• Shuree Waggoner LMHC

The Do’s and Don'ts of Dating After Divorce

Updated: Mar 1

Angie is 47 and recently divorced. She married her high school sweetheart and hasn't been on a date in 25 years. Toward the end of her marriage, there certainly weren't a lot of romantic sparks, so she feels completely out of touch with her sensual side. She's dabbled in online dating and been on a few fix-ups, but couldn't enjoy herself. She felt so nervous about doing or saying the wrong thing, she was convinced she would never get a second date. Her low self-esteem showed, and she wasn't able to make a strong connection with anyone.

Whether you're male or female, if you can relate to Angie's struggles with dating after divorce, try these tips to dip a toe back into the dating pool. Before you know it, you may be diving right in.

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DO Explore Your Playful Side

After divorce, your self-confidence may be low and you may not feel attractive. A great way to reawaken your senses is to explore your playfulness. Put yourself out there, engage with your social network in a light way. Focus on eye contact and open body language. Laugh readily and re-learn how to have fun.

Boost your confidence by making an extra effort with your appearance. Most of all, think of this as an experiment and the whole world as your laboratory


DO Leave Your Baggage at the Door

Approach each new person as a beginning. Don't ignore warning signs (see below), but do take the time to find out who someone really is. Focus your attention and conversation on your own interests and the positive aspects of your life. Avoid talking about the divorce or your ex.


DO Use Your Common Sense and Be Safe

Find out as much as you can about the person before you meet. Plan a short, daytime meeting for your first date, and arrange for your own transportation. If anything about the person or the date makes you uncomfortable, cut it short and move on.


DON'T Ignore Red Flags or Warnings Signs

If your self-confidence is low you might think you don't deserve a fulfilling relationship or that you won't be lucky enough to find someone who likes you. Don't let those feelings gloss over any red flags about a new romantic interest.


If you find yourself thinking, Well, I guess I can live with that, or I can change him/her, stop and consider whether you would want to be with that person exactly as he or she is. Remember, those traits will only be amplified as that person becomes more comfortable with you.


DON'T Take Everything Too Seriously

Don't put too much importance on any one date (especially at the beginning). Focus on having fun and deciding if you like this person enough to get to know him or her better.


DON'T Involve Children Too Quickly

Don't introduce your children right away. Of course you shouldn't keep them a secret, and you can answer any questions honestly, but focus more on who you are as an individual and how the two of you might fit. If there's no fit, the rest won't matter.


How to Meet Someone New


1. Follow your interests. Volunteer or take a class. You'll make new contacts in a circle of people who share common interests and values. Plus, you may add fulfillment and purpose to your own life while helping your community.

2. Ask for referrals. Let family and friends know that you're dating. An introduction from someone you both know doesn't guarantee a fit, but it takes away some of the risk, and there's greater potential that you'll have something in common - if only the person who introduced you!

3. Go online. There are plenty of websites free and for a fee specifically for dating. Or, explore your shared interests with people on other sites. This can lead to new friends who could be potential romantic partners or introduce you to one.

This can be an exciting time, and you're bound to have some fears. But if you keep things light and use these experiments as a way to improve your fun-loving abilities, dating after divorce may just be your next great adventure.


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2019 Shuree Waggoner LMHC, EmpowersYou Counseling Services, Poulsbo WA

206.465.2981, shuree@empowersyou.com

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