Reentering the dating realm after being married for almost 20 years has been a full-on adventure. Like any other thrilling experience, the emotions have ranged from painfully terrifying to pure joy, including fantastic butterflies. Being divorced about two years now, I have had enough experience to give an opinion, but I wouldn’t say I have perfected dating – truly has anyone ever?! Here is what I have learned so far.
First, make sure you are in a healthy mindset and ready to date. I didn’t start dating right away after my divorce. There were so many significant changes for my children and me. I wanted to focus on building a stable, happy life for us, and dating wasn’t a priority at that time. Once you make that healthy, happy base and figure out who you are as a person, you will be much more confident in meeting new people and putting yourself out there. Knowing if it doesn’t work out, I still have this great life and family that I love makes me feel safe and secure.
A night with your friends is priceless. So do not give that up for a date. Instead, build that loyal tribe and treasure those times. These are the ones you call after your dates and give them all the good, bad, or indifferent details. Your friends are the ones that text you obsessively during your dates because they love you and will always be on call for a rescue if needed. Luckily, I haven’t had to call this favor in yet.
Like every other part of your life, you need to have a positive mindset to be successful. Be excited to meet new people and make new connections. Chances are you probably won’t meet your soulmate the first time out, but you could get an excellent new friend or learn something interesting.
Something I have had to relearn over the last couple of years is to trust my gut. That feeling is usually right. When you meet someone, you get a feeling about them. Honor that feeling. Start by messaging and talking over the phone to feel them out. You are not going to like or go out with everyone, and that’s fine. You can permanently block or unfriend people that push your boundaries or make you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes you make it on an actual date and find out that’s not a person for you and end it with a handshake, and that’s ok even if they ask for more. Again, honor your boundaries and feelings.
Most people are good, and if you have confidence in yourself, you will be fine. You have to have fun with the process and faith that the universe has an ultimate plan for you. I believe there is always a reason why people come into our hemisphere. It’s up to us to reflect on the purpose and learn from our experiences. If we have gained something, there is no loss.