The first date you have after (or during) your divorce is magical. You anticipate new love, new romance and even simply new friendship and camaraderie. It seems so dreamy, so playful and thrilling after all we've been through with our divorce or an intense severing of a relationship. The reality is we are recreating who we are anew.
It's hard enough to put ourselves out there again for a first date much less to actually go on it. YourTango Experts, Judith Tutin, Cindy Holbrook and Margaret Jacobson have pulled together a quick set of tips. Here's what they have to say to get you ready for going OUT!
- Prepare Mentally and Emotionally. When you are ready to schedule your date, be sure that you consider what you have planned both before and after the date. You don't want to be rushing to meet your date right after work.
- Be Calm. Take some time to mentally prepare yourself for the date. Perhaps, you can get a massage, take a bubble bath, read, watch your favorite comedy or meditate. Do whatever relaxes you to get rid of those first date jitters. Visualize how you will show up at the date; you want to be calm, laughing, smiling, being yourself and most of all having fun!
- Take it slow. A fun strategy is to try to think of the date the way you might think about interviewing someone for a position in your company or even a contractor who may be doing work for you. Although you would like to fill that position, you don't need to fill it right this second. You'd probably love to find a good candidate for the job, but you're not desperate. When you're dating post-breakup, yes, you'd like to meet someone, but it does not have to be today. You can take your time until the right person comes along. You can interview every candidate until you find the right fit. There are plenty of fish in the sea.
- Be Safe. Find out everything you can about your date, such as a phone number, the type of car they drive and where they live. Relay this information to a trusted friend. You will also want to tell her where you are planning to go. Other good information for her to have includes your license plate number. This isn't about being paranoid. It's about playing smart and being aware. Let's face it, we have all known and heard of crazies out there.
- Have a way out. The last thing you want is to be stuck for hours with a Trekkie, who speaks Klingon and talks non-stop about an upcoming convention (unless, of course, you are into that type of thing.) Have someone call you about an hour or so into the date, so that if you desperately want to leave, you can politely excuse yourself. At the same time, you want to give your date a fair chance.
- Select a uniform. For one date that Judith had considered important, she changed her earrings so many times she lost count. She even brought an extra pair in case she changed her mind again. Obsessing over what we are wearing can be extremely draining. It's not a costume ball. Get your dating clothes picked out in advance. Creating an outfit (or even a uniform) for each season, time of day and venue could be immensely helpful. When you have everything ready, it's one less thing to obsess about. Ask a friend to vet your selections if that will help you feel more confident. It may even be liberating to just show yourself that you can get out there in something you only took five minutes to plan. That first step to going out is a big one!
- Make it fun. Think about something that will make this date fun for you. Remember that you are learning about you. The you that may have been lost in the last relationship. Create a date that also allows for self-discovery. It might be learning something new about your date, telling a joke to test your date's sense of humor and your delivery skills, or trying out a new restaurant or a new part of town. Treat the date as a fun experience in which you have an opportunity to get to know someone new, both your date and you, regardless of whether or not you want to continue the relationship.
- Be honest. Do not lie about your weight, your athleticism, your height or anything else in a profile or on the date. He or she is going to see you soon enough to possibly get to know you more. Be the fantastic, charming intelligent, witty person that you are. It's a lot easier to go into the date knowing you don't have to pretend or fake anything.
- Be a good listener. Everyone loves to be heard. When you're listening, you also have an opportunity to breathe slowly and relax. It also allows you to eat without worrying about talking with your mouth full. Even if you're nervous, be sure to use the basic listening skills of making eye contact, nodding your head, making slight exclamations like, "Oh," or "Wow" and responding with follow-up questions to show you're paying attention.
- Remain Mysterious. Prepare in advance what you want your date to know about you. Have a few fun stories that will let your personality shine. Remember, your date wants to get to know you. The first date is a preview — not a time to tell your whole life story. You should only share your kid's names and ages. Your date doesn't care about their latest anecdotes. Have a pat answer for the question, "Why did you break-up?" It should be something sweet, simple and to the point, such as, "We just grew apart" or "We wanted different things out of life."
- Plan your conversation. Have questions that you want to ask him. This way, you can learn more about him and keep control of the conversation. The purpose of the first date is simply to know if you want a second one. The more you learn about him, the more you know if you want to see him again. Have one off the wall question for him, which will make you memorable, such as "if you could be a super hero, which one would you be?" You can make it specific to him and his interests. For instance, if he likes to cook you can ask him "what is your favorite dressing to use in a tomato-basil salad?" These kinds of questions tell you about your date's tastes and preferences as well as their spirit, playfulness, etc. It also allows you to reflect on what you think and feel and like. A win/win!
Play with the ten tips we have presented and your level of preparedness will go up 120%. You'll be ready to embark on this new exciting space of dating once again.
We're thrilled to share more with you when we go live on The Mother Rising show hosted on Thursday July 10, 2014 at 4PM PDT. We would love to take any questions you may have. So feel free to phone in on the live call to: 1-888-346-9141.
Judith Tutin, Phd,ACC, is a licensed psychologist and certified life coach. She is the author of The Post-Divorce Survival Guide. Tools for Your Journey. You can connect with her at drjudithtutin.com.
Cindy Holbrook is a certified divorce coach supporting women throughout the five stages of grief in their divorce recovery so that they can heal and move forward with peace, confidence and clarity. To learn more about Cindy and several exciting programs that she is currently running, you can visit her at http://www.coachingfordivorcedwomen.com.
Margaret Jacobson is a Divorce Wellness Coach as well as a radio show host weekly on VoiceAmerica's Empowerment station. For more information on her Divorce Wellness Services or how to maintain contact with the growing Mother Rising Community, you can visit her at http://www.themotherrising.com.
More Divorce advice on YourTango:
- How To Divorce-Proof Your Marriage
- The Top 5 Mistakes That Lead To Divorce
How To Save Your Marriage When You Feel Hopeless