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Dating After Divorce? Here Are Some Rules and Tips that You Must Follow

Dating After Divorce? Here Are Some Rules and Tips that You Must Follow

Updated on Sep 20, 2023

Reviewed by Katina Tarver, MA (Mental Health and Wellness Counseling) , Life & Relationship Coach

Dating After Divorce Here Are Some Rules and Tips that You Must Follow

Dating after divorce can be really intimidating.  

You don’t know what’s out there in the dating world anymore, your heart has just gone through a heavy separation from your spouse, and you’re also worried about what other people might say.

Well, even though many feel that it’s uncharted territory, things don’t have to be that hard!

In this think piece here, I will tell you all the rules and tips for dating after divorce, as well as what to expect when you put yourself out there,

So come on, let’s get started!

When to start dating after divorce?

There’s no specific age or time that caters to everyone when it comes to dating after divorce. This “when” is largely influenced by how ready you mentally feel and the circumstances around you after your divorce has been completed.

Most relationship coaches feel that since there’s no specific time after which you can start dating, people tend to get confused. However, the best option is to wait for some time and get your mental and emotional affairs in order before you start dating.

For example, a few months or even a year can be the ideal time. Not only will you become mentally stronger by then but you will also have a clear idea of the kind of person you want to date. But why should you wait for such a long time before getting back to the dating arena after a divorce?

This is because divorces are messy and upsetting. No matter how glad you are that your husband or wife has left you, there’s still some part of you that might miss them, even if you’re not aware of it.

When the post-divorce period has just begun, your feelings are still raw, and you won’t really understand which person might be good for you when you start to date. But if you give yourself time to heal, it will give you the time and space to make the right pick for yourself.

Now, when it comes to dating someone while you’re going through a divorce, there is only one important question that you should ask yourself- should I do it? The short answer is no.

This is because even though you might find it comforting to be with someone else when you’re going through a tough time with your spouse, it will inhibit your strength to make proper decisions. It’s quite like emotional and psychological multitasking, where you’re juggling different things all at once.

However, we all need someone to comfort us during hard times, so you can always turn to other people in your life- friends, family members, or co-workers. A trusted person will be able to provide you with the mental support you need.

How to know if you’re ready to start dating after divorce?

If you wish to know whether you’re ready to go ahead and start dating someone after your divorce, you must ask yourself three questions- whether you have grieved, how settled you feel after the divorce, and your priorities when you look for a romantic partner.

Before you start looking for a romantic partner after getting divorced, you need to check how ready you are. After all, you don’t wish to start seeing someone and then be afraid about where the relationship is headed.

So how will you know whether you’re ready or not? Refer to these three tips!

1. Have you grieved and processed the entire situation?

There is no right or wrong way to grieve a divorce because everyone has different experiences, even within a couple. It all depends on how traumatic the entire incident has been for you.

But yes, everyone needs a bit of time to accept and digest that their marriage is officially over. And with this starts the process of grieving. Some people go for therapy, while some attend support groups for divorced people.

These different methods help you to cope with your loss and give you an outlet to feel the hurt within you.

This is why grieving and processing your divorce is essential before you begin dating someone new because that’s the only way you can open yourself up to someone else and think of a possible future with them.

2. Have you accepted that the marriage is truly over?

Other than understanding and processing that your marriage is over, you have to accept that there’s no going back.

In many cases, divorced couples often reconcile and make another attempt at their marriage. Or maybe you think that instead of dating someone completely new, it’s just better to date your ex-spouse and see how things go.

If all these things are on your mind, then you won’t be able to concentrate on dating. Once you truly accept that you won’t go back to your ex and neither will they run to you, you can think of meeting someone new and striking up a romance with them.

The important thing is to feel comfortable and settled with the fact that your marriage is over. If you’re constantly worrying about how your ex is, you won’t be able to look forward.

3. Are you clear about what qualities to look for in your partner?

You’re obviously older than you were when you first got married to your ex. So naturally, your priorities and choices have changed. You have probably matured a lot, and now you wish to think twice before going ahead and saying yes to anyone who likes you.

If you want your post-divorce dating life to go well, you need to prioritize what you want in your partner. For example, asking yourself these questions might help:

  • What qualities should I look for in the person I’m dating?
  • Is it okay to date someone who has children or will they be okay with dating me if I have children from my past marriage?
  • What are the red flags I need to look out for?
  • Am I looking for something casual or do I want to be serious?
  • What sort of communication methods am I open to while dating them?

How to meet people for dating after divorce?

Nowadays, there are many different ways to meet and know different people before you start dating them. Some of the most common platforms are dating apps, special classes, community events, and even your workplace.

Once you have made up your mind to date someone, the next logical step is to figure out how to find them. Thankfully, there is no dearth of places where you can meet and greet someone cute and start dating them!

1. Install dating apps

Today’s fast-paced world is all about smartphones and technology. So why not make good use of it and install a dating app or two? Every app caters to different needs- apps like Match are suitable for people who want long-term romances, while Tinder is more for ones looking for casual flings.

Based on what sort of relationship you’re seeking and what qualities you want in your partner, you can always open an account in one or more apps and get started!

However, remember to set your profile up honestly, starting right from your goals in life to your marriage history. Next up, choose cute photos that enhance your facial features.

Once you match with someone on any app, make sure to meet them only in a public place (you don’t want a stranger to suddenly end up at your house, right?) and always refrain from giving out too much personal information.

2. Attend special classes

After you’ve finalized your divorce, it’s natural to feel lonely and dejected. One great way to improve your mood and meet someone new is to sign up for a special class. It can be a cooking course or a language class- anything that sparks your interest!

You’re always free to discover your hobbies to relearn them after a divorce because now you have quite a lot of time on your hands.

However, don’t simply join any class to flirt with people there; your primary goal is to enjoy yourself and learn a new skill. But do keep an eye open for anyone you might be interested in. Once you’ve spotted somebody like that, start a small conversation and take things slowly.

The biggest advantage of dating someone from a special class is that you both already have one common interest, so it’ll be easier for you to connect and grow together!

3. Organize community events

Another popular way of finding a new partner is to attend community events or places where you’re already involved.

For example, if you have children from your ex-marriage, you must have attended their baseball matches or ballet recitals.

These can be great places to meet someone new because you might have already known that person, even a little, for many years. Or you can even conduct a neighborhood block party or a potluck dinner at your place.

Not only will you meet supportive friends and neighbors but you might also start talking with someone eye-catching!

If you feel embarrassed or shy to approach someone, you can ask your friends to set you up. Or ask them if they are open to introducing you to any of their single friends or neighbors.

Community events will also enhance your socializing skills and make you feel a part of a larger group after your divorce.

4. See your workplace

Yes, office romances are slightly risky and sometimes even inappropriate, but they are good places to find someone who might just be perfect for you (just remember to not get into a boss-employee relationship)! You can either date a project partner or colleague or go for any of their acquaintances.

Dating a coworker can have multiple benefits because since you have known that person for years, you already know whether they’ll be a good match for you or not.

However, if you’re against office relationships, you can ask your coworker to arrange a meetup with their friend. Or if you work in a building that has lots of different offices all under the same roof, you can try looking for someone from a different company.

But only take this tip if you’re up for something meaningful in the future- casual flings with your coworkers are a really bad idea!

Rules for dating after divorce

Yes, there are no rules set in stone or written specifically for divorced people but even then, it helps to know what you’re diving into beforehand. If you follow these simple rules before dating someone after your divorce, your relationship will turn out to be much deeper and better.

1. Make sure you’re ready to date again

Dating after a divorce is a big step. It requires the right kind of mindset, and for that, you have to know that you’ll be committed to this relationship. Otherwise, it will all be a massive waste of time and you might end up with even more emotional trauma!

For your future relationship to go smoothly, you have to first evaluate whether you and your partner will be compatible in the long run or not.

Do you think you can share experiences from your previous marriage with your current date? Do you see them as a short-term or long-term partner? All these questions are important.

2. Go to therapy

If you’re not sure about where to start, therapy is a great step! We can all use a hand after a big loss and there’s absolutely no shame in seeking advice from a licensed therapist.

They will guide you about how you feel and what you should do to make yourself comfortable so that you can dip your feet into the dating pool again.

When you know you’re having issues battling your inner demons, a relationship coach, counselor, or even a psychiatrist will provide the right kind of medicine for you. And if you’re unsure about therapy, go ahead and talk to a trusted friend or family member!

3. Understand what went wrong in your marriage

Look, there must have been a valid reason why you and your spouse decided to end your marriage. Even if you think that you had no part to play, you’d be surprised to know that every partner in a crumbling marriage is somehow responsible.

This is why you need to figure out what made you end things and what you can do to prevent a similar mishap in the future.

Otherwise, dating someone else will only make you inflict your past anger and hurt on them. So, you have to understand what your contribution was and how to rectify those mistakes.

4. Give yourself time to heal

Grief comes in many different forms. On one night, you might cry till your eyes start hurting and the very next night, you might feel numb as a rock. But remember, every way of expressing grief is equally valid and important.

Understanding and handling your emotions is a big part of maturity. There’s no shame in crying, especially if you’re a man, but bottling things inside will get you nowhere.

Give yourself the time and space needed to heal emotionally and mentally before you can start seeing someone else. Take a break from work, go on a vacation, or simply relax in a spa- do what makes you comfortable.

5. Prioritize your needs

As you begin to feel the urge to date again, it becomes equally necessary to prioritize your needs.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to work on yourself and improve whatever flaws you have. None of us can be a hundred percent flawless, but the more we improve, the better we become.

So this is why you should do some inner work or self-introspection that can lead you to understand why and how you failed in your marriage. Even if it’s not related to your marriage, you should still work on becoming a better version of yourself every day.

6. Be clear about your dating standards

Dating standards are quite different from dating types.

Dating types are when you want to focus on the aesthetic aspect of the person you’re interested in, such as how they look or their behavior. And dating standards go way beyond that and are the bare minimum qualities that someone should have if they wish to date you.

Discuss the deal-breakers, triggers, and anything else that you find important. Now that you have a past marriage in your list of experiences, you’re much more aware of what can make or break a healthy relationship.

Most importantly, see if you’re willing to put up with the other person’s standards too.

7. Be honest with your partner about your ex-marriage

Honesty is the foundation for any healthy relationship. It’s better to disclose to your partner your previous marriage as soon as possible. If you keep putting it off or lying about it, you’ll only be ruining a second chance at love.

Moreover, times have changed, and divorced people are no longer viewed as people who have no shot at falling in love. In fact, if the person you wish to date truly loves you, they will accept you no matter who you married earlier.

Be sure to keep a balanced view of your past relationship when you start dating someone new, especially if your current partner knows your ex-spouse.

8. Love and value yourself

Divorce or not, it’s essential to love yourself. Someone confident in their own skin automatically becomes ten times more attractive and has a much higher chance of finding a date.

If you are always worried about what your date might think or say just because you’ve been divorced, then it’s time to banish those negative thoughts.

Tell yourself that it’s fine for a marriage to fail. Even when you’ve started going out with someone new, prioritize yourself and do things that you love (but you should also listen to them too!). Learn to hold yourself in high regard so that you’re not afraid of being rejected.

9. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you

When you’re fresh out of a divorce, your feelings are raw and your mind is sensitive. Naturally, you’ll be much more vulnerable than most other singles around you. But you must never let anyone take advantage of your vulnerability.

Be soft and gentle but know when to draw a line when someone disrespects you. There might be a lot of people who will know exactly what to say or do to trap you in a toxic relationship, so watch out for any potential red flags.

So, you must never give up your power or let them exercise their control over you just because you are emotionally in a vulnerable place.

10. Be patient

Dating takes quite a lot of time and patience. You can’t expect to find the person of your dreams right after you’ve decided to get back into the dating game.

Similarly, some people might take less time to get over a divorce. As I have mentioned earlier, everyone goes through grief and suffering in different ways.

So, if you take months as compared to your divorced friend who only needed a couple of weeks to get back in shape, don’t feel intimidated.

Lust and passion can cloud your mind and make you make bad decisions. Even if a few dates have been disappointing, don’t give up easily.

11. Trust your sixth sense

Is the person you’ve just started to see making you uncomfortable? Do they have any glaring red flags that are similar to your ex-spouse’s? If your gut is telling you that something is wrong on the first date itself, trust it.

Anyone going through a divorce will learn to trust their sixth sense because they emerge stronger. So, your gut will always know if the person sitting across from you genuinely wants to make a connection with you or only use you for their own benefit.

Many times, you might even be forced into gaslighting yourself- don’t ever fall for that!

12. Be open to new possibilities

Remain open to every kind of possibility when you’re dating after a divorce. The world is large, and there are so many different people to mix and match with!

For starters, you can try going out on a date with someone who wasn’t your type previously. You never know- the date might turn out to be something amazing!

If you’re ever confused about whether to open yourself up to new possibilities or not, simply tell yourself that the worst that can happen is they will reject you. I say, so what? Give yourself a pat and say “big deal”!

13. Tell your partner your needs and boundaries

Along with being honest about your earlier marriage and past relationships, it’s also important to disclose your fears and boundaries. Right from the very first date, tell your partner what you like and what you don’t.

For example, many people don’t wish to have sex right after having a divorce because the physical intimacy might trigger memories of the past. If you’re also suffering from something similar, make it clear to your partner that you won’t be having sex for some time.

Similarly, ask your partner about their boundaries and make sure you respect everything.

14. Don’t assume anything beforehand

Right after having a divorce, your mind will want to settle down with someone because you have been used to having a partner and a family for so many years.

But on your first date with someone you’ve just met, if you tell them your plans to marry them and start a family, they’ll simply run away! So never assume anything beforehand.

See how the first date goes and then plan for a second one. Take baby steps and see how things are working out between you two. If everything goes great, only then is it safe to assume that yes, you both might get somewhere good in the future.

15. Know that things may not work out

On the other hand, it’s also okay if things don’t work out for quite some time. Don’t beat yourself up if your first few dates after the divorce went horribly or you said something weird.

It’s quite normal for divorced people to act a little awkwardly since they haven’t dated anyone for so long. But one thing you must remember is to never lose hope.

We are all capable of loving someone and being loved by them. As long as you hold on to that hope, you can be sure that you’ll soon find someone who will find you funny, charming, and beautiful!

Tips for dating after divorce

So, you’re all ready to make the first move and start dating. But before you head out the door, there are some useful tips that I’ll share with you.

Follow these twenty dating tips after your divorce so that the entire transition from divorce to dating again is smoother than butter!

1. Attend different events and gatherings

Always keep an eye out for any sort of social events taking place near you. They can be a simple charity event or a grand dinner at a neighbor’s place.

Read newspapers and flyers for local fairs so that you can socialize with people. Your ultimate motive might not necessarily be to hook up with someone you meet, but nevertheless, it’s nice to join your social circle and feel good.

Meeting someone in a familiar environment will also calm your nerves and make you more confident about dating them. Sign up for things that are a part of your hobbies and interests so that you can take someone out and learn new things!

2. Have a safety plan on your first date

This tip will be especially important for women. No matter how well you know someone, you can’t ever know them well enough on the first date. So have a safety plan in mind and let your family or friends know your location.

They don’t necessarily have to follow you or sit on a separate table to keep tabs but ask them to be close by.

Even if the date turns out to be great, your car might break down on your way back home, or you may not get any cabs. So, for any sort of emergency, have a backup plan.

3. Develop a childcare arrangement with your ex-spouse

During and after the divorce, your childcare custody has to be the most important concern, if they are minors.

Decide who gets to stay with the kids on which days of the week so that you can manage your children as well as your dating life properly. Always remember to work out an agreement where your kids come first.

For example, if your date gets interrupted by a call from your children’s school asking you to pick them up, you’ll have to let the date go and attend to your kids’ needs first. So, talk with your partner about their schedules and adjust accordingly.

4. Ask yourself if you’re dating for the right reasons

This is a really important point here. Ask yourself very bluntly, “Why do I want to date someone else again?”. If the answer sounds something like getting rid of your repressed anger, hurt, or loneliness, then these are the wrong reasons.

Dating should be all about wanting, not needing. Make sure that the biggest reason why you’re going back to the world of dating is that you want to meet someone new and form a bond with them.

Many people also start dating their ex-spouse’s friends or coworkers to make them jealous. Let me tell you, this is a terrible idea!

5. Keep reasonable expectations

Starting a relationship with reasonable and practical expectations is always a safe bet. For example, if you and your partner have been on a couple of dates, you don’t necessarily have to think of marriage and kids with them.

Look at this relationship as an experience to learn more about yourself and someone else. Take it as a breath of fresh air after your previous marriage has ended.

While you can always go for a rebound right after your divorce, you might not actually end up with a rebound all the time. Your current relationship will also have its own challenges, so be mentally prepared for them.

6. Take things slow at first

You don’t need to dive into intense relationships after getting out of a divorce if you don’t wish to (it’s actually better if you don’t!). In fact, even if you start liking someone, don’t immediately think that they might start dating you or become serious with you.

Indulge in different activities to heal yourself first and then see whether you really want to get into another intense relationship or not.

Therapists say that the first few dates should involve your friends too, so that you and your date both know how to take baby steps instead of making impossible leaps right from the start.

7. Give space to your feelings for bubbling up

Whether you want your negative thoughts to keep bubbling up or not, they will. And while this might sound like something really horrible or tough to combat, you can overcome this problem if you give yourself a little bit of space and time.

For example, every time you miss your ex while dating someone else, don’t rush into a spiral of self-loathing.

Instead of feeling like you’re hopeless, tell yourself that these feelings are okay. After all, you were married to them for so many months and years. Give yourself a break and don’t be too harsh or self-critical. Move forward with time.

8. Grow together in the relationship

When you wish to date someone, growing together with them should be on your list of priorities. And this means getting rid of all your past baggage and anger issues.

The anger and hurt that you feel after your divorce or separation are justified but carrying these negative emotions with you will only make your present relationship worse. Even though hating your ex-spouse can become an addiction, you have to get rid of it.

Attend therapy, talk to someone, or write a journal- do whatever it takes to grow out of your old shell. It might sound like an impossible thing to do, but forgive them and let them go.

9. Don’t start hating your ex-spouse’s gender altogether

Look, just because it didn’t work out with your ex-husband or wife, it doesn’t mean that their entire gender is trashy or evil.

Your vulnerability might let you build walls around your heart that are too high and thick but don’t write off their sex completely. Just as there are bad people, there are good ones too!

And if you’ve made a pact to never ever date anyone again, you’ll be missing out on a whole lot of great opportunities. Moreover, it takes two to tango, so there must have been a few errors from your end too that resulted in the divorce.

10. But don’t have multiple partners either

After you’re done with your divorce proceedings, you might feel like you’ve been a prisoner  who has gotten their well-deserved freedom. While that may be true, don’t go over-the-top and start making a mess of your love life by dating multiple people.

Trust me, multiple partners equals multiple headaches because you have to constantly keep track of which date to go to and how to impress so many people. And if you have young children at home, it’s always better to be careful about whom you’re dating.

Keep your hormones in check, and don’t think of sleeping with the next person you see when you step out.

11. Beware of online dating scammers

This probably goes without saying but the internet is filled with shady cheaters, especially on dating apps and websites. Even though the world wide web has connected millions of people, it has also increased the risks of being cheated by criminals.

Catfishing has also become a popular method of scamming, where the scammer pretends to be someone else who’s too good to be true.

Just like with anything else, when you’re diving into the world of online dating, make sure to keep your guard up and trust your gut feeling. And ladies, never share any intimate pictures or messages with a guy you’ve barely known for a few days!

12. Don’t keep talking about your ex-marriage on the first date

Ugh, trust me, this is a huge turn-off for anyone. Sure, it’s okay to talk about why your marriage ended and why you think your ex wasn’t the best fit for you but keep it surface-level only. Nobody wants to hang out with someone who keeps cribbing and moaning about their ex-marriage.

Moreover, don’t give off the impression that your ex-spouse was the only one at fault while you were flawless because your date will see right through you.

Remember, you’re done with the past, and now it’s time to spend the future with someone else. Make the date about you both, not you and your ex-partner.

13. Try something out of the box

Going on a date after getting over your divorce might feel strange but it doesn’t always have to be like that. If you conduct the date like it’s an interview, both of you will be bored out of your minds.

This is why choose a fun location to meet, such as in front of an ice-cream parlor or on a skating rink. Don’t be afraid to experiment with dating venues.

After you both have gone out on a couple of dates, try to think of different ways to liven up the relationship by doing things like going for a hike or visiting a zoo.

14. Impress your date with a good sense of humor

No matter how many times I say this, it will never be enough- always impress your date with a good sense of humor!

You don’t have to make jokes every second or behave like a clown, but show your date that you can be both funny and witty at the same time.

Relationship coaches believe that exchanging jokes can be a great form of communication since they let you know the kind of things your partner might find funny.

Of course, steer clear from offensive jokes that might be sexist or racist. But overall, introduce humor and make sure your partner has a good sense of humor too!

15. Don’t introduce your kids to your partner too soon

If you have small children who aren’t able to grasp your divorce yet, make it a point to introduce them to your partner as slowly as possible.

Experts believe that you should date someone for at least 6 months before taking them to meet your children.

If you want this person to be with you in the long run, you first need to be sure that they’ll fit well with your kids because yes, your little ones will always be your first priority.

And if the topic of your divorce is still a sore subject for them, they might not warm up to your partner right away.

16. Make a relationship map

When you go on a road trip or search for a new job, you make a map of things, right? Doing the same for your relationships can also give you a lot of perspective on how and whom to date.

Many people jump right into their relationships without first understanding their partner and hence, end up in a muck. One great way to avoid the same mistakes that you had made previously is to draw a relationship map or chart.

Write down what you feel are your qualities and your flaws in a journal. Update it every day and check your progress every week.

17. Be careful about your finances

Once you have experienced how horrible a relationship’s downfall can be (aka your divorce), you would naturally wish to protect your bank accounts and finances. And any divorce brings with it a hefty amount of expenditures- right from court settlements to lawyer’s fees.

So, when you’re ready to start dating after your divorce, make sure to spend your money very carefully and wisely. Don’t go about buying your date an expensive ring or watch right on the first date.

And if you’re reaching your retirement age, you must keep some money aside for the future. So, discuss these things openly with your partner and make sure they understand it too.

18. Make your dating profile swoon-worthy

So you want to match with someone online but your dating profile hasn’t been active in…forever. Your profile picture is hazy, your bio hasn’t been updated, and you basically have no idea how to up your game.

First things first, make your profile swoon-worthy by uploading some high resolution pictures of yours. Next, be honest about yourself in your bio (and never write in short forms!)- right from your divorce to your hobbies.

And lastly, whenever you chat with someone you like, make sure to not blindly copy paste things and flirt tastelessly. Make your online presence just as sexy as your offline one!

19. Let your friends and family help you

Did you know that countless people all over the world turn to their loved ones to set them up with someone else?

This happens because when you ask a trusted friend or family member for help, you know they’ll set you up with someone who has a much higher chance of matching with you emotionally and intellectually than someone else you’ve just met at a bar or a party.

Moreover, if you ever feel unsure about the entire dating thing, your people will always be there to help you out and give you the best advice. This way, you’ll start gaining your confidence back!

20. Don’t get too hooked on them via texts or calls

Nowadays, it’s pretty easy to get sucked into the world of texting and sending selfies. With this, you might forget to make a real connection, one that exists outside your phone.

Of course, you need to text and call for basic communication purposes, such as letting them know you’ll be a little late for the date but make sure to meet often too. In fact, texting too much at first can lead to premature intimacy.

If your newest partner is obsessed with texting, then suggest them to talk over the phone or video calls. Slowly, advance from there are urging them to meet you in person.

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

Dating after being divorced is no longer a taboo since we are all seeing the world with a fresh perspective. Yes, things can be a little rough at first, but if you have enough faith in yourself, then nothing is impossible!

And if you’re ever worried about not making a good first impression, simply open this think piece and go through the points that I have mentioned; you’re bound to become the star of the dating world soon!

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