How do you know when you are ready to date again after a divorce? Here are some tips for guys in three different stages of recovery.
How do you know if you are ready to date after divorce? Well, ask yourself a couple of questions:
How long has it been since my divorce? (1 month, 6 months-1 year, or 1 year)
Can I carry on a conversation without mentioning my kids, my ex-wife, or sports for more than 15 minutes?
When was the last time I laughed or smiled?
One Month Guy
If you are in the “One Month Club,” I’m sorry to report that you’re likely just chasing your physical needs and about to fall short on your expectations. Believe it or not, women can sense our situation and the best thing I can offer the “One Month Club” is to take a little time off, get to know yourself and your kids, stay in shape and keep active. No woman wants to be the “Rebound Girl”.
If you’re the “One Month Guy” and you want to socialize with girls, do so in an environment that is safe and friendly. Group dating is a great start. Casually meet up with some friends at a sports bar or restaurant, go wine tasting or so something active just to have fun. This experience is all about change and transition and SingleDad is here to provide support. When you feel a little awkward or panicky, just remind yourself that you are not there to pick up girls; you are there to make new friends and network. Don’t drink too much and do not be the last one at the event. It’s better to take this experience in small doses. Leaving early is a good idea. Staying late and just hanging around is a BAD idea.
Having the right attitude makes all the difference in the world to the newly divorced. Keeping a positive attitude during the first 6 months is the best advice SingleDad can offer. Remind yourself that you are always changing and this process changes with you. The sooner you let go, loosen up, and believe that there is a huge opportunity waiting for you to smile, laugh and have fun again, you will be there!
6 Month-1 Year Guy
Now for the 6 month-1 Year Guys, I have a different set of questions:
Have I dated someone other than a “Rebound Girl”?
Do I use these phrases in my conversations, “I want to get re-married soon.” or “I want to have children right after I get re-married.”
Can I can laugh, smile and cry and mean it?
It is important to understand these questions at this stage of your “transition game”. I call it a game because, in many respects, our life during and after divorce has the look and feel of a game (the field, the rules, the time clock). To properly approach this game , you have to be “in shape”. I mean in good mental and emotional shape to meet new women.
Take a serious look at those questions above and answer them. If you are not sure how to answer them, I challenge you to ask your closest friends to answer on your behalf. It’s amazing how we see ourselves, but rarely do we hear ourselves…
Okay? Now the fun begins.
There are a lot of resources to meet new women and begin the dating process. The internet provides many options. There are the “Lunch Clubs” that offer a membership and a guarantee to eat lunch with a new woman, based on your criteria, each and every week. You need to eat, right? This could be a plus. Just remember, don’t take your date to a barbeque/rib joint on the first meeting. There’s nothing sexy about food in between your teeth!
There are other sites that can match you on all types of desired criteria: religion, kids, race, smoker, drinker, ancestry, weight, height, activity level…you get the point. I think it is good to find the one that best suits your interest at this time in your transition. When you are the “6 Month-1 Year Guy”, you have pretty much made it through some difficult times and you want to be more relaxed and less serious about yourself. You typically are curious about women outside of your own circles of friends and family friends.
I personally chose a site that requires a 2 hour questionnaire. Most guys wouldn’t do it, but I thought it was well worth the time. I felt I was matched with women that had equal interest in many similar areas and it made the process of meeting someone new much easier for me. Even if it didn’t work out, I made new friends. Some I still keep in touch with and many of them now contribute to this website.
I feel that if you are going to do this type of dating, take the following advice:
Complete the questionnaire in one sitting. Don’t chicken out or step away to process your questions. This usually leads you away from your gut instinct and it may change your profile dramatically.
Don’t have your friends fill out the form or answer the questions for you. This doesn’t work and I have seen plenty of friends suffer from a bad match because of this coaching.
Again, the right attitude is the key to developing a new you. The 6 month–1 year transition period is the greatest time of discovery for a newly divorced, single father. Take your time and enjoy the ride. Dating is an important part of our lives to which we need to devote some time. However, our priorities will also be our children and family’s well being. Don’t let the dating game dominate your time. Do the right thing and allow yourself the time to make new friends.
Brush up on your etiquette. It’s never too late to eat with your mouth closed or learn how to use a fork and a knife separately with each hand! Oh, and by the way, remember to open the car door, restaurant door, ANY DOOR for her FIRST. Yes, women remember every detail and your manners make a difference.
A couple final tips:
It’s OK to talk to your dates about your kids, but generally, don’t introduce your dates to you kids until you have made a commitment to a particular person. Any premature meetings can cause a little confusion down the road if you choose to breakup and be friends. Kids are fragile, and so are dads.
Have an open dialog with your children, if they ask. It is important for them to understand you as a father, just as it is for them to know you as a human being. Tell them how you are feeling.
Be brief, but let your children ask questions. Let them know that nobody is replacing anybody. Explain your activities and your process of getting to know someone new. Reassure it will not take away from your commitments with them.
If they ask to meet her, explain that you need to get to know her first, and that you will keep them informed when the right time comes.
Never talk badly about your ex-wife and never share any opinions you have about her activities with your kids or dates. Demonizing your ex will not help you score points in your new relationship. Don’t make your children the jury to your divorce court. It’s not healthy.
I hope you enjoyed this article and I look forward to our members’ feed back.
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”