Finding New Love After Divorce

Relationship Rules
03 Apr 2024
10 min read
Finding Love After Divorce: How to Get Back to Dating?

“Divorce is like a death.” It’s a common phrase. No matter what the reasons and no matter whether the marriage lasted two or 25 years, most people went into their marriages with dreams and expectations for a great future. With divorce, all of that dies. That’s why finding love after divorce is so hard.

But it’s possible. Let us show you how.

What Dies With Divorce?

“Divorce has many witnesses, many victims…each divorce is the death of a small civilization.”

Pat Conroy, author of “Anatomy of a Divorce

Divorce brings lots of challenges and lots of stuff. Think about it. In addition to the two partners actually divorcing, there can be children, other family members, mutual friends, and even professional colleagues – all wondering what their position is and should be and what their new relationship with each of you will be in the future. With your marriage, your old system of connections dies.

Things can be much easier if each partner works on getting rid of their emotional baggage and moving on. But this is not easy – you need to pass five stages of grief before getting back to dating, and we are here to show what it means to divorce.

Related reading: Divorced and Ready to Date? Wait a Minute!

5 Stages of Grief for Divorce

While you may feel relief or even happiness once a divorce is final, there will be emotional baggage you don’t realize you have. And you have to shed that baggage before you can consider the new possibilities of another relationship, going though these stages.

1. Denial

If the divorce was painful (or even embarrassing), you might not want to reveal it to people around you – the clerk at the grocery store, the pharmacist, the colleague. You’re pretending to be still married, and you need to move beyond this.

Some people may stay at this stage for years, avoiding dating and finding new happiness in love.

2. Anger

If your ex betrayed you, you become angry for every wrong you have suffered. And even though that anger may gradually fade, it can pop up at strange times. Someone’s voice or laugh sounds like your ex’s, for example.

At this stage, don’t displace your anger onto others. Ultimately, your goal should be to let your anger go.

Bargaining is one of the stages you should pass to find new love after divorce

3. Bargaining

In divorce, bargaining with yourself is a series of “what ifs” and “I should have.” The divorce is over—it’s one of your past experiences now. Ruminating on all of this is unproductive, to say the least.

When you can stop finding excuses and seeking someone to blame in your divorce, congratulations—you’ve conquered this stage.

4. Depression

Depression can come in waves, and there’s no timeline for conquest:

  • You recall wonderful times you had during the holidays
  • You attend a wedding of mutual friends
  • You send your kids for an annual vacation with your ex’s family that you used to go on.

Once these depressive states become less frequent, that means you are moving through.

5. Acceptance

Once you can talk about your first marriage and your divorce without the above-mentioned emotions, you are through these stages.

So, are you ready to consider a new relationship? Not so fast. You still have work to do, and it’s about taking enough time to rise like a phoenix.

Related reading: Is Finding Love Enough for Happiness?

After 5 stages of grief after divorce, you need quality time to heal from past worry and pain

3 Ways to Use Divorce as Time for Rediscovering Yourself

Even though you are over the divorce and your ex, your journey to a new relationship and love may not be ready to take if you didn’t think about who you were during your marriage. What compromises and sacrifices did you make?

Perhaps you gave up some hobbies and interests, some social time with friends, to focus more on the responsibilities of marriage and kids. Maybe you turned down a promotion that involved a move so your family wouldn’t be uprooted.

Now you are free from those things and have time to explore who you are and who you may want to become. Even if there are kids involved, joint custody gives you more alone time to spend on your own personal development.

So, how do you reclaim and embrace the real you once you’ve reached acceptance of the divorce?

Related reading: How To Maintain Your Individuality While In a Relationship

1. Spend Time in Analysis

Be totally honest with yourself. Now that the initial emotions are gone, you can be much more objective:

  • What part might you have played in what happened?
  • What went wrong in your former married life?
  • What fault belongs on your doorstep?

There will be things that you will want to avoid when you do hook up with a potential new partner. Remember, no one is a perfect partner, and you were not either. Take an objective, long, hard look at the past and how you ended up divorced.

In the end, the goal is to forgive yourself and your former spouse and decide not to fall into your former behaviors.

2. Figure Out Who You Want to Be Now

You probably lost part of yourself when you were married. Don’t be so hard on yourself—everyone does. But now, it’s time to start a journey based on just you:

  • What have you always had an interest in but have never pursued?
  • Re-connect with those you used to socialize and have fun with. Your new life has time for them now, and their worlds will open up new horizons in your life.
  • Get out of your comfort zone and try new things.

Maybe you decide it’s time for going back to school for a degree in a totally new field, joining a friend for some travel, finding a new hobby or getting involved in a cause that you’ve always held dear. Let yourself follow your dreams.

Remember: the idea is to discover new things, find happiness with yourself, and become totally comfortable in your own skin. You’ll be a much better partner in a new dating relationship.

3. Think About Your Ideal Partner

Now that you have “upgraded” yourself, what would a now husband be like? Think about this and make a list of the most important qualities you want. If you think about this in advance, you’ll be ahead of the game for this new life pursuit of finding love.

How to Find Love After Divorce: 6 Strategies to Get Back to Dating

Before you launch into your journey of finding love after divorce, check out these simple strategies and tips on how and where to meet potential romantic partners. This is the first part of your present journey, and there are many ways to meet someone special. Don’t overlook any possibility.

1. Check Out All Local Places

There may be available dates where you least expect to find them. Explore all local places.

  • Join community organizations and attend their events
  • Take a class or two at your local community college
  • If they are in your area, participate in meetups for single and divorced people

Research all that is happening in your local area and get out there. That great man or woman might just be waiting to meet you.

2. Use Dating Apps

Online dating has become the answer for many divorced singles who seek new relationships. In fact, over 30% of American adults have or are currently using online dating as a source for new relationships.

Join a couple, create a great profile, add some action photos, state what you are looking for, and let the system do its work to present you with some great matches.

On dating apps, you can get to know those matches through messaging, video chats, and more. You can tell each other your story, check out their feelings about the important things that matter to you, and only choose to finally date in person once you have little-to-no doubt about compatibility.

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3. Get Ready to Nail That First Date

This will be the most awkward on your dating path. You will wonder what you should be talking about, how much of your lives you should reveal to each other, and more.

Three things to keep in mind. Be totally honest, reveal that you have children if you do, and make the night more about them than you. Ask questions that let them talk and be a good listener.

Embrace the fact that you will be nervous. There are plenty more dates and chances to find love than this first outing.

Related reading: Top First Date Tips to Get a Second Date

4. Take It Slow

Note that you will not find your forever happiness and marriage right away. That usually happens in books and movies. Use your common sense here. Even if sparks are flying with someone you have dated only a few times, give it some time until you know more about each other.

5. Listen to Your Inner Voice

As you date, you’ll probably have gut feelings. Listen to them. If anything seems “off,” be careful and consider not moving forward with more dates. And if it is a first date, take precautions. Arrange your own transportation, meet up only in a public place, and make sure someone you trust knows where you are going.

6. Think About Your Kids

It’s easy to feel guilty at first when you tell your kids you are dating. After all they have to heal from a divorce, and they have loyalty to your ex too. This new person in their life is a stranger and maybe even competition. You will need to create an environment of openness with them, ensuring them that you have no intention of replacing their other parent, even if a relationship moves toward marriage.

Introducing your children to a new person in your life takes delicacy and tact. If you are concerned, check in with a dating coach. There are plenty online. Don’t just hope for the best.

Related reading: Moving Forward: Your Guide on How to Stop Loving Someone

Love After Divorce

Can you find love following a divorce? The short answer is yes, absolutely. The longer answer is that finding love will only be successful if you prepare yourself for it. This means you will fully heal from your divorce, work on yourself andwant to be, and become who you  use the right strategies when you do start to date.

Love&Sex Expert
Cherie Hamilton
I’ve always been inspired by women who are outgoing, very sure of themselves, and not afraid to be who they were, including their sex lives. Under their tutelage, I gradually shed my old self, hung out and socialized with them, and, over time, became the empowered, self-confident, and sexual woman I am today. Happy to share my insights with other women today!
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