6 Things You Must Do After Divorce to Make Dating Again a Success
The post-divorce period is actually a perfect opportunity to regroup, reinvent yourself and get grounded. Here’s how to do it right.
A few things that are commonly done after a divorce:
1) Fantasizing about running your ex over with a car
2) Sitting in bed eating cookie dough
3) Buying age-inappropriate clothes that you can’t afford
4) Going on any date you can get your hands on
5) Yakking on and on about your problems to anyone who will listen
The trouble is, in the moment these activities might seem fun, but they only perpetuate your pain and prolong your healing process, not to mention increase your dress size. The post-divorce period, if managed correctly, is actually a perfect opportunity to regroup, reinvent yourself and get grounded.
Six things to do before you date:
1) Clean Out Your Closets (literally and metaphorically)
In any significant relationship you collect a lot of “stuff.” There are physical mementos, photos, clothes and furniture of varying degrees of value. This is a perfect time to figure out the things you’d like to leave behind and the things you’d like to take with you. It’s not a time to be nostalgic or attached. Go through your “stuff” and see what will really serve you in the next stage of your life. When in doubt, throw it out!
2) Money Matters: Understand and Organize Your Finances
Consider the classic joke: how can I be out of money when I still have more checks? Money is one of the most misunderstood issues out there. After you split, your assets split but you now hold all of the responsibility for managing your own finances. You may have been the one in your marriage who kept the books and filed the taxes or you may have avoided looking at a bank statement ever since you said, “I do.” Regardless, now is the time when it’s imperative for you to face any fears and understand every detail of your debits and credits.
3) Let’s Get Physical
We aren’t talking about the song by Olivia Newton John. Nor are we suggesting that you jump into bed with the first boy-toy that shows up. What we mean is that you need to take care of your body. This means getting a physical from a doctor or dentist so you’re up to date with things like pap smears and mammograms and oral hygiene. Not to mention every day exercising and eating well. When you feel good, everything else is easier. You’ve got a lot on your shoulders and you need those shoulders to be strong.
4) All Systems Go
Your family has gone through a lot of change. That can make everyone anxious. Even the guinea pig and puppy. The best way to transition smoothly to a new lifestyle is to build in routines that can be depended upon. Have predictable visitation schedules. Continue to have family dinners. Create special bedtime rituals. When the mechanics of your new home and life are running well, there’ll be more time for play.
5) Spend Quality Time with Your Kids
When you’re on your own, it can be easy to get caught up in the details of handling everything and lose sight of the big picture. There might be so much more to manage, but give yourself permission to goof off. Put down the laundry and play a game of Guitar Hero. Paint your daughter’s nails. Just sit and watch a DVD. Your kids will remember these things more than any clean shirt.
6) You Get By With a Little Help from Your Friends
In the movie About a Boy, Marcus, the boy, convinces Hugh Grant’s character, Will, to stray away from living his life like an island by telling him, “You need backup.” One of the fallouts of divorce is that friendships can shift and change. Who is your backup going to be? Who makes you laugh? Who makes you feel like your best self? Who’s really in your corner?
As you take that cautious step back into the world of dating, you want it to be your most confident and alluring step. You don’t necessarily need to follow Elizabeth Gilbert’s lead in Eat, Pray, Love and travel the world for a year. One thing she did grasp is that there needs to be a pause before beginning again. Feel your feelings. Mourn what you lost. Get yourself on solid ground by taking these six steps and you’ll be ready to make a clear-headed choice about your future.