How To Stay Optimistic About Finding Someone New After Divorce

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unsure woman with man behind her

If you’re divorced, you may be thinking, "What’s there to be positive about?" Even if you wanted or initiated your split, divorce sucks.

You might feel like used or damaged goods with a new stigma to cart around in your life: "divorced."

You haven’t necessarily lost the desire to be married, but maybe you don’t know how to stay optimistic about finding someone new. And you may be too confused, deflated, and skeptical to even know how to start the search.

A huge percentage of divorced people are stepping into a second — and even third — try at forever-love.

As a once-divorced woman, I empathize with these feelings and fears — the self-doubt, trepidation about the future, and pessimism.

RELATED: 5 Things You Must Do When Dating After Divorce (For The Best Chance At New Love)

It can be challenging to stay optimistic about love when your marriage didn't last.

It’s very difficult to come out of a lifetime commitment that didn’t last a lifetime. It’s just as difficult to stay optimistic about finding someone new, especially when you're over 50!

However, hope is not lost.

Yes, the period after getting divorced is a very unique time in your life. It feels difficult and unfamiliar. But it’s also an opportune time to don a fresh attitude about yourself and your life.

No, you’re not going to step out of one fairytale and into another. It’s going to take some time to create a new path that feels normal and sustainable.

There's no time like the present to light the spark that will end up blazing your new trail.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of reasons to stay optimistic about finding someone new after divorce. Yes, even for marriage-minded people who haven’t given up the dream of being with "the one."

Here are 6 ways to stay positive about finding love with someone new, even after divorce.

1. Humor heals.

Yes, it’s true: Laughter really is the best medicine. Divorce may be nothing to laugh about and, certainly, there was a lot of pain going through yours.

But, a sense of humor can still put wind into your sails and help you heal a lot more quickly.

It’s not just any type of humor that helps, though.

People who turn to self-deprecation tend to bring on more stress. Those who use adaptive humor that's affiliative or self-enhancing, however, tend to have a much more positive outlook on life.

So, give yourself permission to be tickled by life, even while you feel broken.

Cracking a smile and chuckling about lighthearted things with a friend won’t undermine the importance of what you’re going through.

They will simply help your subconscious mind remember that there's joy in life. And they will help you get there more quickly.

2. You now have a license to reinvent yourself.

You don’t have to become someone different in order to feel "reinvented." Part of staying optimistic about finding someone new is feeling optimistic about yourself.

This is the time to dust off what doesn’t serve you or make you happy and start taking some risks in areas that do.

You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t even have to know anything about what you’re doing. You just have to show up with curiosity, interest, yearning, and willingness to stretch out of your comfort zone.

This is also a great way to boost your self-esteem. And everyone knows what healthy self-esteem does for building a healthy relationship.

You will don some new confidence when you focus on the positive aspects of yourself!

3. Aim for priorities, not perfection.

Divorce changes everything, including finances and lifestyle. And it is so easy to attach your sense of worth and attractiveness to what you have and what you do.

But there's something about "losing" in one area that makes you realize what you have in more important areas. You get the opportunity to examine what really matters and what you can let fall away.

And a person who is really in touch with their values and priorities is very attractive to others looking for an authentic relationship.

So, tell your perfectionism to take a vacation while you zero in on your priorities. Knowing what you truly want will help you devote your time purposefully, leaving lots of room for love to enter in.

4. Family and friends are essential.

You will inevitably lose some friends in your divorce. Broken marriages always affect more than just the couple.

But you will also quickly learn who your die-hard friends and family members are. Keep them close. Cherish them. Listen to them.

These are the people who know you best and will be able to help you keep perspective when you start going "there."

They are the ones who will give you a lot of space to sort through your feelings. They are also the ones who will help reel you in when you need to get your life and attitude back on track.

In terms of staying optimistic, these are the gems who will be there reminding you how awesome you are.

RELATED: Mastering Dating After Divorce (Even If You’d Just Rather Give Up)

5. Take things slowly.

This might be painful to hear, especially if you ache to be in a relationship. But being determined to find a "marriage replacement" right out of the chute will only set you up for another heartache.

One way to stay optimistic about finding someone new after divorce is to stay open to dating without expectations.

Go on dates with people who may not fit your typical profile or "type." Do things with groups, instead of romantic one-on-ones.

Be honest with your dates, letting them know that you are focusing on yourself as you process your divorce. And, by all means, don’t rush into sex.

6. The relationship with yourself is the one that matters most.

Loneliness, sadness, and depression often go hand-in-hand with divorce. And they don’t go away overnight. It takes a long time and a lot of patience to unearth all that went into the marriage you just came out of.

You owe it to yourself, to your children, and to a potential new mate to do the deep cleaning.

The self-examination will help you come to terms with how you contributed to both the success and failure of your marriage.

It will also help you recognize the ways you may have lost yourself in your marriage. Taking the time to excavate the real you that may have been hidden — or maybe never showed up — will change everything.

Cliché as it sounds, you can’t know and love someone else until you first know and love yourself.

Divorce can make you feel pretty rotten about yourself. Your whole life has been turned inside-out, so it’s no wonder your sense of self has been, too.

Carrying that lack of confidence into your new life is very debilitating to the healing process, let alone to a potential dating life.

But there are plenty of reasons and ways to stay optimistic, not only about your future but about finding someone new.

Take time to relish the space and time in your life. You have the opportunity to gain clarity about yourself, your past marriage, and your divorce.

And out of clarity comes vision for the future... and optimism for having a new loving partner to be a part of it.

RELATED: 6 Strategies For Loving Your Life After Divorce

Amy Schoen is a D.C.-based national expert in dating and relationship life coaching. If you’re ready to stop spinning your wheels with online dating and finally find your true love, then download her free online dating checklist and see how you stack up with your online dating profile.