Somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of the people who get married in the U.S. end up getting divorced at some point. Many of them go on to date other people once their divorces are finalized.
Dating after divorce can be difficult to do, though, especially if you were married for a long time. So if you’re planning on getting back out there in the dating world following a divorce, there are some things you should do to prepare yourself for it.
Here are 10 things to keep in mind for your first date after divorce.
1. Make Sure You’re Ready to Start Dating Again
The first thing you should do before dating after divorce is take a good, long look in the mirror and decide if you’re definitely ready to date again.
There are some people who try to rush right back into the dating world following a divorce. And often times, they’re simply not ready for everything that comes along with trying to find a connection with a new person.
There is no set time as far as when you’ll be ready to date again. But you shouldn’t feel pressured to dive headfirst into dating if you don’t think you’re 100 percent prepared for it.
2. Find the Right Person for Your First Date
If you decide that you’re ready to tackle divorced dating, the next step will be to find the right person to go out on a date with you. The last thing you want is for your first post-divorce date to be awful because you chose the wrong person to go on it with.
It’s impossible to eliminate all the risk associated with trying to find a date. But you can do it by asking friends or family members to hook you up with someone who might be right for you.
That doesn’t mean you have to try and land Prince Charming on your first attempt at dating. But it does mean you should be a little selective and choose someone who, at least in theory, could be compatible with you.
3. Talk to Your Kids About Your Date Before It Happens
If you have kids, dating after divorce can be especially tricky. You may have gone to great lengths to help your children cope with the divorce itself, but dating someone else is a whole new ballgame.
If you intend to start dating again, sit down with your kids and explain to them why you want to date. They’ll be a lot more open to it when you talk to them about your intentions.
4. Use Your Date as an Excuse to Pamper Yourself
One of the best parts about dating after divorce is that it gives you an opportunity to pamper yourself.
You can go out and get your hair and nails done for your date and not feel bad about doing it. You can also treat yourself to a massage or a facial so that you feel your best when your date picks you up.
5. Dress Your Best for Your Date
If it’s been years since your last official date, you might not know exactly what to wear. Dating attire has gotten a lot more casual than it used to be in many instances.
Don’t let this deter you from dressing your best for your date. You should already be planning on getting your hair and nails done, so why not complete the look by putting on a dress that makes you look fabulous?
6. Pick a Place Where You’ll Feel Comfortable for Your Date
As your first date after divorce inches closer, you’re probably going to start feeling nervous. Those nerves are only going to grow in intensity over time.
Take some of the pressure that you’re feeling off yourself by picking a place for your date where you’ll feel the most comfortable.
That might mean choosing a more relaxed restaurant that will allow you to get to know someone while surrounded by a bunch of other people. It might also mean going to a movie where you won’t have to spend two hours talking to someone you don’t know.
Pick a place where you know you’ll be at ease. It’ll allow you to enjoy your date rather than feeling like you’re on pins and needles all night long.
7. Come Up With Icebreaker Questions to Ask
Some people don’t have any problem sitting down and asking questions to someone they don’t know. If you fall into that category, you probably don’t need to spend much time thinking about questions to ask prior to a first date.
But if you’re the type of person who doesn’t know what to ask on a date, come up with some sample questions beforehand. These questions might include:
- “Where did you go to college?”
- “What do you do for work?”
- “What kinds of things do you enjoy doing on the weekend?”
- “Who is your favorite NFL team?”
- “What’s the last really good book you read?”
You might even consider sitting down with a friend and giving your icebreaker questions a test run. You could find that it’s not as hard as you think to carry on a free-flowing conversation with someone when you have questions in mind.
8. Be Open to Talking About Yourself
When you’re on a first date, you don’t necessarily want to dominate the conversation. But you do want to prepare to talk about yourself for at least part of the date.
Think about the things that you’re comfortable sharing on a first date as well as the things that you would rather keep to yourself. It’ll allow you to open up to your date without going too overboard.
9. Avoid Talking About Your Divorce
If you’ve been divorced for a few years now, your divorce might not even come up in the course of a conversation on a first date.
But if your divorce is still a relatively new thing, you might be tempted to bring it up on your first date. Try not to do it!
You could give your date the impression that you’re not over your divorce. You could also drudge up feelings of anger and frustration and bring them into your date.
You can casually mention that you’re divorced at some point and let your date know you have kids if you’d like. But don’t get too much deeper than that on a first date.
10. Try Not to Expect Too Much From Your First Date
No matter how good a first date might go, remember: It’s only a first date!
When dating after divorce, there are some people who scare off their dates by trying to get too serious too quickly. It’s best to take things slow and allow them to develop over time rather than rushing right into a relationship.
If you have a great time on a first date and you would like to go on a second date, send signs that make that clear. By simply letting someone know you enjoyed their company, you’ll put a second date on the table and give them the chance to make the next move.
Dating After Divorce Can Be a Rewarding Experience
Initially, dating after divorce can be very overwhelming. It’s not easy to go from being married to dating again.
But once you’ve been on a few dates, you’ll enjoy the connections that you make with new people. You’ll also increase your chances of finding someone that you want to get to know better.
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