17 Essential Rules For Dating After Divorce

Photo: weheartit
 Essential Expert Rules For Dating After Divorce

We asked 105 mental health professionals the following question: How long should a parent wait before starting to date again after a divorce?

The plurality of experts agree that there's no [time] requirement; as soon as they'd like is just fine.

Still, while it's up to parents to use their best judgment about when to start dating again, there are some rules all divorcés should follow when it comes to revving up the romance again.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Pamper yourself.

Divorce is stressful and can take a lot out of you, especially your self-esteem. Treat yourself to a weekend getaway or spa day. Remember, you are worth it! —Marla Martenson

2. Stay connected...

To your female friends for company and support, but stay clear of "male bashing." Keep the conversations positive. Putting down your ex or rehashing old hurts will only keep you in a negative and depressed state if mind. —Marla Martenson

3. Get out and try new things.

Trying one new thing per month will give you confidence in yourself and you never know who you might meet. —Marla Martenson

4. Be a leader (not a hunter).

A hunter is someone that follows or pursues someone else. It is a short-lived ego boost for the hunted, but ultimately not attractive (you're too easy to get). A leader, however, creates value because he/she has a full life, his time is scarce. You are perceived as being a challenge to get your time and attention, thus, making you more desirable. —Divorced Guys

5. Start now.

Why? There are three reasons to start dating again now. First, to practice dating, getting ready when it will really matters. Second, get comfortable around romantic prospects again — it's like working out, you have to get back into "dating shape." Third, it builds your self-confidence, improving your appeal! —Divorced Guys

6. Be happy.

Take time to reflect on all of the positive things you have accomplished in your life. Exude happiness and know in your heart you have the power to create the life you want. Happiness is contagious and a very attractive quality. —Divorced Guys

Related: 10 Ways Dating After Divorce Is EXACTLY Like High School

7. Don't be desperate.

Desperation created a feeling of being needy. Communicating that you'll change or do anything for him/her it lowers your value. Remember the saying "people want what they can't have and don't want what they can have." —Divorced Guys

8. Don't use your kids.

That is, don't try to create a date with someone new by jiggering a "playdate" with both of your kids at the park until you know that this person will be in your life for the longer term. It's just plain awkward for your kids and prevents you from really being the "non-mom" or "non-dad" version of yourself, which isn't ideal, especially when you are just getting to know each other. While you want to see how your kids will interact with your someone special, make that meeting intentional and focused on making the kids comfortable. Since that is not the case when you are dating and getting to know someone, this is the case where "killing two birds with one stone" is just a bad idea. —Marni Battista

9. Don't talk about your ex.

Don't discuss the custody schedule or why you got a divorce on the first five dates. Do talk about what you learned from your marriage and divorce, how you grew as a person and who you are now! Especially avoid any bashing or complaining. Remember, every ex is somebody else's "jerk" or "crazy b*tch," so if you avoid that conversation, you can truly see the person as who he or she is today, rather than the role they played in their past relationship. —Marni Battista

10. Give yourself permission to get your crazies out.

Especially if you were in a long-term relationship for a very long time. Be honest about your post-divorce relationship goals. Are you really looking for another long-term partnership? Or, are you wanting to play the field, get comfortable with your sexuality, or just practice dating? It's developmentally appropriate to sew your wild outs (safely, of course) if you skipped dating in your 20s and 30s because you were in a marriage or long-term partnership. Allowing yourself to play and have fun can build confidence so that when you are ready to date for love, you bring your authentic, powerful self to the table. —Marni Battista

11. Try online dating!

It's fun, exciting and not just for the young or desperate daters. Online dating is the best modern tool available for singles all over the world! With a quick, simple profile and a photo of yourself, you'll be able to get back into the dating groove and be reminded that you are not alone out there. There are people to date everywhere! It's time to search the web and find new prospects. Going online is a major DO post-divorce! Ask a friend, family member or dating coach to help you get your profile up and running. —Coach Maya from RewardingRelationships.net

12. Get a makeover!

Your life has changed and you can put a positive spin on it by looking your best! Makeover your entire life from head to toe with a few easy and reasonable updates! Trim your hair and update your wardrobe with a new pair of jeans and a cute top. It's also fun to get a makeup consultation for all the new dates you'll be going on. —Coach Maya from RewardingRelationships.net

13. Hit the gym!

Nothing better than a great sweat session to take out your frustrations! Little things like trying a new nail polish color or getting a new pair of shoes will help remind you that you have your freedom to be bold and daring without going over the top. Looking good and feeling great is life's sweetest revenge! —Coach Maya from RewardingRelationships.net

14. Re-decorate!

Without having to break the bank, you can restyle your home in a jiffy. Pick up a new accent pillow and a blanket throw to add into your home. Replace old photos of you and your ex with fun photos of you and your friends and those who love you. Go make new experiences in life and frame them! —Coach Maya from RewardingRelationships.net

15. Go out with single friends!

If you don't have any singles to hang out with, join a singles group (anything and everything from singles tennis, running, gardening, yoga, book clubs and more) and get out there. Find other divorcees to hang out with and laugh about life's new changes. You're on a new path. Embrace this journey with like-minded people. And, most importantly, look great doing so! —Coach Maya from RewardingRelationships.net

Related: 10 Dating Tips I REALLY Wish I'd Followed While I Was Single

16. Don't sit home alone.

Force yourself to get up and off that couch! No matter what, it's better to be out for a few hours socializing and mingling than bored, depressed, angry and miserable while home alone. Being alone is not fun when you are divorced. If your ex has the kids, make sure to have plans on those evenings so you're not crying the blues all by yourself. Keep busy! Sign up for new classes! Call a friend, grab a bite and take your mind off things for a couple of hours. Go to the movies! Comedies are an excellent remedy for the stress and misery of post-divorce life. Who doesn't love popcorn? —Coach Maya from RewardingRelationships.net

17. Don't bash and blame.

Divorce sucks. There's no need to sugar coat it. It's painful and awful - but it's over. You are free to move on. Don't bash your ex or blame him or yourself for what happened in the past. Join a support group, visit a therapist, take a boxing class, meditate, walk outdoors — do whatever it takes to release and vent in a healthy and proper fashion — just don't be a hater and talk badly about your failed marriage. "It just didn't work it. We tried." The less negativity in your life, the more positivity can flow in and carry you forward. —Coach Maya from RewardingRelationships.net