Getting Back Into the Game
Getting back into the dating game after divorce is no easy task. eHarmony is here to help with The Divorced Mom’s Guide to Dating.
If the last time you were dating Cher still loved Sonny, William Shatner had a waistline, go-go boots were all the rage and you could actually hear yourself talk in a bar, you’re no doubt daunted by the prospect of getting back out there.
Right now, the world of awkward small talk and goodnight kisses may seem about as attractive to you as a new Britney album, or perhaps you think you’re prepared to give it another whirl. Here are four ways to know if you’re ready.
1) Riding the Peace Train
Before throwing yourself into the dating future, it’s essential that you’ve gotten over your past. Perhaps you endured an especially messy divorce, and along with separating the wedding china, you decided to separate yourself from the rest of humanity.
However your heart got broken, you need to have made peace with it before successfully getting back in the game. So if you’ve stopped blaming the world for the ex who cheated on you or treated you badly, and now realize that one individual doesn’t represent all of humankind, you’re ready to try again. Similarly, if you understand that marriages break down, have learned from your mistakes, know that you gave it your best and realize that you’re not solely to blame for reality not meeting your expectations, then you’re a step closer to collecting that china set all over again with someone who’s grown as you have. No one forgets the past, but we can all learn from it and use it to reconnect with the world as a wiser person.
2) You’ve got a Life
At the end of a marriage, sometimes it’s hard to remember what it was like before it – or worse, what YOU were like before it. As you settle into a routine with a partner, the line between your tastes and theirs gets blurred, and you become an amalgam of each other’s wants and desires. Suddenly left to your own devices, it’s then that you get to revive the old you. This is why you need recharging time between relationships: not just to lick your wounds, but to rediscover what makes you tick. Whether enjoying getting back in touch with old friends, spending more time with the children, re-enrolling in that language class or training for a marathon, you slip into a routine that’s all about you.
When you stop looking to find someone to fill the void and instead would like someone to share your already full life with, you’re really ready to start dating again. Make that special someone a big part of your life – but not all of your life.
3) Natural Resources
Let’s not fool ourselves: dating is an activity. At the very least, you need special equipment (nice clothes), special skills (the ability to write witty emails), high energy (both mental and physical) and sufficient funds (for restaurants and movie tickets, at the least). On top of this, the experience can put you on an emotional roller-coaster, so you need a lot of mental energy and a thick skin to successfully stay on course.
If you don’t have at least three-quarters of these resources, then perhaps you need some more recharging time. If you have more of these resources than not, then get them sharpened up for the job at hand – you’re ready.
4) Human Sacrifice
You’re single, you’re a mom, you’re busy, you’re sociable – you’ve got a full plate. When you want to treat yourself to a new golf bag or purse, there’s no cosigner to wag a disapproving finger. If you want to stay up all night watching TV and eating snacks, you do – and ram as much popcorn between the cushions as you like.
There’s a lot to be said for the single life, and if that’s how you’re feeling, then this may not be the right time to start dating again.
Having a partner in your life can be enriching, moving, exciting, rewarding and downright fun, and at some point, you weigh those benefits against those of being solo, and know in your heart that it’s time to leave the comfort zone and grow.