10 Things You Need To Know To Master Dating After Divorce

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Love

If you're navigating the profoundly and sometimes disturbingly fascinating land of dating after divorce, you may have some questions.

First off, my condolences — and congratulations on your divorce! You've been through hell, a war, an awakening, and nirvana all at once.

So, I feel you!

Dating after divorce is severely vulnerable and easily anxiety-provoking. Highs and lows covertly adorn every corner.

The truth is that we are a uniquely flawed and perfect culture of humans who have had our hearts and families shattered and battered with a flavor of pain that only we know.

RELATED: The 3 Biggest Dating Mistakes Women Make After Getting Divorced

Ironically, we are putting ourselves out there for the first time with this unspoken, ubiquitous reality among us and feel the pressure to do it confidently with a smile on our faces.

So, if you've encountered a photo of a man on a dating site posing with a freshly caught fish or perused an image of a woman triumphantly grasping a wine glass surrounded by her girlfriends in wine country, you're well on your way!

Here are 10 things you need to know as you embark on this resplendently bittersweet and bizarre journey of dating after divorce.

1. Learn your attachment style.

If you're wondering what yours is, you can take a quiz.

Trust me, this will come in handy as you meet someone. Almost instantly, you'll find yourself fantasizing about your wedding or, on the flip-side, wanting to retreat to a cave in isolation.

2. Use your imagination.

Allow yourself to create the "ideal dating scenario" or "ideal partnership" you're looking to attract.

Here's the fun part: Allow yourself to indulge creatively. You deserve the best scenario possible!

3. Expect to have old feelings come up about your ex.

You probably thought that you resolved them.

Perhaps you miss your ex, compare new people to them, or feel a strong aversion to them as you meet others who feel like a much more appropriate fit.

You may even find yourself wishing for your old life as you venture into a significant discomfort zone.

4. Know your needs.

What are you willing to tolerate? What is a total dealbreaker?

If something feels like it's crossing your needs' boundaries, honor it! When something feels out of integrity with your needs, step back, and recalibrate yourself.

5. You will become fluent in rejecting and being rejected.

For the love of humanity, be compassionate! Do not ghost people!

Ghosting is beyond painful and flat-out blows. Lead the conversation with vulnerability.

"Thank you for the date. It's hard for me to say this, but I'm just not feeling the connection that I am looking for."

Be transparent. If everyone practiced honest communication, we could create a dating revolution.

RELATED: 4 Freeing Signs You're Ready To Start Dating Again Post-Divorce

6. You will experience a sexual reawakening.

You get to choose exactly how you want that to look. Maybe you will have some casual fun. Perhaps you need an exclusive commitment and deep love to be sexual with someone.

Once again, here's an opportunity to own your needs and be honest with yourself.

Indeed, there will be uncomfortable, cringe-worthy conversations about birth control, STD testing, etc.

7. Grief may erupt in the most unexpected situations.

You could be out on the town enjoying your new singlehood one minute, and the next you're haunted by memories of your old life.

Maybe you suddenly miss your kids when your house feels quiet and vacuous during their visits with your ex. It hurts with a searing ferocity.

Allow yourself to feel the uniquely nuanced versions of pain. Something that was once familiar and precious is no longer there.

Take all the time you need to emote, care for yourself, and grieve.

8. Expect a significant self-discovery phase.

Dating is so much more than going out on dates — it's an education. The people you date all have vastly fascinating life stories.

We have all seen some things in this phase of life! There's so much to learn — about yourself and another human — just by sitting across from each other on a casual coffee date.

Be present to what unfolds. Notice how you feel in your body and mind when in another's company.

9. You may activate old, dormant childhood wounds.

Maybe you feel the urge to people-please in hopes of getting the love you want.

Do you want to be a caretaker? Do you want to isolate and retreat because shame envelops you?

Does being alone feel more attractive, because you are fearful that no one can fully be there for you? Do you get triggered by someone's needs or emotions?

Chances are, all of these reactions are your old baggage coming to visit you. They say that we subconsciously seek out people to act out old emotional wounds to show us what we need to heal.

10. Trust yourself!

You will have advice coming at you from all directions. Regardless of what you hear from the outside, you know yourself best!

Anything you read online or what you hear from your friends or a therapist is inconsequential compared to your wisdom and intuition.

Now is a perfect time to stand firm in your own innately unique resources. You've got this!

RELATED: 4 Crucial Tips For Dating After Divorce For Your Best Chance At Finding A New, True Love

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Keri Signoracci is a Therapeutic Relationship & Couples Coach with a background in psychology as well as extensive training in relationship coaching. Reach out to book a free 30 Minute Consultation.