From divorce to dating

Siski Green / 18 October 2016

Dating after a divorce can be a scary prospect, but it's important to start with the right attitude - and not before you are ready.



Don’t get pushed into anything

If you don’t feel ready, you’re not ready. No matter how many well-meaning people are telling you to ‘get out there,’ don’t let yourself get pushed into something that makes you feel uncomfortable. But remember that dating can be a great way to help you get over your ex, too. It needn’t be something you take too seriously, but getting out of the house, meeting new people, socialising in general are all good ways to see yourself in a new light and feel positive.

Do go window shopping first

How wonderfully easy things are now for divorced daters – rather than having to tell the world your situation and then asking if they have any single friends, you can simply go online and see what’s out there. Sign up to an online dating service that suits you – while there are sites intended for divorcees it’s ideal to sign up to a site where you’ll meet like-minded individuals. Saga Dating is a popular option, with more than 100,000 users.

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Don’t start dating until you’ve stopped crying

Okay, so maybe you don’t have red puffy eyes but if you’re still carrying emotional baggage from the divorce – bitter feelings, anger, jealousy, for example – it’ll show. Getting through this stage may simply take time and/or counselling, but it is important you get through it before you start dating. If you don’t, whoever you date will either be put off or could even potentially abuse your vulnerability. For a positive and fulfilling dating experience, you need to feel good about yourself and not be too focused on your ex.

Find out about moving on after divorce

Do tell your kids… but don’t bring them on a date!

Your children can be a great support during and after a divorce, but chances are they have their own ideas of the kind of partner you deserve and it may not match your needs or wishes. What’s more, they may have difficulty imagining you with someone new. So let them know that you are dating but explain that at this stage it’s just for fun, nothing serious. If you trust their judgement, describe your date or show them his/her profile, but leave it at that. Unless you’re getting serious about someone, bringing your children along on a date is as big a no-no now as it was when they were babies. Don’t do it!

Don’t go for dinner… do go for coffee

Dinner is a huge commitment – realistically it’s at least an hour of your time, probably more, which, with some dates, might be one of the slowest and unpleasant hours of your life! So go for a coffee or tea and cake instead. Even better, arrange to meet in a public place where there’s something to see - an art gallery, a museum or a book shop, for example. That way you’ve got lots of topics on-hand to talk about too. Then, if you hit it off, you can always suggest a coffee afterwards or even dinner!

Take longer to call judgement

You might think you can tell whether a person is right for you from the moment you see them or speak to them, but as you get older, attraction can be more of a slow-burner rather than the immediate fiery passion you remember from your youth. If you enjoy spending time with the person, give it a few more dates. You might find that as you get to know him/her, your attraction to them sneaks up on you and you’ll be glad you kept at it a bit longer!

You’re not sure you want another relationship… ever

Why would you be? A divorce can make you wonder whether it’s worth all the pain. But dating isn’t necessarily about desperate people looking for long-term love (although obviously it can be!), it’s about having fun and just opening up possibilities. And for some people, dating can simply be a means to discovering they can still be attractive to others, rediscovering self-worth and enjoying the company of different people.

Be safe

Divorcees can be seen as easy targets, vulnerable and potentially easy to manipulate so be extra careful when online dating or meeting someone you don't know well. So always be sure to tell someone who you are meeting, where and when, and make sure you do it in a very public place, where you can arrive and leave in well-lit safety. And if you feel at all unsure at any point during the date, make your excuses and leave. Better still, set up your phone so it will give you a reminder call or discreetly ask a friend to call you, and then you have a good excuse to leave.

Ready to meet someone new and find love online? Try Saga Dating to meet like-minded singles who share your interests and outlook on life. Saga Dating is a site you can trust - we're members of the Online Dating Association.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.