Before you start dating again, you have to make sure that your divorce is settled and finalized. You need to give yourself the time and space to heal from it first before you jump into the dating pool again. After all, you don’t want to drag another person into your unfinished business or figure things out as you go because that means you will never be able to commit to the new person if you’re still carrying around some major issues from your divorce.
You also want to make sure that you’re actually ready to date again: meaning you’re emotionally available and have worked through the heartbreak and mess of your divorce. Don’t date to numb the pain or get over the loneliness or the anger or just because you need a rebound, unless you’re clear that this is what you’re looking for, don’t make promises you’re not ready to keep.
If you have kids, please understand your co-parenting situation before you bring someone else into the mix. You need to set solid rules with your ex so you can be able to give your new partner the time and attention they deserve. You can’t expect your new partner to understand your dynamic if you don’t. Managing your priorities with your ex and talking about what’s best for the kids should be something you deal with before you start dating again. If you still have custody battles or drama because of your children, take it slowly first and be honest and clear with your partner about where you stand.
Before you get back into the dating pool, figure out what you really want. If you’ve been married for a long time and you’re still adjusting to your new life or juggling work, kids and your divorce settlement, you may need some time off, therapy and some alone time to adapt to your new circumstances. If you’re confused and lost, dating may not be the best idea because you won’t be able to fully commit to your partner and your standards may be blurred. It’s important to figure out what you truly want this time around and set your priorities straight.
Above all else, if you want to start dating seriously again, you must set clear boundaries with your ex and get clear on the limits so that they don’t overstep their boundaries with your new partner or make them uncomfortable. You have to deny them many things they used to have access to in your life. After divorce, you can’t really date like a single person especially if you have kids and are still connected to your ex somehow but you can at least consider your new partner’s feelings and how they would perceive your relationship with your ex. You should also put yourself in their shoes and see what you would and wouldn’t accept if you were in that situation.
If you’re still wrapped up in all the divorce aftermath and if you’re not willing to do the work in your new relationship then don’t do it because even if you find someone who is more understanding or more compatible with you, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have to show up for them just because you’ve done it all before. Your new partner deserves just as much attention and love as your ex did and it’s not something to be taken lightly.