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Relationships After Divorce Tips

Read these 6 Relationships After Divorce Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Relationship tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Ready to Date Again: The Personals

The time following a divorce provides you with an opportunity to be alone with yourself - something many folks never experience. This doesn't mean you isolate yourself. On the contrary, seek out friends and family you may have drifted from during your marriage. Their support and friendship can strengthen you as you recover and develop new independence.

Once you're on the other side of this process, you'll know when you're ready to date again. You'll be able to distinguish between dating out of loneliness and neediness vs. being ready for healthy companionship. Many folks coming out of a divorce are in a different phase of life from when they were last single and dating. They may be significantly older, may have children, a career and a life that's pretty structured and filled up. What may have once seemed a great way to meet people--parties or singles bars, for example--may no longer feel right for you.


Reconciliation After Divorce

Reconciliation after divorce might seem unthinkable to many who've survived an ugly divorce. But it is not an uncommon phenomenon. You were married in the first place for a reason, after all, and sometimes divorced couples realize that they acted in haste by separating and divorcing. Any number of reasons may draw them back together again from simple love and attachment to finances or children.

Whatever the reasons for reconciling after divorce, this is not a process to enter into lightly. Marriage is serious business as is divorce. If you've done both already and are now rethinking the divorce and are looking at reconciliation, clearly there's some major ambivalence going on here. Flip-flopping around like this isn't only bad for you but will affect the way friends and family see you and how much they trust your relationship. Don't let their opinions stop you but understand your flip-flopping has consequences. This is especially true if children are involved who will be hugely jerked around if their parents keep splitting up (to the point of divorcing) and reconciling.

Even if you desperately miss your ex-spouse, do NOT just jump back in. Take a few deep breaths and think. This would be a great time to get some counseling, both individually for each of you and eventually couples counseling. What brought you together in the first place, what caused you to divorce, and what is making you consider reconciliation? Are you returning out of fear of loneliness or abandonment or our of pressure from your ex or others? These aren't worthy reasons to recommit to a relationship that ended in divorce.


Marriage After Divorce

Marriage after divorce can be a testament to peoples' faith in love and commitment. Even though they have gone through an unsuccessful attempt at marriage, they're ready and willing to try again.

Here are some ideals to understand or accomplish before you try again.

  • Every relationship builds on what you're still learning about yourself and what you want in a relationship.
  • You have left the bulk of your old baggage behind, old disappointments and old expectations. Or at least you hopefully understand your issues and you know how to be wary of falling into old patterns.
  • You understand that having a solid friendship is the most important basis for a successful marriage. Attraction, romance, sex, and fun times are great but can rarely sustain a marriage in the absence of a strong underlying friendship.
  • You have learned that open communication and respectful conflict resolution are critical, even about such difficult subjects as sex, finances, parenting styles, and in-laws.
  • If children are involved, you have learned that they come with a package deal. You're each prepared to deal with the challenges of a blended family.
  • Take time to assess and compare your long-term goals. Sorting this out beforehand greatly enhances the marriage's potential for long-term success.


Dating After Divorce

Dating after divorce is challenging. There's no magic hourglass which determines when to start dating again, but it is a good idea to take a break before dating again.

Folks who are recently divorced usually have too many emotions stirred up to enter a new relationship without it getting messy and complicated. Be good to yourself and take some time to deal with the huge loss you have just gone through. Although difficult to do, a year is a reasonable break to strive for. If you can wait, it will make letting go of the old and entry into a new dating relationship much less bumpy.

This time delay becomes even more important if you have children. They too will have feelings of grief and loss, sadness and anger. Their adjustment, ability to deal with the concept of you dating, and acceptance of a new adult in your lives will be aided by putting things on hold for a while.

When coming out of a divorce many newly single people are in a different phase of life from when they were last dating. Personals, online chat rooms, and video-dating services have become a popular way for singles to meet and date, less intimidating than the bar scene.

While these venues can provide a safe, anonymous way to explore dating after divorce, make sure to stay safe.

  • Consider which online service or publication you use for personals. Explore how applicants are screened. If it's a publication, check where this publication is distributed. This will impact who is looking at your personals or your online information.
  • Choose an anonymous screen name that reveals no personal information but isn't overly suggestive (Janet-S-1961 is too informative while Hot-Lips-69 may get you some unwanted responses).
  • In general, give out no identifying information. It's remarkably easy to find a person with minimal amounts of information.
  • If and when you are ready to meet, use only first names. Meet the first time during the day, with a friend, in a public place. If a friend can't come with you, make sure someone knows where you are.
  • If no one shows up for your first date, make sure you aren't followed when you leave the meeting place. Predators have been known to “no show,” watch a target at a designated meeting place, and follow them back home.
  • You may feel you've made a “love connection” after that first date. Maybe you have! Still don't let down all your defenses. This may be “the One” but if it is, he or she will be patient. Don't let yourself be rushed.
In short, be safe and have fun.


When to Start Dating Again

Many folks emerge from divorce with feelings of hurt, anger, mistrust, and pessimism about relationships. The idea of a new relationship sounds impossible. Others may have the same feelings but throw themselves into new relationships anyway.

Those who wait are usually better off. Some time to recover from a divorce is generally a good thing. It's an opportunity for growth, to assess what went wrong the last time, and a time to reflect and learn more about how you relate and cope within a relationship. If one emerges from divorce with nothing but blame and bitterness for the other person, your work is not done. And you'll be vulnerable to a repeat next time around.

Even if your ex-spouse was a cheat, liar, alcoholic or an abuser it is good to focus on what you learned about yourself through the relationship. You are not to blame for any of those things; they are not your fault. It is a waste of time to beat yourself up or carry around guilt. Instead, educate yourself about early warning signs of these personality types, look at what attracted you to the person, take note of red flags and instinctual responses that can alert you in the future. Counseling is often helpful in dealing with these issues.


Dating After Divorce: Take Time

When dating after divorce, it's easy to see your first relationship through rose-colored glasses. This is understandable and normal.

Most of us emerge from any breakup, to say nothing of a divorce, with a lot of pain and heartache. Perhaps we feel like a failure or feel rejected or abandoned. This is especially true if we weren't the ones who wanted the divorce, but even if the divorce was on our initiative, the process is painful.

The first new relationship after all those painful feelings, therefore, can feel like a gift from heaven, salvation from rejection, loneliness, and failure. And it may be all of these things. But it can also be a rebound relationship, one that pulls you out of those depths and results in your seeing the new relationship through a distorted lens. You might ignore or dismiss obvious areas of incompatibility. Worse yet, you might gloss over potentially dangerous issues like abusive or controlling behaviors, substance abuse, or other risk-taking behaviors.

Some of these risks are reduced by giving yourself a sufficient break between your divorce and dating after the divorce is final. That first relationship after your divorce may be exciting, fun, and full of new experiences. Enjoy it, love, live, and learn. But be careful.

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Guru Spotlight
Barbara Gibson