How soon after divorce should
you start dating?
Going through a divorce is one of the largest stressors of our life-second to death.
Your normal switches to everything being abnormal. Your routine is turned upside down and everything that was a solid foundation is now in upheaval. If you have children, this can be even more devastating because the entire family has to adjust to the changes. Add the financial implications, it’s downright frightening.
Something that helped me was realizing that before the divorce, I wasn’t all that happy. I think that people tend to forget how bad things are before you decide to pull the plug. We tend to make the relationship sunnier or brighter when we look back at what it was, instead of seeing it for what it was. In my case, I was very much in love with my ex-husband, but at the end, we clearly took two different paths which didn’t intersect. After therapy, couples therapy and attempting to date, it just didn’t work. In my case, I later came to understand why it didn’t, which helped me get past the pain and self-blame.
It took me a good long time to even think about dating again. The concept of being with someone else, even having coffee with them, made me ill. The idea of exchanging personal information made my stomach turn. I didn’t want anyone touching me. I didn’t want anyone but my ex-husband having that right. So, I guess what I’m saying is, starting to date again took me more time than I had thought it would. I simply couldn’t nor did I want to. I had to mourn the relationship. I had to get a grip what it once was but was no longer.
Many people jump right back in. How they do it is beyond me. I guess those who do are either over the relationship, or are so wounded that they simply can’t be alone. For once in my life, I HAD to be alone. I had to go through the feelings of loss, fear, the unknown and honor what I once had cherished so dear to my heart. I had to understand why it happened and how it happened. I needed to understand both our parts in it. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t repeat the same errors over, nor take on responsibilities which weren’t mine to bear. I had to fully understand the consequences-both his and my own. I needed to KNOW. However, it’s unfortunate, because we never truly know, do we?
For those who are starting to date again, I ask you to trust your heart. Our minds may tell us that we are ready-that we SHOULD be dating, but we need to follow our hearts. Doing things we should (like eating liver as a kid) as adults is counter-productive. I understand working out of one’s comfort zone, but dating involves emotion, finance, time (which is our most valuable asset) and physical preparedness. It shouldn’t be taken lightly because it also involves the same things for another person. I know one has to get back into the game-but get back when the stakes are “normal” and you are settled. Don’t pressure yourself. Your age has nothing to do with it-you are not going to run out of eligible people because you’re a certain age group. Enjoy your own time, your own hobbies, your friends and families. And date when you are ready.
Lori Mendelsohn connects people both personally and professionally. With a knack for introducing people who wind up saying, "I do," she can of course be reached by email..