Statistics show that 75 percent of people who divorce remarry within five years. While that may be good news for many, it's not easy re-entering the dating arena. What's more, getting the relationship you want takes hard work, says Ellen Kreidman, Ph.D., author of Single No More: How and Where to Meet Your Perfect Mate (Renaissance Books, 2000).
Three Rules of Dating Re-Entry:
Before you begin to date, you need to take stock. While you don't have to be committed to finding the perfect person before you go on your first after-divorce date, you need to be clear about a few very important aspects of your life. Your re-entry to the dating process will go much more smoothly if you:
- Know what you want. Are you looking to get out of the house, meet new people and experience new things? Or, are you looking for a new companion to share your life? Honesty with yourself will help you find what you want.
- Make sure you're ready to move on. It's important to give yourself enough time to grieve your loss, even if you were the one who left. There's often a lot of guilt, shame, remorse and even anger associated with a failed relationship or marriage. Most experts advise you to work through these feelings before dating again. Remember, time heals all wounds.
- Don't date for security or comfort. Many women feel they need to start dating right away, either as a way to forget their pain, or because of the sense of security it brings. These are bad patterns to establish. Dating is not therapy. You should date when you're ready to find someone to complement your life, not because you need someone to save you from it.
Meeting Mr./Ms. Right — or Mr./Ms. Right Now
It can be difficult to meet people if you're out of practice. Once you've determined that you're ready to date again, there are a number of ways to meet people. Some traditional ways include going to bars, meeting at the office, being "set up by friends, volunteering for an organization such as your church or a sports club, writing a personal ad, or joining an online dating service.
You also may want to take a class, go to a political rally, dine out more often, hang out at the video store, join a gym, or take a singles cruise. All are good ways to meet a potential date. The important thing is to be open-minded and willing to try new things. You also need to have some patience. Making changes in your life is not easy. Just remember to be yourself.