Bela Gandhi of Smart Dating Academy offers 12 easy secrets to finding love after divorce.
Every day, I get calls from divorced women and men from cities around the country. “Do you think I can ever find love again?” “Are there any good people left?” “Dating has changed so much – how do I even begin?” We help our clients build their confidence, and put a strategy in place for each one to hit a homerun with dating this time around. Follow these twelve steps, and you too will be off to the races!
1) Make sure you are HEALED before you start dating. Do you understand what went wrong in your relationship? Are you aware of your role in the marriage’s end? Can you identify what a new, good relationship looks like to you? Make sure your past is legitimately “in the past” so you don’t end up choosing the wrong kinds of people again and again for the wrong reasons.
2) Stop doing things that drag you down, and start “filling up your cup” again. What makes you happy? I’m constantly amazed at how many people have no idea how to answer this question. If you find yourself in that boat, make a list of 5-10 things that bring you JOY, and start to do them again. Maybe it’s tending to a garden, taking care of a pet, writing, drawing, exercising, taking lessons, learning something new. You deserve to feel happiness and passion again on your own – and you’ll be more attractive to virtually everyone when you’re feeling good and happy. ☺
3) Develop your “Dating Village!” - Dating after divorce isn’t easy, and will require a great group of people surrounding you, to keep you going! Maybe it’s your buddies from work, school, your family, your neighbors or kids. Maybe you also need to enlist a professional, someone who can help you maintain enthusiasm, and set and achieve goals. The dating village should be filled with people who support you, and will bring you up vs. bringing you down.
4) Chemistry is good, but character & compatibility count the MOST. Give attraction and chemistry a chance to develop – even if it takes 5+ dates to figure it out. After you feel the chemistry, look carefully for the “interior” traits that count like kindness, reliability, consistency, honesty, intelligence first. Are you compatible? Is this person willing to accept you, your complexities, maybe your children? Do you want similar things in life? Are you on the same page with regards to finances, parenting, living situations, marriage, more kids, etc.?
5) Know that your future mate will come to you, but in a highly unexpected / surprise package! Don’t rule out someone who is a little taller, shorter, skinner, heavier, a different color, older or younger than you “think” is your type. You should be attracted to the person, as that is so important long term! But be open on your idea of “the package”.
6) Get online, and do it the right way! You need to have excellent photos (starting with a great smiling headshot, looking directly at the camera). And, great “head to toe” shots as well of you and only you! No kids, grandkids, pets, friends, etc. Think of your online materials as your personal ad in cyberspace – it needs to make you stand out against the millions of people who are dating online, AND compel the reader to write to you! See our website for good examples at www.smartdatingacademy.com.
7) Go to groups and events where you can meet like-minded people and develop natural connections. If you’ve always wanted to take up photography, go to www.meetup.com, for example, and find a group that welcomes new budding photographers. Joining groups is a great way to dip your toe back in the water, and start making new friends, and maybe new dating connections!
8) Texting is OK as a “heads up” method of communication, like “I’m running five minutes late.” It shouldn’t take the place of all communication, and texting too much can lead to premature intimacy. If you feel that someone texts you too much, suggest that you chat by phone instead! There’s no better way to get to know someone than talking and spending time together.
9) In a new relationship, pace the physical end slowly. I recommend staving off sex with “good potentials” until you have the DTR (determine the relationship conversation)! You should be “exclusive” and feel good and secure in your relationship. Sex can be great, but had too early, can cause the demise of a relationship. Sure, there are a few couples that had sex early on and it turned into a happy marriage, but those are pretty few and far between. Waiting until you are both ready works.
10) A good dating trajectory: One date per week within a few weeks turns into two dates per week, and then three dates per week. Within two months, you’ve had “the discussion” and have defined an exclusive relationship!
11) You cannot fix anyone! You do not want to date a fixer-upper. The only person you can change is yourself. The only way another person will change is if he/she wants to change himself.
12) Be patient – Dating is a process. As much as you’d like it to be super efficient and speedy, it’s usually not, nor should it be. There will be ups and downs, weeks where you have many dates, and weeks where you have none. Keep going no matter what. Patience, perseverance and positivity are crucial.
Find great, free dating tips at www.smartdatingacademy.com