes sense — they offer a convenient way to connect with lots and lots of people. But they aren’t for everyone. Not every person on these apps knows what they want, and not every one of them is serious about finding someone they click with long-term. So, be on guard when using these apps and consider other avenues for meeting singles. Do your research on which apps are catered toward committed relationships rather than hookups, and be aware that online dating does come with certain risks, like catfishing and kittenfishing.
11. Avoid lots of ex talk.
If it comes up naturally, it’s OK to tell your date you’ve already been married before. But don’t start badmouthing your ex, or venting about the divorce process — unloading that baggage onto someone new is really not a good look (and likely will hurt your odds of getting a second date).
That said, once you’re comfortable enough with someone and you’ve been on a handful of dates, don’t feel like you have to tiptoe around or hide the facts of your past from them. In fact, understanding where you’re coming from will be helpful as you potentially build a future together.
12. Trust your instincts
As someone who’s divorced, you’ve likely learned from your mistakes and experiences, and can often spot red flags and identify your boundaries better than other daters can. Take advantage of this. If you just aren’t feeling a connection with someone, or you’ve got a bad feeling about them, trust your gut and move on. You’ve already been through a marriage and a divorce, so you know yourself well enough by now to figure out what does and doesn’t work for you.
The number one thing to keep in mind as you re-enter the dating realm is to have fun. Take things slow, keep an open mind, ditch the pressure, and let connections evolve organically — that’s the way to enter this new chapter post-divorce. And remember, there’s no shame in getting a little additional guidance as you get back out there. I’m always here to help, whether that means boosting your confidence, assessing what you’re looking for, or putting you in front of high-quality, like-minded people who give you a whole new perspective on love.
If you want to book a private session with our matchmaker, Susan Trombetti, please inquire at email@example.com to book your session.