The Doâ€™s & Donâ€™ts for Dating After Divorce
Tips for When and How to Discuss Your Divorce With Your Date
Dear April Masini,
I am divorced and trying to start dating again. My problem is that I find it difficult to know how or when to bring up the fact that I’m divorced, and how to ask whomever I’m out with about their situation. Do you have any advice about what I might actually say? Should I just come right out with it? Should I bring it up on the first date, or should I wait for them to bring it up?"
Sincerely, Dating Divorcee
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Dating Divorcee,
Timing is everything. Ideally, the divorce is not a "heavy" subject for you or your date, and it can be brought up lightly, but the way it gets brought up telegraphs loads of information. If your date is morose and bitter when talking about his divorce and his ex, you'll see it right away. The trick is to find out if this is a new divorce (new for one person can be a few months old -- or a year old) or an old one (anything over three years). If it's a new divorce and your date is bitter and morose, this may be part of his or her personality -- not just a reaction to the divorce. If it's a new divorce, it's completely understandable to be shell-shocked by the transition.
The person who brings up the divorce first, is usually the one who is more interested in a long term relationship because they want to get this item out of the way. If your date brings it up, then you don't have to. But if you date doesn't bring it up, you'd be wise to bring it up yourself. You don't want to waste your time with someone who isn't interested in long term relationship and you want to find out what happened in the divorce and how your date is handling it.
Things You Can Say To Bring Your Divorce Up:
"So, how long have you been divorced?"
"Was it amicable?"
"How do you get along with your ex, now?"
These are all innocuous ways of getting to know someone. This particular someone happens to be divorced, and the divorce is an important part of any responsible adult's life. If it isn't, you should take that into consideration!
The Do’s & Don’ts for Dating After Divorce
Dating after divorce is a great way to heal and re-create your life. On the other hand, divorce can be so devastating that it's hard to move on and there will be remnants of the divorce involved in your dating.
Tips And Advice To Make Dating After Divorce Less Devastating
- Do talk about the divorce while you’re dating. If two people on a date are divorced, not talking about their divorces can be like having an elephant in the room that everyone is trying to ignore. Getting to know someone means getting to know why they're divorced, how long it's been, and what their feelings are about the divorce. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn about your own divorce situation from listening to someone else’s.
- Don't break up with a person if they're talking about the divorce too much. If the person you're dating isn't done with his or her divorce, emotionally-speaking, this is not a reason to break up with them. Everyone deals with a divorce in his own way, and it can take a year or ten years to finally feel that you just don't want to talk about your ex any more. Some people talk about their work all the time and some people talk about their children all the time. Others talk about their divorce. Consider the options.
- Do steer the conversation onto other topics like work, children, family, current events or local events if you feel that you are sick of hearing about the other person's divorce. If the other person is talking about their divorce incessantly, tell them that it's really bothering you, and they should probably hire a therapist to vent and work through the feelings so that you can have a relationship that isn't mired in divorce discussions.
- Don't get discouraged if you go through periods that are divorce discussion intense.When you date someone who's been divorced, the divorce is part of who they are. If you don't like it, then don't date them. But understand that there will be flare ups with the ex which will mean your honey wants to talk to vent, and to get your advice and perspective.