Dating Again After Divorce

Dating again after divorce may seem a little overwhelming, especially if you've been out of the scene for a while. What should you do on a first date? Should you wear something sexy or casual? How do you keep the conversation going?

Things have probably changed since you stopped dating other people to marry your ex. Now that you're single again, these tips will help you get prepared for going out on that first date with a new man. 

Seven Secrets for Successful Post-Divorce Dating

By Ginger Emas 

Dating again after divorce and holding hands across the table

Atlanta-based author Ginger Emas thought getting married meant that she'd never have to go on another first date again. But like many of us, she got divorced after 13 years of marriage, and re-entered the dating scene. Now, more than 85 first dates later, Emas brings us Back on Top: Fearless Dating After Divorce (#Ad - As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases).

Now Emas is sharing a few of her secrets on dating after divorce with us. Armed with no shortage of her own post-divorce dating foibles, fumbles, failings, and faux pas, Emas offers the following tips:

Never make a first date that will last longer than an hour.

Meet for coffee, appetizers, a glass of wine—but not dinner. A dinner date can feel like a three-hour interview … for a job you knew you didn’t want in the first six minutes.

Always have an exit strategy.

Let your date know before you meet that you have another commitment in about an hour. Either set your cell phone to ring an hour after the date starts, or ask a friend to call. Do not linger, and do not make excuses; just politely remind your date that you have to leave—even if you are having a great time (maybe especially if you’re having a great time.) Leave him wanting more. That’s what second dates are for.

Invest in a good pair of “date jeans.”

Jeans are perfect for just about any first-date venue: dinner, dancing, a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, or even an unexpected breakfast. With a pair of today’s designer jeans, you get a younger look, longer legs, a smaller waist, a feeling of confidence, a grab-and-go outfit that goes just about anywhere. Jeans make you look sleek, contemporary, and hip. Dating is uncomfortable enough – at least wear something comfortable.

Make a manfile and consult it often.

That’s right, a Manfile: it consists of two parts. 1) a written list of characteristics and qualities you will not put up with in the next guy you chose; and 2) a list of must-haves – the things a guy’s gotta have if he wants to get close to you. Refer to your manfile often, and update it regularly. And be careful what you wish for! Your manfile is also about who you are now, and what you’re really looking for, without the pressures you may have had from family and friends when you were younger. Your manfile can also help you from repeating past man mistakes.

Don't let him pick you up at your home.

Never let someone you’ve just met—online or otherwise—pick you up at your home. Meet in a public place, convenient to you, and tell a close friend where you are going and with whom (assuming you’ve gotten his real name). In fact, wait until at least half a dozen dates and a clean search before you let him pick you up at all. In the post-divorce dating world, a little bit of paranoia goes a long way.

Resist the urge to talk about sex or the ex.

Resist the urge to talk about sex—or the ex — on your first date. Sex and the ex- (either your ex- or his) should never be part of first date conversation. You should also resist the urge to trash the institution of marriage as well as declare that you are looking to get married (unless your goal is to ensure that you don’t get asked for a second date.)

Never, ever think you must date.

If you start dating again because you think that you should, or that this is your one last chance, dating really will be a disaster. The main thing to remember about post-divorce dating is that it is just dating. It’s not dating-to-find-your-next-boyfriend. It’s not dating-to-avoid-being-alone or dating-to-complete-yourself. And God forbid, it’s not dating-to-get-married. You don’t want to be dating for security or to meet some societal standard of couple-hood.

On the other hand, you don’t have to date just because your aunt wants to fix you up, or just because some guy asked you out, or because your friends/family/coworkers think you should. Date because you want to, and not because you think you have to. 

About the author: 

Ginger Emas is an independent writer, marketing manager, blogger, and an actual real-life cougar (see Chapter 20 of Back on Top). Packed with lots of practical tips and sprinkled with a comical understanding of what dating again is really like, "Back on Top" delivers hilarious dating misadventures, loving advice, and tips to help save women from many dating disasters. Discover how the dating rules have changed, find out how and where to meet men, delve into online dating profiles, and learn how dating the second time around can be even better than before. Find out more about the book at

For more tips on dating again after divorce, check out the following articles:

  1. Divorce
  2. Dating after Divorce
  3. Tips for Successfully Dating Again