I remember when I first got married how thankful I was to be done with dating! Then when I was single again, I realized if I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life alone, I’d have to get back to dating eventually.
Dating after divorce is different for everyone. Some may go through the healing process and feel ready to start over in a few months. Others may take years to feel ready. Hopefully you can help your friend learn from some of the mistakes I made in dating after divorce.
Jumping in Too Soon
It may be tempting for your friend to get right back into dating, but taking time to grow and heal from the divorce is the most important thing. Remind him or her to take time to focus on learning and healing from past mistakes to help foster a healthy relationship when the time is right. In my case, I began projecting mistakes from my marriage onto each person I dated because I hadn’t taken the time to fully heal from my past situation and work through my fears.
Jumping in Too Deep
Falling head over heels for the first person who shows interest is just as tempting as dating too soon. I found myself much too serious about the first guy I dated after my divorce and when it didn’t work out, I was devastated. All the emotions I thought I had dealt with from my divorce compounded with the loss of another relationship. I also made the mistake of introducing him to my daughter who became very attached. When the relationship ended, it was hard on her, too.
Jumping in Every Puddle
After my first attempt at dating, I went in the opposite direction and became too casual about dating. While accepting every date offer helped ease some loneliness, eventually, I found dating without anything deeper just as lonely. The saying, “every date is a possible mate” is true. There’s no need for your friend to date people who aren’t the kind of partner he or she will eventually want.
What You Can Do
- Be available when your friend is feeling especially lonely or on dates that might be harder to spend alone, like Valentine’s Day or an anniversary.
- Offer a double date as a way for your friend to ease back into dating.
- Talk about how it’s going especially if your friend is rushing a new relationship or involving the children too soon. Even if your friend seems to be having fun, ask about the people, the process and how he or she is feeling about it all.
Good things, including finding the person your friend is meant to be with, can and will come of dating when the time is right. It’s a long road to recover from divorce, so even when he or she is ready to date again, fears and scars will show up and talking it through is essential. Your advice may not always be taken, but eventually your friend will thank you for having been there all along!