There comes a time that after the wound of divorce has healed, you find yourself ready to consider the dating scene again. Like anything you feel out of practice with, dating can seem a daunting game. The baggage, the children, and financial ties to your ex-partner: all these things are thoughts and concerns that hold you back. Here, we consider the common questions that all re-singles consider when getting back into the dating game.
Timing is Everything
Is there a right time to move on to a new partner? This varies from person to person, but a clear indication is that you no longer feel the need to talk incessantly about your ex. It is important that the anger and bitterness you might have felt towards your ex has lifted enough for you to be open-minded and enjoy yourself with a new person. Ease the post-divorce healing by talking through your situation with a trained, experienced professional.
The Next Steps
If all is going smoothly with your new found friend, you will find yourself thinking about the usual ‘commitment questions’ : When should they meet your children? How long should you wait before you consider co-habiting ? Should you ever consider re-marrying? Again, these answers vary from couple to couple, but something important for all re-singles to remember is to have your finances clearly mapped out. Think tactfully and try and get an appropriate balance between being open with your new partner, and protecting your funds and assets , should anything turn sour in the future.
Something that is essential to think about for divorcees with children is how to merge your new relationship with the people of your previous relationship- your little ones? Whilst it is tempting to swoop in there and bring together the people that matter to you, it can be confusing and unsettling for children who may feel torn between their parent and your new partner . Things such as differing parenting styles, family dynamic and financial expectations are all things to approach carefully and consider. Perhaps better to wait until you feel the relationship is long lasting before you consider introducing your children to them. Likewise, your new partner may feel that ‘meeting the children’ is a daunting process, so don’t rush things and let nature run its course.
New Partner: Old Tricks
So it may be you who is dating a divorcee; what do you do when children are brought into the equation? Remember that children are young and malleable, so being presented as a new and long-term person in their lives means a lot to them. If you do feel that the time to meet the children has come, remember to be relaxed and don’t force yourself on them; children can smell ‘fakes’ from a mile off. Be gentle, open and respect them enough to allow them to come to you when they are ready to do so.
It’s A Big World
So even if you’re ready to date, where can you find potential partners? As previously mentioned, the dating world can be a hugely overwhelming place, particularly after a knock on the old self esteem after a messy divorce. But as scary as it can be for a re-single, it can also be empowering. With that knowledge of what you want from a relationship, less tolerance for being ‘messed around’ and greater awareness of your faults/ perks in a relationship, you are somewhat more equipped than a newbie to the game might be.
Remember to be true to yourself; if you’re not ready to get back into the dating world post-divorce, then take your time and rediscover the other things in life that you may have sacrificed. Divorce may mean the end of a relationship with someone else, but it is also the beginning of a relationship with yourself, and when ready, with another.