The first date after your divorce may generate mixed emotions. On one hand, it feels great to be back on your feet, and you can’t wait to see what kinds of wonderful people you will meet. However, you may also be wondering if you still have what it takes to put yourself out there and get to know a new person romantically. As you get ready to dip your toes in the dating pool, use these tips to prepare for potentially starting a new, healthy relationship.
Clear Your Mind
It is normal to have some residual feelings after your divorce, yet harboring anger, guilt or regret will interfere with your ability to contribute within a new relationship. Before you even post that picture on your dating app profile, do some serious soul searching. Try talking to a counselor about your relationship issues so that you can enter the dating scene with a fresh perspective.
Define Your Goals
Your goals for dating may have changed since the first time around. While you never know what life might have in store for you, it is best to go on your first date with a clear idea of your desired outcome. For instance, you may just want to meet a few new people that you can enjoy a meal with on occasion. Alternatively, you might be marriage-minded and only interested in potentially serious partners. Defining your relationship goals also helps you let the other person know what you are looking for so that no one gets hurt by differing expectations.
Focus On Personal Development
Having a few things that you can talk about gives you more confidence as you start dating. Spend some time learning what makes you happy. Consider taking up a new or long-forgotten hobby. Not only will your new adventures give you some fun conversation starters, but this also puts you in touch with potential dates who already enjoy doing the same thing.
Recruit a Personal Cheerleader
Dating often involves a few up’s and down’s, and it is far easier to maneuver through the dating field with a solid support team in place. Start by working with an online counselor who can help you rehash your dates until you find what makes you happy. Then, recruit a friend or family member to be your personal cheerleader. Whether they give you a little pep talk before your dates or remind you of how wonderful you are when one is a dud. You will benefit from having someone who can help you maintain a positive perspective.
Choose a Comfortable Venue
If an awkward dinner or the bar scene is not your style, then do not feel pressured to go with past traditions. Instead, choose a venue for your date that encourages conversation through a shared experience. Meandering through a museum, art gallery, park or zoo provides a fun opportunity to get to know someone new. Spend a few minutes jotting down some locations to suggest for your dates so that you are prepared when they ask what you would like to do.
Just Do It
When it comes to dating, you can overanalyze to the point that you become frozen in fear. Therefore, it is best to just put yourself out there once you have spent a little bit of time getting prepared. Whether you set up a profile on a dating app or ask a friend to set you up on a blind date, the only way to get better at this is to get a few dates under your belt.
After being in a long-term relationship, starting to date again can leave you feeling as jittery as you did in high school. While it will take some getting used to, going on dates gives you opportunities to expand your social circle and discover the joy that comes with being open to the beginning of a new romantic partnership.