If you thought dating was traumatizing when you were younger, we have some news for you: the modern dating scene is an absolute nightmare. In a world where an infinite number of options is just a swipe away, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or exhausted. That’s doubly true if you’re reentering the dating scene after a long hiatus.
If you thought you were done with the whole dating scene, only to suddenly find yourself back in the pool after a bad divorce or breakup, dating can seem incredibly daunting. But don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to enter the dating game again, after you’ve spent years happily (or unhappily) benched.
1) Remember you’re not alone.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not a failure, and you have nothing to be ashamed of. Divorce is really, really common: according to the American Psychological Association, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the U.S. divorce. More importantly, divorce is not a bad thing. You were in a situation that clearly wasn’t working, and now you’re not. So, while the process of divorce can often be incredibly painful and traumatic, more often than not the byproduct — that you’re no longer in an unhealthy relationship — is ultimately a good thing.
2) Confidence is key.
Going through a divorce can be devastating. Many men experience a huge dip in their confidence, and the idea that someone new could ever be interested in them may seem impossible. That’s why maintaining a positive self-image post-divorce is crucial.
“Confidence and good self esteem is everything, especially in the dating scene,” says Kristie Overstreet PhD, a clinical sexologist and psychotherapist. “When you are talking to a woman, remember that she is choosing to continue to talk with you. Don’t come off as too full of yourself, but it’s okay to be a little cocky. Woman are attracted to men that are sure of themselves, not full of themselves.”
3) Keep it light and positive.
After a divorce, it’s not uncommon for there to be lingering resentment and negativity on your end. But a first date is not a good time to air your grievances about your ex.
“You’d be surprised how many people neglect this, but you should not talk badly about your ex, or even at all, on a first date,” says Erika Gershowitz, a professional match maker with Three Day Rule matchmaking services. Keep the conversation light and optimistic. Avoid touching on deep-seated issues that can cause an unnecessary conflict right at the starting gate.
“Think of your life now as a clean slate,” says Overstreet. “Dating gives you the opportunity to get to know women. You want to make [the conversation] about them, not you.”
4) Yes, you have to get online.
The rules of the dating game have changed a lot since the last time you played, “and you should own and accept that,” says Dershowitz. “You will probably make mistakes, but it’s important for you to be forgiving of yourself.”
The first thing you should do when you’re ready to get back in the game? Suck it up and get online. Online dating is now completely mainstream, to the point that an estimated 15% of Americans have used a dating app or website at one point, according to 2016 data.
To create a dating profile, make sure you “have a balance of your interests, hobbies, bucket list, and life goals,” suggests Overstreet. It also must be said that you should take special care when choosing your photos. Make sure they are clear, appropriate, and show how well-rounded you are. If in doubt, ask a female friend for honest feedback.
Many recently divorced people truly do see this as a new opportunity and are ready to embrace it, and that’s wonderful. But pacing yourself is key. You don’t want to jump back in the pool before you’re emotionally ready, and you definitely don’t want to get burnt out, either.“There is nothing wrong with going out and having fun, but you don’t want to get a reputation as a player, either. You don’t want to be in the business of hurting people,” says Overstreet.
Dating should be fun, and you shouldn’t be looking for anything super serious right off the bat. Being honest and up front about what you are looking for will determine the right person for you to date at the right time. Once you do that, finding the One the second time around will invariably follow.
Source: Men’s Health