If you're tired of hearing that dating again is just "putting yourself out there" and that "the right one will eventually come around" advice from some dating expert in Wyoming, then you've come to the right place. Because dating after a divorce is a dumpster fire and we need to talk about it.
I don't want to download another app made by some beanie-wearing tech guru in Calfornia that I have to swipe through on a hundred people from my high school days. If you're equally fed up, well, come hither because it's time to commiserate about dating again after a big split.
You're Constantly Taking MILF/DILF Quizzes
Whether or not you're a parent, you're going to get the comparison all the time after you've had a divorce. Even worse, you're going to be weirdly fixating on this new hip thing and taking every internet quiz out there to determine if you are a) a milf/dilf and b) if that's something you should put in your dating profile.
I'll save you some time—you're a milf/dilf and you should definitely omit that info. Unless you're looking for that kind of a connection... we don't judge.
You Literally Don't Feel Like Beating Around The Bush Anymore
I know they say don't ask big questions on the first date, but come on, that kind of patience is for someone who hasn't already run the gauntlet and been asked awkwardly "what's your favorite color" a hundred times.
Dating after divorce means you jump right into politics and the "kids?" question before they've even blown the steam off their latte foam. Bonus points if you've asked them about their credit score before you guy's even got to the coffee shop.
Your Married Friends Are No Help At All
Yeah, okay Stephanie, thanks for the advice that I should get highlights and change my AOL messenger status to "single <3" to intrigue the person I'm flirting with (is that thing even around anymore?), but I don't know how that's going to help me land a significant other.
You're going to find that the friends you've made over the years who're still happily married have zero-freaking-clue how to date anymore so you're just going to have to punt their weird early-2000s era dating advice in the trash.
A Part Of You Dies When You Ask Your Single Coworker To Review Your Profile
Putting your best foot forward means crafting an online dating profile that doesn't suck, but guess what? You probably are trash at it and you've got to chalk that up to inexperience and accept it.
So what do we do? Mosey on over to Jacob the receptionist and suck up your pride and ask him if your POF profile is okay. It hurts so bad that you're definitely going to repress this later, but as long as you get a good date it's all going to be worth it. It had better... for Jacob's sake.
It's Going To Hurt Like A Mother
Divorces hurt a lot. Fullstop. They say it takes half the amount of time you were together to get over a breakup with someone, so imagine being married for 10 years? That's five whole years you're holding yourself together and powering through like the bad mofo you are. But it still hurts.
So don't expect dating to feel good or easy at the start, because it really freaking won't. Let yourself feel things and know that it's okay to cancel a date if you're feeling like a steaming plate of garbage about the whole thing.
The Best Way To Get Over Something Is To Get Under Something
I mean, you've been seeing the same person for a while. Experiencing the same... package for a while. There's no better time like the present than to sow your wild oats, if you will, and bring a nail file to start notching some bedposts.
It's common, it's normal, and it's to be expected that after a divorce you want to get a little freaky. Just lean in and enjoy it because this is your time to shine and strip.
Watch A Season Or Two Of MTV's Catfish
I hate to be the person to tell you this—but you're a catch, honey. Divorcees are a hot commodity because we're usually a) successful b) stable c) and obviously willing to get married since we've already done that. But what makes us so great also makes us targets of scams.
Tons of scammers nowadays will try and target divorcees for the qualities that make them amazing and try and exploit them. So not only do you have to watch out for garbage people who won't call you back, but you also have to watch for people who are after your cash. Luckily, MTV's Catfish basically gives us a rule book on how to watch for people faking their identities.
There's A Maturity Level That's Missing From 32yo Cinncinnati Brad Who's Never Been Married
Being married makes you grow up a lot—mostly because you feel obligated or whatever to make sure they're okay. But it also ruins every other person for you who's never been married.
You can see that they're a functioning person, at least they're trying to be, but you always wonder if you two could ever make it work. Mostly because you're a grown adult who needs their Tempur Pedic mattress to get a full six hours (it's not eight anymore) while they're fine to sleep on a single bed they've had since college. Just don't focus on it.
You're Going To See Your Ex Again—It's Inevitable
When you're dating trash in your 20s, the only thing you have to worry about is running into your ex at a bar—which you can avoid by just not making eye contact. But when you're a divorcee you know you're going to see your ex again, and it's unavoidable, so you have to suck it up.
Whether it's arranged child custody meetings, moving from the house, a drunken knock on your door at midnight, or at your lawyer's office filing papers, you've got to accept you're seeing them again. So just look really hot.
Support Groups Suck A Giant Toe (But They Help)
The last place you want to be on a Saturday night is sitting in a room or a Facebook group chat moaning and groaning with all the divorcees about how rough it is out there when you could be shoveling Ben & Jerry's into your face and watching Survivor.
But guess what? Talking to people with similar problems actually helps you deal with yours. So it sucks, but we're all dragging ourselves to a church basement once a week to do it.
You Know Your Therapist Is Going To Make You Unpack Everything
The minute you told her you were "thinking" about putting yourself back on the market you saw the glint in her eye as she made a mental note to bring this up with you at every session you're about to have. And baby, you're going to have to talk about it.
Who knew dating again would mean *shiver* understanding your feelings, mindset, and personal traumas associated with the whole endeavor. Even though it's uncomfortable, you really, really gotta do it.
Your Expectations Are High. Like Bill Gates High.
The best part about being married is, drumroll, you're richer. Even if most of your ex's qualities sucked the farts out of the donkey, at least they were probably (hopefully) financially stable and doing well. That meant you guys could do nice adult things like eating at a place with "$$$" in its description on Google maps.
But being back in the dating game, you're going to find that not every person might not be as financially stable as you're used to. And having to choose a pizza place based on a Thursday night deal they have for a date is, quite frankly, a "been there done that" annoyance.
The Opinions Of Your Parents? Do They Matter? Depends On How You're Feeling That Day
Parents can be a source of support, don't get me wrong, but sometimes they have some slightly different ideas about marriage than we do. Like only having one, waiting to fornicate, or just not getting divorced at all. Sooo.....
It sucks, but telling your parents the ins-and-outs of your new dating life might either be a good idea or a bad idea, and you're going to have to grow a thick skin before doing it. Maybe omit the dark and grimy stuff you've been getting into.
It's Exhausting Always Having Your Defenses Up
Listen, you've done this whole thing before a while ago and have kissed the frogs until you ended up with a slightly more tolerable frog (who turned out like a toad, but that's beside the point). So you're naturally a little mistrusting of the people you're meeting out in the swamp.
It can be hard not letting that one lemon ruin the rest of your dating experiences for you, but it's a battle we've got to keep fighting. At least until they show you their collection of human hair—that's a real red flag and you should run. Please run.
You Have To Wait For-Freaking-Ever For The Papers To Be Finalized
As much as you want to go rogue and fly off into the desert visiting every honky-tonk in your path to find your cowboy-boots wearing rebound, it's a piss-poor idea.
There's no bigger buzzkill, but you need to wait until your divorce papers are finalized—and it's not an instant thing at all. The whole process can take roughly two months to a year, depending on how annoying everyone (that one person) is being about it. So save the Vegas trip and the Plenty of Fish download until after.
You Always Kinda Want To Tell People You're An Ex-Professional Skydiver. Just A Little Bit.
Divorce is nothing to be embarrassed about since literally half of couples end up doing it, but it also comes with the knowledge that there can be a stigma attached to it. Which is stupid by the way. Did I mention it's stupid? Because it's stupid.
So it can feel like you should tell a lie to fluff your past up a bit to fill a relationship gap, but you honestly shouldn't. Be honest about your divorce because if they're prejudiced against that fact, they weren't the right one anyway.
Don't Like, Get Married A Week Later. Even Though It Sounds Fun Right Now
Rebounding is good. Posting a couple of casual date-night-out photos to Facebook to show off your new boo (and rub it in your ex's face) is very good. But getting married right after your divorce is seriously tempting and seriously a bad idea.
Don't fill a void by rushing into another marriage even though you're so used to marriage. That's a recipe for disaster, and besides, you can better invest your money in a trip to Cabo. Just saying.
Your Kids May Hate Every Partner You Bring Home
If you had kids with your ex, they might be a bit partial to mom or dad who's not there anymore, which is totally fine because while your relationship with them didn't work out, theirs might have been fine.
So don't expect a round of applause in the living room when you pull up with the accounting firm hunk you've been seeing. Just give it time and your kids will get used to the idea of you dating. There will just be some major angst about it, dear God will there ever be.
Take Off The Rose-Colored Glasses For A Sec And See That He's A Liar With A Monster Truck Problem
Hopping back into the dating game can either mean you hate literally everyone you meet or you love everyone you meet—there's very rarely an in-between. Both are equally as bad, but only one of them will have you sitting across from a man at a BBQ place who has sauce all over his shirt and asks you what your favorite kind of boots are.
So just remember before rushing into anything and saying "Sorrells" that you're at least considering the possibility they might not be all that great. Just saying.
Learn From Your Mistake(s)
There was a reason your marriage didn't work out. Maybe it was your job, your differing lifestyles, or maybe your partner was a total POS—there are plenty of options to choose from. But you should use that experience to not repeat the same mistakes.
Make a list of all the garbage stuff about them and, now this is really novel, try and find a partner who doesn't have those qualities. "Bad lover" should definitely be high up there on the no-fly-zone list because life is too short.
Keep Your Loved Ones In The Loop
When you're going through the motions of a divorce and getting back into the dating world, you have to keep people in your life in the loop. Maybe it's for your sanity, but it's probably mostly because you're going to have some juicy stories, and the people in your life deserve to hear about them.
It's Time To Admit That Chemistry Doesn't Always Mean Long-Term Relationships
Now that you've been through it (and then some), it's time that we admit that having crazy chemistry does not a great relationship make. Chemistry is going to wear off, and it's going to stop you from getting to know anything real about the other person you're supposed to be dating, not just banging.
Before You Seriously Date, Make Sure You're Over Your Ex
Before you bring someone else into your life in a serious way, check in with yourself to make sure that you are well and truly over your ex. They will probably always have a place in your heart and your life, especially if you have kids, but those romantic feelings of wanting to be with them should be gone before dating someone else.
Taking It Slow Is The Name Of The Game
You don't want to rush into the next relationship too quickly because it might stop you from healing properly from your last one. That, and it's safe to say at this point you might have a little more to lose or gain than before. When we get older and have more going on in our lives, dating becomes tougher.
You Should Know By Now If He Seems Perfect, Run For The Hills
It's time that we admit that someone being perfect isn't a real thing, and if they seem perfect, then they are faking it, big time. No one is perfect. We all have flaws, and the more someone is willing to own theirs, the more honest they are, and also the more likely to make a good partner.
Make Some Goals For Yourself, Relationship Or Otherwise
Think about what went wrong in your last relationship and what you want to change about your life from "before." Make a list either mentally or in a notebook about the things that you need from your next relationship and what you want to do with your life going forward. You don't have to have all the answers, but some ideas would help.
Forget About Having A "Type"
Look, your "type" didn't really work out for you before, so it might be time to consider dating outside of it. When you narrow yourself down to a small group of people that are more or less the same, you're probably going to repeat some of the same mistakes. Be open to new people and new opportunities.
Absolutely Invest In Some Therapy
Before you even think about getting on a dating app or trying to get intimate with a new person, you should probably invest in some therapy. You might think that you're fine, and maybe you are, but having a removed outside look on your life will do you a world of good.
If You Have Kids, Be Upfront About It
Just like you're going to be upfront with your kids about the people you're dating, be upfront with the people you're dating about your kids. You need to know if they're going to be a good and healthy addition to your family's life before things get too serious.
Always Listen To Your Instincts
More than anything else, you have to tune in to those instincts, they're not going to let you down when it comes to making the right decisions for you and your family.