Man and woman dating after divorce talking on a date at a restaurant.

Dating After Divorce: Are You Ready to Find Love Again?

As a therapist and dating coach (and Denver dating coach) who often helps clients through divorce/breakup recovery, I often hear the question, “When is someone ready to start dating after divorce?” That’s a hard question to answer, but those who are newly divorced give dating (and finding the one) a lot more consideration than the majority of single folks out there.

Their hesitation to jump back into the dating pool makes sense; the reason being is that divorce shakes their confidence in their ability to connect. When you’ve gone through a traumatic relationship loss or breakup, it can make you question your ability to trust others but also your ability to trust your decisions on choosing a partner. Dating after divorce feels much riskier.  Whether you are sad about being single or worried about whether dating is getting harder, it is understandable to be full of apprehension.  

So, if you are lost with no idea where to start dating after a divorce, don’t worry – you are not alone, and there are ways in which you can help yourself. Here are some guidelines to help you recover and get back out there because you are worthy of love.

5 Tips For Dating After Divorce

Revise Your Self-Talk To Support Your Success

Confidence plays a major role in the healing process of divorce. Some relationships can be similar to an addiction to another person. Addicts don’t believe that they’ll ever be able to survive without their drug. Divorcees can sometimes feel like they’ll never be able to find love again.

This is a negative thinking pattern that can lead to more than just lack of confidence but isolation, anxiety, and depression. So be in-tune with what you are telling yourself, and try to create a more empowering narrative. Chances are a good dose of loving self-talk could help your situation. This is an important part of learning to love yourself, especially after a difficult break in a relationship.  For more on how to do this, check out our Happiness Class.

Assess Whether You Are You Really Ready

You may not be ready to date if you’re still, in your heart of hearts, privately carrying a torch for your Ex. Like an addiction, when a relationship ends, we can be ambivalent and question whether or not we’ll go back into that relationship again. Many people spend months after a breakup or divorce half hoping their partner may change their mind and realize that they made a huge mistake. If that’s the case for you, you’re putting your healing process in your Ex’s hands. Furthermore, any new relationship you attempt is likely to spin its wheels.

Take back control by committing to moving yourself forward. It may be helpful to get clarity and closure about why your breakup or divorce was a good thing. For example, recognizing that your past relationship wasn’t meeting all of your needs and working on clarity/recovery and closure for yourself. This may mean you keep distance from this person and take every precaution not to slip back into the purgatory of waiting and hoping. For many people, getting the support of a great breakup recovery coach or participating in a breakup recovery group can help them heal and grow, as opposed to wallpaper over the pain by dating prematurely.

Only then will you be genuinely emotionally available to begin a healthy new relationship with someone else.

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Make A Needs List

Many times in failed relationships, we were not getting our needs met before they ended. Maybe you don’t even know what your needs are in a relationship because they have been on the back burner for so long. Take your time to write out a list of what you NEED in a relationship. This list could include the following: honesty, trust, quality time, etc. This list will help guide you in the dating process for objective feedback so you can be honest with yourself and your future partner in determining whether or not a relationship will work. Knowing your own needs and values can really help you find the right person.  

I also encourage my dating coaching clients to ask themselves, “What do I need to be able to come to a new relationship the way I want to?” This way you are also looking at what you need to be able to provide in order to connect back to others in a way that isn’t compromised by manipulation or feelings of inadequacy.

Let Go Of The Pressure To Heal  

Depending on what the reasons were for the divorce, it could take days or even years to grieve this relationship trauma. Don’t let a time frame determine your journey towards love. Feeling pressured by time or other people doesn’t help us grow into the person we want to be. I encourage divorcees who are not ready to enter back into the dating world to engage their support network and surround themselves with people they can rely on.

Focus On Self-Care

Lastly, I’d suggest making time for self-care. Surround yourself with people who support you, do things that are fun, and make sure you invest in rest, nutrition, exercise, and your healing process. When you put energy into yourself and your own wellness, you’ll exude the confidence and self respect that’s so attractive to potential new partners.

Dating after divorce can feel challenging, but you have a lot of power. Remind yourself that although your mind may be trying to trick you with the worry that the rest of your life is going to be an uphill battle, it doesn’t have to be. Using some of these different approaches I’ve described, like revising your self-talk, working through the past before moving forward, prioritizing your needs, honoring your own timeline, and practicing good self care can arm you with a set of tools to help you feel genuinely able to move forward. I hope you are up to the challenge to be open to finding love again.

All the best to you,

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