Divorce is hard but finding love again doesn't have to be.
After a separation, many people try to figure out how to start dating after divorce so they can find love again after heartbreak.
According to 2017 research, 48 percent of older divorcees in America have married for a second time.
And for those divorcees who haven’t yet found their second soul mate, 50 percent of them would like to remarry!
If you are a divorcee who has embraced being single and are ready to mingle, here's some important dating advice: don’t discount the potential for remarriage just yet.
These trends say two positive things about the power of thought and behavior.
The first thing is that divorcees are optimistic. Regardless of experiencing one of life’s most challenging setbacks, there is still hope of moving forward and finding new love.
Interestingly enough, love still happens to be the number one reason people believe they should marry.
This optimistic thinking encourages the second positive point which is enthusiastic behavior.
There is a large population of divorcees and widows who have put themselves back in the dating pool, only increasing their odds of meeting a potential partner if they play their cards right.
So, if you're dealing with divorce and thinking to yourself, "Will I ever find love?", the answer is yes, you can find love again and re-start a new life after divorce.
While having a great attitude and making yourself available are important prerequisites for dating, you are going to have to bring your "A" game — mentally, physically, and emotionally — to maximize your chances for success at remarrying.
But, learning how to start dating after divorce isn’t as simple as riding a bike.
So, if you want to know how to find love and start dating after divorce, here are 5 things you need to do first.
1. Do an image inventory and begin your path towards self-improvement
People have a tendency to judge a book by its cover and while you may want someone to love you for you, it starts with them thinking to themselves "Hmmm, do I want to see you naked one day?"
Crass, I know, but the attraction is determined within the first 30 seconds of meeting you and even sooner if it’s just based on a photo.
While self-love and healing are imperative internal investments, don’t overlook the value of external investments as well.
A shortage of time due to career, raising children, or life’s inevitable sad lemons, may have taken priority over the time you dedicated to your appearance.
After the tears and emotional healing that your therapists, friends, and family saw you through, it's safe to say you earned a fresh makeover.
Yes, you have to dedicate some time to improving the aesthetic you more than likely neglected once you were in a comfortable relationship.
Your prospects do not love you unconditionally yet, therefore your presentation makes a huge impression in the initial dating process.
Studies show that there is a correlation between your appearance and your behavior so it makes sense that snagging a mate is one part physical attraction and one part attitude.
A confident attitude will support you in your ability to persuade, your willingness to take chances, ability to stand out, develop high self-esteem, and ultimately persevere in the face of rejection.
Remember: Celebrating your looks is a part of the healing process. Looking good is an act of self-love.
Do not be discouraged if you aren’t booking any magazine covers anytime soon. What matters most is that you step up to bat feeling good about yourself.
One of my male clients worked diligently with me to improve his confidence and charisma but it wasn't until we made his look reflect his personae that I was able to set him up on the dates with women he was mutually attracted too.
My team and I updated his wardrobe with clothes more flattering for his body type, age-appropriate looks for date night, plus a hair cut and fragrance that matched his ph balance.
Of course, he was hesitant about manscaping or brightening his teeth, but it proved worth it. For the first time in a long time, he took pride in turning heads.
Have you invested maintenance into the things that are within your control?
If your weight, hair, skin, wardrobe, and hygiene has suffered over the years, don’t hesitate to hit the gym or laser.
If you aren’t 100 percent confident with how you are stepping out, then there may be areas that could use a little TLC.
Don’t worry it isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg to bring your sexy back, however it will cost you a lot of dates if you don’t try.
2. Learn how to use digital dating to increase your connections
In the days of Netflix, Keurigs, and Amazon Fresh, staying at home is easier than ever, so meeting in person at a coffee shop or at a grocery store might not be the easiest place for a love connection.
Nearly 19 percent of relationships started off with an online or dating app connection.
Take advantage of the ease and access that technology allows for and find the dating platform that is right for you.
Next, create a well-rounded profile that has an interesting bio with flattering, clear photos.
If you've already done the first tip above, you should be ready for snapping about five current photos of yourself.
Group photos, children, outdated, or blurry photos should always be avoided.
Once your profile is complete remember that these dating tools only work if you do. You have to swipe and message back in order to connect.
If online dating doesn’t excite you, have a balance of going online at least 30 minutes a day to communicate and then once a week to a social event to meet people in person.
Using technology and organic encounters only increase your odds of meeting someone.
3. Practice with a mirror explaining why you are newly single
Everyone wants to know why the great catch sitting in front of them isn’t scooped up.
Did someone cheat, lie, mismanage money, become wrapped up in the kids, or grow bored?
These are all the questions racing through your date's mind and they are judging you based on your response.
If you give an answer that sounds heartbroken, angry, or blameful, it immediately gives the impression that you aren’t over your ex.
Rehearse in the mirror a mature response that demonstrates a respectful and positive outlook on life lessons.
Happy people are found to be more desirable, healthier and attractive, so don’t underestimate the power of joy or your ability to affect someone else’s emotions.
4. Create a dating calendar
This is to help you balance your professional, personal, and romantic needs.
Pace yourself, dating isn't a marathon. You may have more free time on your hands now that you aren’t responsible for a spouse anymore.
You may be inclined to fill up your time with dating.
Let’s face it, there is a whole world of fresh faces and personalities waiting for you to explore.
It is far more advantageous for you to handle this new-found freedom with a balance between personal, professional, and romantic time.
Once a week, do something for self-care, a hobby or passion project.
One day deserves a networking mixer and another day treat yourself to date or going out with friends.
It’s important to have balance so that you don’t burn yourself out.
You also want to avoid the temptation to jump back into a relationship too quickly.
You grew accustomed to having companionship whether you liked your ex or not.
Hopping in the sack with someone may seem like a fun idea but be careful to avoid creating a false sense of attachment based on sex.
This happens as a result of elevated oxytocin levels for men and a woman after an orgasm.
Oxytocin makes you feel bonded and the perceived intimacy may potentially prevent you from pursuing more compatible mates.
Let's not forget the fact that most married couples don’t use protection.
If you are someone who isn’t used to using contraceptives, reincorporating them back into your love life to avoid passing around STD’s may require some getting used to.
In addition, The Fair Parenting Project, recommends that you get tested before you start dating someone again.
Know where you stand and protect the health of any new partners as well.
Be informed and feel empowered to have a discussion on sex and ask about their last test results.
5. Be transparent with your ex-spouse, even if it hurts them
Divorce is said to evoke seven stages of grief — denial, pain and fear, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression, and acceptance.
Be mindful that while you may be experiencing acceptance and feel ready to date again, your ex may be in a different stage of the grieving process.
Be respectful of their progression and avoid surprising them with a new companion.
Remove the secrecy or stress from your new dating experiences by being honest and communicating that you are dating other people.
The last thing you want to do is lie to avoid confrontation or protect their feelings only to end up creating one more thing for your ex to forgive.
Your transparency may provide them with the closure they need or even motivate them to move on and date as well.
If you tend to be a creature of habit, take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to explore new date spots, activities or even vacation destinations that are memory free of your ex.
Neither of you wants to cross paths at your favorite restaurant or bear witness to the courtship process of a new lover.
Another way to avoid drama with your ex is practicing the "Meet The Kids Challenge."
If you and your ex have children together, come up with an agreed upon game plan for when and how new partners are introduced to the kids.
In order to exercise patience, a good rule of thumb to follow is if you aren’t comfortable introducing your new partner to your ex-spouse, you shouldn’t be comfortable introducing your new partner to your children.
Adolescents are very impressionable and your ex-spouse has a right to know just like you do, who else is influencing their upbringing.
You of anyone should understand the way in which our relationships with others shape us.
It takes patience, courage, and a positive mindset to begin your journey to dating again.
Be kind to yourself throughout the process.
Feel empowered by knowing you’re not alone on this path to new love and there are many divorcees just like you trying to figure out how to start over.
Creating connections with others out of thin air doesn’t have to be a painful process.
Allow past breakups to be breakthroughs, and life’s setbacks to ignite comebacks!
Spicy Mari, M.A. is a relationship expert, coach, matchmaker and founder of The Spicy Life Relationship Consulting Firm. She teaches women and men who are feeling dissatisfied with their love lives, strategic skills to improve their confidence and dating success. Get started on your transformation today by scheduling a free 30-minute consultation or attending one of her workshops.
This article was originally published at The Spicy Life. Reprinted with permission from the author.