Dating after divorce in the hopes of finding true love can be a difficult experience. It’s not just the fact that you’re older or nervous, tired of rejection and being pushed aside by so many options these days. No matter what you’re saying to yourself, anybody divorced, anyone dating a divorcé really, is riddled with a whole host of questions like a reporter sussing out a lead… “What broke them apart? Did he cheat on her?” “Was she addicted to pills or nagged him nonstop?” Our natural curiosity takes over and we want the entire story upfront and honestly.
If you’re lucky, you’ll catch yourself before saying those thoughts out loud. This saves your date from feeling like they need to produce their blood test and divorce decree before the appetizer comes. But by being polite, way too often, you’re left wondering what happened and how much you should trust what’s being said. Whenever I’m on a date, I have to balance my professional, coaching demeanor with being a girl attracted to a guy. I have to stay focused on my feelings and the level of attraction going on reminding myself that he’s allowed to have a past and I’m allowed to have fun.
The thing is, our past is part of who we are. It adds that dimension that makes us, us. Unfortunately, it’s also being scrutinized way more than anyone likes to admit. Since no future lover worth your attention wants a battled and bruised partner, you’ve got to get some of that healing done before you talk about what you’ve gone through.
In truth, your date doesn’t need to hear about your battle. No one outside your attorney or therapist’s offices really does. Sagas and stories, the marks of your marriage, former lovers, and exes belong in a safe place away from potential gossip and nosy neighbors, never mind the cute guy in Starbucks. Especially if you’re newly divorced and just starting your healing. The important thing to realize is that no date can be that therapist for you.
If you’re still trying to figure out why your marriage fell apart or what you did to contribute to that breakdown, leave that to a professional. Think of your dating time as a way to do things differently going forward, so you don’t fall into another bad situation. Bringing up your past while entertaining a potential future lover isn’t the best thing to share. Particularly on the first few dates when you’re still trying to learn whether to trust this new person in your life or not.
Count on the fact that your date wants to know about your interests instead, the newest book you’re reading, an exciting project at work or something fun you’re doing in your free time. They’re looking to see if you’re interested in knowing them! They’re trying to figure out if you’re someone they want to spend Saturday afternoon with. Be someone they’d like to hang out with because I can promise, up until now, you’ve both been through enough disappointment and pain.
The beautiful thing about the experience of dating after divorce is that you’re an adult responsible for your well-being and wanting to generously give to another human being. That’s fun. Being with another person, getting to know him or her, is supposed to be fun.
If you’re out there dating after divorce it means you’re ready to find true love, not reveal all your scars and wounded parts to anyone who’ll listen. So when you’re ready, opt in for the adventure and sit on that bar stool eager to learn about the possibilities of being with the person next to you!
Laura Bonarrigo is a Certified Life Coach and a Certified Divorce Coach, you can learn more about her and her online coaching program, DoingDivorce School at laurabonarrigo.com and www.doingDivorceSchool.com.