The holidays can be one of the most depressing times of the year if you're dating after divorce. Even if you have a good attitude about dating, going to holiday parties where everyone else but you has a date can chip away at your good spirits.
Perhaps your divorce was finalized in the last year, and this is the first holiday season you'll spend alone. Maybe all your other divorced friends have a date for New Year's Eve but you're still searching for someone to kiss at the stroke of midnight. Or maybe your kids are talking about how their dad has a new girlfriend and she's cooking Christmas dinner for them.
As love, relationship and dating coaches, we know that the holidays can be rough on anyone who doesn't have a sweetie. But there are ways that you can dramatically increase your chances of finding a man to kiss under the mistletoe, while at the same time feeling good about those days you have to spend alone. In this article, we are going to show you six things you can do to increase your chances of finding a good man to cuddle with this holiday season — as well as specific ways to feel deliriously happy even if you do spend the holidays alone.
1. Beware of Rebound Relationships.
First, you have to know whether you're ready for a new relationship. If you're looking for true love and not just a relationship that lasts a month or two, beware of getting into a rebound relationship. You're especially vulnerable to a rebound relationship around the holidays, and it's tempting to have someone around to go to parties with and snuggle up by the Christmas tree.
But it won't do you any good to have a boyfriend around the holidays if you have to go through a painful breakup in January.
If you want to save yourself a lot of additional heartache, take the right amount of time you need to properly grieve and nurture yourself back to wholeness. No matter how long it takes, creating a balanced new life for yourself first sets the stage for better future relationship success. Engaging in the next love relationship works best after you take care of unfinished business left over from your previous relationship.
The only way to prevent yourself from getting involved in a rebound relationship is to ask yourself the following questions. Once you've taken the time to really think about the answers to these questions, then, and only then, will you be ready to start a new relationship:
1. What have you learned about yourself through your former marriage?
2. What would you have done differently if you had to do it over again right now?
3. What kind of lifestyle do you want for the future?
There are immensely valuable lessons to learn from any breakup whether it's a marriage, business partnership or losing a best friend. Each relationship loss tells us something about how we cope with stress and it illuminates the faulty beliefs we operate from.
More from YourTango: Relationship Coach Jo Ann Simmons’ New Relationship System Proven
If Jo Ann Simmons (co-author of this article) had $100 for every person she encountered lately who said to her "I got it right the second time," she'd be enjoying a fully paid vacation in Switzerland. But the only way you can get it right the second time (or even the third time) is to analyze what went wrong the first time.
More from YourTango: It Really Is You: How You Sabotage Your Relationship
2. Know the Right Way to Date Online.
When you are ready to date again and decide you want to try online dating, make sure you learn how to write a good online profile. If you want to attract the right kind of man, then you need to write the right kind of profile. There are many specific things you can do in your online profile that will dramatically increase your chances of finding a new love after divorce. One of the best ways is to make sure to include in your profile not only what you're looking for in a man, but also what you can do for a man. So many people leave this out of a profile. But an online dating profile is really an ad and any effective ad tells the people who view it the benefits of acting on the ad.
Can you give a man a shoulder rub when he has a hard day at work? Put that in your profile. Will you cook him his favorite meal? Put that in too.
Another important tip: don't talk about your ex's bad traits in order to let men know you're looking for something different. It will make you sound like you're complaining. It's much better to state what you are looking for, instead of what you don't want. If you focus on what you don't want, that's exactly what you'll get. And you'll come across as a negative person. Who wants to date a negative person?
3. Volunteer at a Non-Profit.
If you're feeling down about not having a boyfriend during the holidays, volunteer at a non-profit organization. It will shift the focus away from your loneliness and toward a more important cause. Plus, after your divorce, your self-confidence may have taken a hit, and volunteering at a non-profit is one of the best ways to boost your self-confidence.
An added benefit is you'll probably make new female friends — some who may even have brothers and male friends they can fix you up with and some who can accompany you to events and other places where you're likely to meet men. And you might even meet a man while volunteering. Studies show that when two people work together toward a common goal, they develop a strong bond. So it's easier and more comfortable to connect with a man this way. Not to mention, many men who spend their free time giving back to the community are of a higher caliber than men who spend their off hours always hanging out at bars.
4. Realize Excuses Aren't Real.
If you find yourself ready to give up on dating, listen to the excuses you make and recognize them as an excuse rather than a reality. Our excuses are protective shields to stop us from being hurt again. One of the most common excuses why people don't date after divorce is, "Oh, I just don't have the time." Everybody can make the time to date. Some of the busiest people in the world date. The challenge is to recognize the excuse as fear and to conquer the fear.
Shift your focus away from the fear and instead imagine what it would be like to find a loving man who adores you. Really think about what that would feel like. And let that feeling replace your fear of dating. Hang around friends who have good relationships so that you can believe that true, honest, good love really does exist. Keep reading...
More dating after divorce advice from YourTango: