How To Date After A Divorce

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Here's how to have your best chance at a second-chance romance.

Imagine Cupid woke up one morning and realized a computer is a much more effective way to bring people together than a bow and arrow. And that, then, we wouldn't have all those nasty medical liability issues. MyDaily: Real Woman Share The Ups, Downs And Where The Men Are In Their Hometowns

So he finally (thank you) puts on some pants and goes to college to earn a doctorate in psychology so he can put everything he knows into a computer program that...

Oops. Too late. Dr. Gian Gonzaga beat you to it. He's one of the masterminds behind, the online dating site, and its now-famous 29 points of compatibility. He is the site's senior director of research and development and chiefly responsible for making founder Neil Clark Warren's dream of introducing you to the love of your life a reality.

Gonzaga helped designed eHarmony's test so you can find that Special Someone. He's also the author of The eHarmony Guide to Dating the Second Time Around for people who find themselves suddenly single and once more find themselves shivering at the edge of the dating pool.

Gonzaga holds a doctorate in social psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pa. He talked with MyDaily in a phone interview about the dating scene—especially for people going in for Round 2.

MyDaily: First of all, how did get started?
Gian Gonzaga: Dr. Neil Clark Warren was a marriage therapist for 30 years. He realized many couples were done for from the beginning. They didn't share fundamental compatibilities -- he was just negotiating an exit strategy. He decided it would be better to start from the beginning since that is the really important part of a relationship.

What's the major pitfall in dating?
The physical things we are attracted to in the beginning are not the things that help people get along in the long run. People tend to overweigh physical attraction. You need certain amount of physical attraction to come together, but staying together requires compatibility on a much deeper level. MyDaily: Is "Marital Leave" The Key To A Happy Marriage?

How does eHarmony make a difference?
You can study the couples who have been successful over the time. What are the characteristics that make them happy over a number of years? What keeps them together? All of these questions count at various levels.

Can you really trust answers on a survey? There is so often a difference between who we are and who we want to be or think we should be. Don't people puff themselves up, even subconsciously?
It is a challenge. That's one of the reasons the survey is so long. People tend to try to make themselves more than what they are. That's why we built a self-enhancement bias safeguard into the test.

How successful are you?
We are responsible for at least 542 marriages a day. I love that number. It's a lot better than just saying we have 100,000 active users.

What do you say to people who are self-conscious about online dating or don't like the feeling of resorting to website to find a mate?
Online dating is big enough that it's just another way for people to meet each other. It can slow down on the initial rush of meeting people. You're not getting all that visual information. An e-mail can allow you to see how witty and intelligent they are. Then, when you get on the phone, you get a different set of impressions.

Doesn't that make dating like a smorgasbord? Everyone is so obsessed with finding "the one" that they don't take the time to forge friendships that might lead to romance later on. How does that factor into your equations?
It's true, When you have a lot of choices, you might skip the good choices. That's why we try to make sure you are presented with good choices where there is a strong chance of compatibility.

How is dating different the second time around?
One of the ways dating is different when you are older is that, when you are in your 20s, you have a lot more prospects. You have a lot more places where you can meeting people. As you get older, you're farther away from the places where you meet people. Online dating has been a great way of getting around that. MyDaily: Mistress Day, February 13th—The Holiday For Cheaters?

Recently divorced or widowed people sometimes immediately jump back into the dating scene, hoping to find a "replacement" for their lost spouse. Do you see that sort of thing happen?
True. They're trying to fill a position rather than find someone they can honest connect with. Men more often will do this than woman. It really depends on the individual. When to start dating again is such an individual determination. Some people are ready to date right away. Others need years to heal.

Written by Tom Henderson for MyDaily

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