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  • Writer's pictureTate Kerkhoff

Take on Dating After Divorce: 12 Tips on How to Navigate

A Professional Matchmakers Take on Dating After Divorce: 12 Tips on How to Navigate

Just the phrase “Dating after Divorce” sounds daunting. You just went, or have been dealing with what may have been the toughest period in your life and now you’re supposed to think about dating? WTF?!? Ending a marriage can and will bring many things to the forefront. Insecurities, fears, desires, new deal breakers and many other emotions. All these things can make dating after a divorce the most nerve-wracking thing you do, but you know what? You deserve to be happy; you deserve to find your person. So, don’t fret, and hang in there. Kudos to you for even searching for an article like this. That means you’re getting ready to throw yourself back out there. Ready to give love a shot? We’ve put together a list of a few tips that may help you move quickly to your goal.

The first question you must ask yourself is are you ready? Do you feel ready? Are you still grieving the divorce? Are you sure you’re ready to move on? We may want to hold off if we still find ourselves talking about our ex a lot, still finding it tough in moments to be alone. We all crave the validation of someone new, but this won’t help heal the wounds and it is not a great way to start a new relationship. We must be emotionally ready to begin dating or we aren’t being fair to ourselves, or the dates we go on.

Truthfully there is no timeline for readiness. Some find it immediately after divorce, some take years. The path of divorce is different for everyone and while one may have had a painstakingly long process and after years of proceedings and court dates, they may have been well prepared to start dating again. Some may have taken years to become the person they want to be for their one true love. There is no one size fits all timeline so don’t put that pressure on yourself. When you’re ready, you will know.

So, we’ve made the decision to put ourselves out there, enter the dating pool. Now what the heck do we do? Here are a few tips to help you along the way.

1. REGAIN CONFIDENCE Set yourself up for success by becoming the confident person you were meant to be. Learn how to build this. There are so many ways to get back to confidence. First is recognizing your patterns and possible destructive ones. Get ahead of them and re-write or shift them into a more positive outlook. Stand in front of a mirror, say them out loud so you can begin to heal.

Simple Ways to Build Confidence - Get healthy. Go to the gym, join a fitness group. When we feel good about ourselves on the outside, we will start to build back inside. - Get a new hobby. Challenge yourself with something new. - Read as much as possible. Reading will undoubtedly help build confidence. - Spend time with those who mean most to you. The people who love you.

After a marriage is over, we all feel our self esteem crumble. We all at times feel like failures or that everything is our fault. Find people and things that support your rebirth and help build your confidence so that you can show up as your true self when you begin to date again. Hiring a Matchmaker will likely mean that they will have the tools and skills to help move this along quickly. 2. BE YOURSELF Speaking of showing up as yourself. REMOVE THE MASKS. By now we all hope to have learned a few things from previous marriages. We can go as far back to the beginning, and we may have noticed sort of a show we put on for that person. A show that wasn’t truly us. Now that we are aware of these patterns, we must ensure we are not repeating them. This can be very tough when all we want is recognition, attention, and validation, but if we go into a date acting as someone we are not, they will soon find out as will you, and not everyone is willing to work through these obstacles. The best and truest way to date is to show up as you are, and hey remember that confidence thing. Yeah, remain confident in who you are and what you bring to the table because you do deserve the best. As Matchmakers we constantly and consistently work on this with our clients. The only way to find authentic love is to be authentically yourself.

3. KNOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR This could mean something as simple as making a list of what we are and what we are NOT looking for. Are you ready to get marriage serious or just looking to date and see what’s out there. The main point is to be clear with your intentions to whomever you are on a date with. Not everyone is going to be authentic in their intentions, so it’s up to you to first know what you want and recognize when you see something you don’t. After a divorce we should all know no one and nothing is perfect, so you may have drawn up a unicorn of sorts on paper, just know that person doesn’t exist. We all have our shit we bring to the relationship. When we stand by what we know we are looking for, and remain true to ourselves, we will call in a partner who mirrors the same. Calling on a Matchmaker to help remind you of exactly what you came to them for is one of the main reasons Matchmakers have a job. We are here to keep you focused on the direction you want to go.

4. LEAVE YOUR TYPE BEHIND We all have certain things we are looking for in our partner. Of course, we want to be attracted to them and share similar values. We must be careful of being rigid or too specific when it comes to “your type.” One thing a divorce may have taught you is that “your type” just may not be as perfect as you think. Be bold and go against what you normally go for and recognize that maybe some things about that type aren’t good for you after all. Remember, you just went through a divorce, you’ve evolved into a new person and have spent the time healing and growing. Let’s not revert based on a type. Keep your mind open to all possibilities. A Matchmaker will keep you focused on what you’re truly looking for and keep your mind open to all the possibilities you never imagined.

5. BE A GO GETTER We know, nights on the couch watching Netflix are super fun, we all do it. Let’s get serious though, your soulmate isn’t going to fall into your lap while you are hunkered inside watching Love is Blind. We must be proactive in our search. Get out there, go to the gym, go to the library, get a coffee, and sit in the shop for a bit. Say hi to the person you’re attracted to at the grocery store. Put yourself in situations you normally wouldn’t and expose yourself to the possibility of meeting someone new. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This doesn’t mean you have to go back to going out every night and drinking at bars and nightclubs. In fact, I’d shy away from that, or limit that activity. Try something new, join a club, do something you’re interested in. Go to the park with a book, maybe it’s a weekend getaway to a new little town. Know what your interests are and go do that. Maybe its train for a triathlon, maybe it’s sitting by yourself at a coffee shop. Main thing, put yourself out there. Hiring a Matchmaker can help you build the skills to put yourself out there, plus they probably know where other like-minded singles are spending their time leading you down the right path.

6. TAKE YOUR TIME Wait, didn’t you just tell us to be a go-getter? Yeah, we did, but we’re also saying to take your time in doing so. Regardless of where you are at in the healing after a divorce spectrum, it’s usually not a great idea to all the sudden join 7 dating apps or hitting the local pub 5 nights a week. This will ultimately lead to burn out and not only will you feel overwhelmed, but you’ll end up jaded with the whole process of dating. Start slow, maybe one app, maybe tell a few close friends you’re ready to put yourself out there. Shameless plug, investigate a Matchmaker. A Professional Matchmaker will have your best interests at the forefront, and it will help take a lot of the pressure off of you to spend the time it may take to find your king or queen. Matchmakers will follow a strict process of vetting and searching for the right person and yes this will take time.

7. GET BACK TO WHAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT Depending on where you are at with your life and where you are with the process of after divorce healing. We must remember what really matters to us. Are you looking for someone to understand you have 3 kids and a crazy ex? Are you looking to have more children? Are you searching for someone to start a business with? What are the core things you are looking for and what matters? Each divorce brings its own set of realities to the situation. You may or may not be on good terms with your ex. You may or may not be fighting over time with your kids. We must remember what this will mean when it comes to being in a relationship with someone new. If finding a father or mother figure for your children is important, we probably won’t be looking for this person at 1am in a nightclub. We already went through the pain of a divorce, let’s try to make things a little easier on ourselves and each other. Again, a Matchmaker is going to keep you focused on what you are truly looking for.

8. DO NOT COMPARE YOUR DATES TO YOUR EX Many Matchmakers and love professionals will say this is the kiss of death for any new relationship. Here’s another challenge for you as those thoughts of comparing them to your ex come in, learn to push them away. Having these thoughts are not only unfair to you, but to the other person. We are all unique individuals, and we are not in our old relationships, we are in new ones. Give them a chance. One service provided by many Matchmakers is date coaching and analysis of dates. We are trained to help you see which parts of the date are acceptable for certain topics etc. or when the right time is to mention things you’d like to share.

9. DON’T PUT SO MUCH PRESSURE ON YOURSELF OR THE OTHER PERSON This ties into the last point and a few others. We don’t want to rush this. So, before we start writing the script to your next wedding and take this person home to meet the family or your kids, remind yourself that you are organically starting a new relationship. Simple as that, if it’s meant to be, the wedding story will come. Stay present, enjoy the moments and this will help eliminate any additional unnecessary stress or anxiety. As Matchmakers we of all people understand the time it can take to find your soulmate. The more pressure we put on ourselves the further we push love away.

10. GO ONLINE, BUT TREAD LIGHTLY Look, dating apps and sites are here to stay. It’s believed that 1 in 4 new relationships start online. We are not trying to fight the trend; we are only saying to know what this avenue brings. Yes, there are true love stories happening from online dating. There are also millions of people on these apps/sites that have no idea what they want, only like the validation of being matched and can even wreak havoc on someone’s life. Catfishing is a real thing and unfortunately seems to be happening often. These apps and sites all have algorithms that work against anyone seriously looking for love. There is nothing wrong with online dating so if you’re weary, maybe try a dating coach, or again seek out a Matchmaker to help you guide through the process. There are services out there that will help you build your profile and stay true to yourself in your search.

11. LEAVE YOUR EX OUT OF IT Yes, it will have to come up eventually, so let it happen naturally. Yes, it is OK to tell your date you’ve been married. Remember that whole authentic thing? The last thing we want to do is to start badmouthing or venting to our date about our ex. Yes, we all bring the U-Haul truck of baggage to the new relationship but unloading all of it on them in the first few dates will only hurt your odds at another date. All of that said, once you feel comfortable with someone after the proper amount of time there is no need to tiptoe around the issues. When done properly, and delicately this can potentially help you understand each other and help build the bond that ensures a bright future. 12. ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INTUITION With this last tip we must remember that we are not always right. Our guts and ego’s do have a way of playing tricks on us. With the knowledge and experience of a divorce we should be more in tune with ourselves than ever. We’ve hopefully learned from our mistakes and are working toward ending the patterns that are destructive. Time to take advantage of all the work you’ve done. If it doesn’t feel right, sit with it, ask yourself where this feeling may be coming from. Is it ego, is it an old feeling, is it valid. Only you know what’s truly there for you. You know what the red flags are and the green flags, trust your gut and move forward. If it doesn’t sit well with you, there’s likely a reason.

As we move forward on our journey to find love again remember a few things. This should be an exciting time in your life, having fun and getting back to your true self. Take your time and leave the pressure at the door. Keep an open mind and let things organically come to fruition. We all deserve the love we desire, and it is out there. Just remember, there is no shame in seeking out guidance or help from a professional. There are tons of tremendous Matchmakers, Love, Life, and Intimacy Coaches that will help you get yourself back out there.

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