Dating After Divorce

Question: Dear Luise: I was recently divorced, (four months ago). I would like to start dating but I don’t know if it’s too soon. How can I tell? I still feel pretty fragile but I think all of this time alone isn’t very good for me, either. I’d sure like some advice on this. Thanks. Mary Ellen C.

Answer: Dear Mary Ellen: Well, aren’t you a breath of fresh air. A lot of people who divorce were dating long before the final decree was posted, and another large group were seeing someone before they filed.

This is a very personal decision. Only you know how you feel and what would work for you. I believe that you shouldn’t wait too long. You undoubtedly have scars from your failed marriage and you probably fear getting back into the mainstream. If you put if off too long, you may get used to isolation and opt for hiding your light under a bushel.

A good time to start dating is when the question comes up for you. It sounds like you may have an interested party, so why not get your feet wet. Of course you feel fragile…divorce is usually a devastating process. Start slowly and be careful. Know something about the person you’re going out with. There are a lot of kooks out there, con artists…and worse. Date people who are friends of friends, and come highly recommended. And go out with another couple whenever you can. Depending on how long you were married, the dating scene could be a very different world than the one you knew.

When you find someone interesting, take him to see old friends of yours and family. In some ways dating is the same and in others ways, it’s very different. You are older, wiser and probably not as trusting. Get feedback from others. If you’re a churchgoer, ask him if he’d like to attend with you. When I met my husband, I was a divorcee and he was a widower. When he asked me to church and then to his daughter’s house afterwards for a Sunday dinner, it was wonderful. When I was a kid, and first dating, that wouldn’t have been what I was interested in at all, at least not initially.

You may find, as I did, that things move along faster and you know what you want more readily. I had five dates with my Val, when we got married. We both knew it was right and preferred to explore our relationship “after” instead of “before”. Adventure awaits! Blessings, Luise

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