It is daunting to consider dating after experiencing divorce, especially after spending ten or more years with someone. By implementing the tips in this article, I am certain you will become more comfortable and even enjoy dating because dating is a process and can be structured to fit your needs.
The Right Time to Start Dating
Being ready to date is less about a time line and more about how you feel and how ready you are to have companionship in your life.
For example: if you are harboring negative feelings about your ex, are angry or resentful, are going through a difficult legal battle, or find yourself obsessing or talking about your divorce with your friends so much that they are sick of hearing about it, you are not ready. Get busy and do things you enjoy. Try doing something that you have always wanted to do but did not because you were taking care of the household and your family like taking classes to explore what you want to create in your life now. Take your time meeting new people and learn about them over time. Put less focus on dating and more focus on you experiencing new things and people with the goal of creating a new you and your new life.
On the other hand, if you are considering the following questions, then you may be ready to start dating:
- What do I want my dating experience to be like?
- What is my description of the perfect first date? Second? Third?
- What criterion has to be present for me to consider a second or third or subsequent date?
- How soon will I have sex when dating?
- When will I introduce my date to my children/family?
- When will I feel comfortable with my date knowing where I live?
- How do I want to be treated during the date and by my date?
Dating is a healthy choice when you are madly in love with your-Self, know how you want your dating experience to look like, are complete with your past relationship(s), and feel excited about your new found freedom and life.
Dr. Dar’s Dating Process
There are 3 Stages in Dr. Dar’s Dating Process:
Stage 1: Intentional Dating
Instead of just going out and meeting people who you are interested in or who are interested in you based on instant attraction, what I call ‘Accidental Attraction’, why not be INTENTIONAL in your dating experience? Intentional Dating involves being clear about what you are looking for and what you want. Yes, it is time for you to make a simple list that will help you screen prospective dates and save you time, energy, and even money. Here are the keys to making your Simple List:
- Get a sheet of paper and make a line at the top and down the middle so it forms a T or use this worksheet: http://snipurl.com/manifestnow
- Above the horizontal line write these headings:
- Left side: I no longer want
- Right side: I deeply want. Now it is time to start making your list.
- List what you do not want on the left side. You may be asking: why would I have a list of what I don’t want? Trust me; the simplest path to get to a solid list of what you do want is to make a list of what you don’t want.
- List what you deeply want on the right side next to each item that you no longer want. Now, cross out the item you no longer want.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have at least 50 items on your list (no longer want and deeply want). Do not rush, take your time with this – this is the foundation of the Dating Process.
- When you have completed these steps, you can move to step 2 of the Dating Process.
Stage 2: Dating Lite
Dating Lite involves going on a date with the intention to meet a new friend or going out with friends to have fun and be friends. Your keys to success here are:
- To have fun (if it stops being fun, then it’s time to do something different and with different people)
- Friendship ONLY at this stage
- Do not get attached to outcomes or results
- Self-Check – if you start thinking about the future then redirect your focus back on fun, friendship and enjoying the experience
- When you are having fun, enjoying your life, and enjoying who you are, it is time to move to Stage 3 Dating with a Purpose. You have not slept with any of them at this stage. Usually, after 3 to 6 months is a good gauge for time.
Stage 3: Dating with a Purpose
Most people start with this step and end up getting frustrated with dating and some give up completely. This is the final step in the Dating Process. You will know you are ready for stage 3 when you meet at least 3 individuals who have potential for you to consider moving into an exclusive relationship with going forward. Remember, you have not had sex with these individuals yet but what you do have is a foundation from which you can now put more definition and consideration into the immediate future (6 to 12 months). Your keys to success are:
- Have the conversation – ask each person if they are interested in pursuing a more exclusive relationship with you. Ask them what that would look like for them. Check-in with the list you made in Stage 2 to see if their responses are a match to your deeply want list. Clue: if their responses resemble your don’t want list in any way shape or form, you have your first red flag.
- Tell them what an exclusive relationship at this stage looks like for you. Tell them the truth: you have narrowed your selection to 3 individuals and you would like to stop pursuing additional dates. Tell them that you are not having sex with anyone yet and as soon as you are considering that, you will let them know.
- If they do not want you to see anyone else, this is a clue. Dig deeper and ask more questions. If they are truly interested in you, then they will do what it takes to satisfy your requirements and ‘stay the course’. If they are not, they are saving you time and energy.
- Continue having fun and enjoying the experience. At this stage you will find yourself getting more attached. Make sure you reconnect with your deeply want list on a regular basis to ensure your requirements are being met.
I trust you will have success with this process because I created and used this process when I realized I was falling into ‘Accidental Attraction’. Dating became more fun and engaging when I followed these steps with the additional benefit of gaining some amazing friendships. I wish you much joy, peace, and success in your dating journey!
Remember, Relationships are SIMPLE ,when you LEARN how!
Dr. Dar is a relationship success expert, educator, coach, and speaker| www.RelationshipSuccessSource.com/blog | 704.651.8568