By Tracy Achen
The divorce is finally over and you're officially single, but are you ready to start dating again? While it's tempting to hook up with someone new, you need to proceed with caution and not get involved too quickly. First of all, give yourself time to get over all the garbage from you marriage, because old habits and expectations will color how you relate to someone new.
Let time take the edge off your hurt. Decide what qualities that you want in a potential suitor before even going out with someone. This will prevent a lot of heartache and awkwardness. Once you find someone with similar interests and background, you have the chance for a good friendship, even if love doesn’t evolve.
If you have children, you need to enter this phase of your life gradually. Begin by setting time aside to just be with your friends. This way, when you do begin to go out your children won't resent you spending time away from them.
It is best not to parade a lot of casual relationships through your kid’s life, because it will cause anxiety in their world. They can become fearful, insecure, jealous, and worry about being abandoned. If it seems like you have met someone special, introduce them gradually for limited amounts of time. Children will resent any sudden changes in routines. You also need to make sure that you are spending individual time with them so that they don’t feel pushed aside or worry about losing another parent.
You can also find more suggestions and help in the book "The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again" (you can find it on Amazon or at your library). This book relates to people who have gone through divorce, explaining the various methods of meeting and interacting with new people in today's word. It gives the reader real-world tips and methods to help them consider what they really want in a potential date, explore various opportunities for socializing, and make decisions based on what will work best for them.
Online dating services like Match.com, SingleParentMeet.com, Perfectmatch.com, or eHarmony are an alternative when you're uncomfortable meeting new people or you don't like the bar scene. Most of these services have a matching system to help you find the men in your area that you're most likely to be compatible with.
It takes time and patience to start pursuing new relationships. While you may not be as carefree as you once were, you’re probably a lot wiser. Try not to rush things with a new relationship, or fall in love with the first man that you date. Give yourself time to see if your feelings are real, and if the relationship has any potential. Best wishes for a love life that makes you sparkle.