When to start dating after divorce will be different for everyone. The length of your marriage and circumstance around your divorce are factors that will determine when you are ready to move on to the world of dating.
It is human nature for most people to want to find the person of their dreams and live happily ever after. One problem is that they want that perfect relationship NOW; too often people dash from divorce, to another relationship or even marriage, way too soon. And then they wonder why the relationship doesn’t work out in a couple of months, or years down the road.
Your motivation for dating is the key to determining whether or not you’re ready. Ask yourself why do you have the urge right NOW to start dating? If your motivation is loneliness, security, or to feel complete chances are you’re not ready to date.
Let me explain why.
Healing from divorce takes time. Everyone needs to spend time with themselves rediscovering who they are. Until you REALLY know who you are and what values are important to you, it is difficult to find someone who is compatible with YOU.
Think about that. How can someone be compatible with you if you don’t know who YOU ARE.
When I was divorced about 18 months, a wonderful man appeared in my life. I wasn’t even thinking of dating at the time; I was busy being a single mother and working full-time. He swept me off my feet and we had a wonderful time. In hindsight, my motivation was loneliness and the desire to share the responsibilities of raising my daughter (who was 6 at the time). It felt good to be loved, and desired, by a man again.
It didn’t take long before there were aspects of him that didn’t align with my values. When troubles arose I retreated to my old coping mechanisms that I had in my marriage, which was to compromise my values to make the relationship work. I kept telling myself, it’ll get better. What I didn’t realize is that I was slowly giving up parts of myself that I had reclaimed over the past 18 months.
After one year, I finally ended the relationship because I realized I was losing the essence of who I was in trying to make the relationship work. I realized that I still wasn’t ready for dating and didn’t date again for another few years.
It is important that you know who you are and thoroughly enjoy being in your own company. What I have learned is that I needed the time to become the woman I am today, and I LOVE BEING HER! Once I learned what values are most important to me, and loved me for who I am, did I become ready to begin the dating process to find someone compatible with my values.