The end of a marriage doesn’t mean you’ll never find love again. Here’s how to get back in the dating game, and piece your new love life back together.
It might seem tough to find love after a marriage breakdown, especially if you have had to deal with trust issues. And if you have children, there are other factors to take into consideration too, such as their feelings about the situation and how any potential new partner feels about kids.
It’s not uncommon to never want to be in a relationship again, after going through a divorce. However, there are also many women who are still looking out for love, and want to return to the dating scene. Follow these do’s and don’ts from our experts for a smoother ride towards a happy new relationship.
One mistake women make after a breakup is finding a replacement for their ex and settling for the next available man. Don’t panic; there’s no need to rush into anything so try to stay calm.
“A lot of divorced women express anxiety and fear about dating again, especially in their late 30s, 40s or 50s. They may have subscribed to the notion that they have passed their prime,” says Anisa Hassan, Founder and CEO of Joompa, an online dating service for Muslim singles in Southeast Asia. She was also formerly the Managing Director of It’s Just Lunch Asia.
“As such, they give the impression that they have no time to waste and would want to settle down quickly with the next person who shows some interest in them. When men feel your anxiety, they will head for the opposite direction in double quick time.”
You shouldn’t just stay calm: You should also be confident. After all, confidence is a very sexy trait and it’ll pique the interest of more men, therefore widening your dating pool.
Jean Shashi, a psychotherapist and director at Relationship Matters, which offers couples counselling and workshops, has the following advice: “Attend to your self-confidence. A self confident woman can be very attractive. It can also help to maintain a good relationship in the future.”
Jean adds, “Surrounding yourself with encouraging people will be helpful for rebuilding self-esteem. Consistently affirming your strengths and acknowledging your good efforts and intentions can also be helpful.”
Be Open To Possibilities
If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t dismiss the idea of others joining in your search for a partner and, especially if you’re feeling down, don’t go through this journey alone.
“There’s no shame in asking for support. If you’re feeling frustrated, scared or just stuck, seek support from friends and family and ask for a shoulder to lean on,” says Anisa. “And when you’re presented with the possibilities to meet new people, be sure to take that bull by the horns and don’t ever overthink or over-futurise the outcome. After all, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!”
Consider Why You Want To Date Again
Before you get back in the dating game, you need to honestly ask yourself what you want in your new relationship. Moving on might be difficult, especially if you had been married for a while. Call it baggage or being used to a particular type of life – whatever the case, it’s time to re-evaluate what you want.
“I often advise clients who have gone through a divorce to take a step back and reassess their priorities,” says Violet Lim, CEO and Co-Founder of the Lunch Actually Group. “A lot of times, in a relationship, we end up being moulded into someone more suitable for our partner, which may not necessarily be our authentic selves. So a break-up is actually an opportunity to see what’s important to you, which may put you on the right path to your next relationship.”
The key here, Violet explains, is that, ultimately, being in a relationship is not about finding someone who will make you feel complete. Instead, you need to be complete on your own first, before getting into a relationship.
Think About The Past
You’re trying to plan a future with a new partner, so why hold on to the past? Not getting over the breakdown of your marriage could be the biggest hurdle to you moving on. Violet reveals that sometimes, you may not even realise how your past is stopping you from finding someone new, even though you think you’re over it. “Stop comparing and truly let go of the past. That means stop thinking about your past, stop talking about it and stop comparing your ex-husband with someone new.”
Anisa adds, “Going on dates again is all about fresh starts. So don’t be dragging your past into your present.”
Get Too Intense
When you do get a date, don’t feel like you need to rush to get to know him and assess his potential as a partner immediately. Violet suggests keeping the conversation light and to talk about your common interests and hobbies, your passion in life, or swap travel tales. But stay clear from discussing topics such as politics, religion and sex.
“Also, always show your most positive side on your first date. No one wants to go out with someone who’s negative and always complaining about everything and anything,” Violet advises. “Ultimately, dates are supposed to be fun. Do not put too much pressure on yourself, thinking that this has to lead to something serious right away. Think of it as meeting and getting to know a new friend.”
Talk About Your Ex
Another no-go zone when it comes to conversations with your dates is discussing your ex. Don’t look at dating as an opportunity to talk about what your ex-husband did and why your marriage ended. Give the new guy a chance by keeping the conversations about the two of you.
“The whole point of re-entering the dating scene is to seek someone new to have a better connection,” Anisa says. “Discussing your ex is a surefire way to make an interesting night go south. Stay positive and upbeat and you’ll give off an irresistible energy that leaves the guy wanting more of you.”
Need some reassurance on dating after your marriage has ended? Women who’ve been there share their words of wisdom…
“Dating after divorce might feel as though you’ve never dated before. You may feel lost, not sure where to start and how to begin. Start with confidence and everything else will fall into place. Also, don’t take yourself too seriously and enjoy the process.” Jenna, 37
“Being divorced with children means you need to have all the usual post-divorce parenting issues solved before putting yourself out there. No babydaddy drama, make sure your finances are stable, have a good relationship with your kids, and be at peace with your situation and accept it. Otherwise, it is not going to be easy to handle. “Having children also means asking yourself if the person you are seeing is someone you want your children to have a relationship with. Whether you like it or not, he will have an impact on them in some way or other.” Claire, 40
“Take things slow because I’ve seen friends who rushed into a new relationship after divorcing and it never works out. It took me almost two years after my divorce to even go on a date and three years to finally find someone I wanted to be with.” Zara, 42
FINDING MR RIGHT
If you’re looking to date again, these dating services can help you search for the new man in your life:
This dating agency seeks to weave the “fabrique” of your unique love story, and provides personalised dating services and organises bespoke dating events. www.fabriquelove.com
Launched in 2004, this dating service is for busy professionals willing to squeeze in time for finding love during lunch. www.lunchactually.com
It's the world’s first Muslim-friendly social meet-up community, but is open to singles from all backgrounds. Download the app to find compatible choices. www.letsjoompa.com
TEXT: BALVINDER SANDHU / PHOTO: 123RF.COM