10 Ways Dating After Divorce Is EXACTLY Like High School

couple kissing with family

Only this time there's less acne involved.

Romeo and Juliet. Sid and Nancy. Jack and Rose. Ah, there’s nothing quite like first love.

According to Facebook, 15 % of married couples attended the same high school and 28% attended the same college. I'd guess only some of those crazy college kids married their first love, but let’s say they all did, for a total of 43% of married couples who were also first loves.

Seems maybe first love doesn’t get enough credit.

Except ... 44% of all marriages end in divorce. Oops.

So look at it this way: so many people, freshly divorced, expect the next person they meet will be their "One." But didn't you think the first time you fell in love, they were also "The One?" And 44% of people were wrong.

Now you're falling in love for the first time all over again. Why WOULDN'T dating after divorce be like high school? Here are 10 ways it totally is:

1. You're too immature to understand how serious the relationship is.
Most divorcing couples have not only been sleeping in separate bedrooms for years, they have stopped bothering to notice and acknowledge their partners’ wonderful qualities.

Suddenly being told you are a beautiful woman or an accomplished man by someone you find hot feels ah-mazing! But it doesn't mean you've finally met your soulmate. Be mindful of how it felt in high school to have someone pay attention to you.

Don't try to fall into that trap as an adult.

2. You're too in love with the idea of love.
Divorce is confusing. It is tough and not necessarily healthy to look back at everything that went wrong and figure out exactly what happened. Here comes Mr. (or Ms.) Wonderful, and now you feel like it's destiny.

It's healthy not to let yourself become bitter and cynical, but being realistic is OK.

3. You don't realize how your taste changes as you grow.
You're awkward and unsure. You don't really know what you want or what works for you. Sound familiar?

The first thought to cross many a mind after a divorce is “At last, I'm myself again!” Of course, it has probably been a good 10 years or more since you have been that self you are talking about, so the real question is who have you become, and where do all of you want to go?

Make sure you know this first before you go and try to find the next guy to have an extended relationship with.

4. You feel like there's so much of the world to explore.
Just like when you went off to work or college after high school, there are so many exciting opportunities to explore in the world now, especially if you have joint custody (and therefore a lot more time on your hands). You could try stand-up paddle boarding, or go out and actually see a movie while it is still in the theater.

And the sex! It gets so much better without the hang-ups, fumbles and insecurities you had back in the day. This bonds you tighter and can make you even more curious about what else is out there waiting for you.

5. You don't know how to react, so you're overthinking.
Even if your ex cheated, you can't assume that any time your new love does something without you he is off with some other chick. However, you will be a rare bird if it doesn’t cross your mind and you don’t end up in a fight about it at some point.

But listen up: You're not in high school. Be honest about your feelings. If you're feeling worried, let your new partner help. They can put you at ease and you can talk about things more.

No more bottling things up and writing angry notes in math class.

6. You question everything beyond the "Honeymoon phase".
Sometimes we imagine a relationship as fate because it is easier than thinking we still have work to do on ourselves.

I hate to break it to you but no matter how fantastic your new lover is, he or she is not the solution to your life’s problems.

Go into relationships practically—because you enjoy their company and you connect on a very real level, NOT because they promise you the Earth and the secrets of life's mysteries.

7. You aren’t mentally, physically, emotionally OR financially ready for commitment.
You and your bank accounts will recover, but you are going to need some time, breathing space and perhaps a good therapist to get there.

Know your limits and your comfort levels. Never pretend to like anything you don't—you have all the control here.

8. You're uncertain because, "What if it would be better with someone else?"
After all those years of marriage, you will want to dive in. There will be more prospective sweeties your age and in the same boat than you thought when you were wondering, But who will want me now?

BE choosy. The world is your oyster, and you're a catch!

9. You can't decide HOW much of yourself to give.
The key here is to find your footing and your balance.

As bouncy and fresh as you feel at first, there's a good chance that you will find yourself in a relationship with similar dysfunctions to those in your marriage. Keep your eyes peeled so you can recognize what's happening and keep moving forward. Trust your inner radar and listen to your gut.

You're trained in the art of failed relationships now! That's a good thing.

10. You just want to let go of it all and get back out here.
You have a broken heart yet again. This time around, you have the benefit of already knowing that it will heal. You already learned the toughest lesson: it is OK to let go.

But the best piece of advice is to remember that this is FUN!

Dating isn't a chore. Dating after divorce is so much fun with the right mindset! Remember that you don’t and won’t have it all figured out.

Let go of all those high school expectations and have a good time!

To hear more of Arianna Jeret's musings about love and divorce, listen to her recent interview on The Vipp Jaswal Report for FOX News Radio. Need some coaching yourself? Send an email at ajeret@ajmediation.com.


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