Dating after divorce: how do I know I’m ready?

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Illustration of couple meeting on a date

How soon is too soon? The decision to date again after divorce is a very personal one but there are signs that you can look out for to determine whether you’re ready to get back out there or not. Author and success coach Rebecca Perkins gives the lowdown on dating after divorce

Many of us jump straight into a new relationship after divorce. It’s as if we’re afraid of being alone, that we only know who we are as part of a couple. Others are too frightened to get involved with someone again as we’ve been coloured by our negative relationship experiences.

Are your friends starting to set you up with their single pals or suggesting online dating sites you could join? I promise, they’re doing this out of love for you and for your happiness. In reality, only you will know when you’re ready to start dating again after divorce.

We often want to rush through the pain of separation and divorce and quickly move on to the next phase of our lives. We long to be happy and carefree again, to feel like our old selves. But this transition time is important. It’s the time we have to get to know ourselves, heal our wounds, and find happiness as a single person.

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How do you know you’re ready to start dating again?

Don’t rush

Take your time. You will spend time grieving after a divorce, even if it was your decision to end the marriage. Spend time alone reflecting on your marriage – the good and the bad – and then learn from it.

By the time we’ve reached midlife, we’ve all got a fair share of baggage. But you don’t want to take any more than you need to into a new relationship. Take time to unpack it and decide what you can leave behind.

Consider your values

Question your values. What’s important to you in a relationship? What are your deal breakers? How do you want to feel in a relationship? If you’re not sure, it might be worth working with a coach to find the answers to these questions.

Love yourself

Learning to love yourself, even the parts you’re not so keen on, is fundamental if you want to move into a new relationship. I didn’t love myself at the time my marriage ended. How could I expect someone to love me if I didn’t show myself love and respect? We must love ourselves, and have made peace with ourselves, before we start dating again.

Let go of the past

Let go of your ex. Deal with any lingering resentment, anger or romantic feelings you may still have for them. Too many people start dating only to realise that they’re still in love with their ex. Once you can think about them without emotion and you’ve dealt with any residual issues, it’s time to start dating again.

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