Dating After Divorce: When Are You Ready?

I wish I could devise a formula that would tell you when you are ready to date again:

(Length of marriage)(# of months since the end of the marriage*) + (# of crying sessions)(# of explicatives used to describe the ex)

   (# of therapy** hours)

If this number <1, keep working on yourself; you are not yet ready to date

If this number >1, join asap

*This can be the date of separation, divorce, or when the spouse using the formula realized the marriage was over

** Therapy is defined loosely here.  It can be traditional therapy as well as meditation, journaling, exercise, etc.  Anything that is used to help the mind move forward from the trauma is therapeutic.

Unfortunately, no such formula exists.  The “right” time to date is different for every person and every situation.  What seems too soon to some, is on time for another.  You are ready when you feel you are ready, not when X months have passed or Y tears shed.  Try to listen to yourself without passing judgement.  I knew I was ready to date when all of a sudden, I began to notice there were men around me at the gym.  Men!  I had turned a blind eye to all but my husband for 16 years, and now I was suddenly aware of the other gender.  I felt like a 14 year old at the mall, amazed at all the possibilities.  Luckily, before I threw myself into the mix with wild abandon, I took some time to reflect.  I knew that I was ready in some ways to begin dating, but I had to look further to see if I was truly prepared.

Please, take what I have to say with a grain of salt.  I am by no means an expert on dating.  I met my husband when I was 16, so I did not partake in much dating beyond him prior to that.  After the end of my marriage, I actively (very actively!  For a three month period, dubbed Match Madness, I averaged 8 dates a week.) dated for about 8 months before I met the man I have been in a relationship with for the last two years.  Even though my experience is limited, I went into my post-marriage dating very consciously, which led to some lessons to share.

Initially, I believed the conventional wisdom that you need to be fully healed in order to date.  Uhmm…how many adults walking around today are fully healed?  Have no relationship wounds?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  If I had continued to believe that advice, I would still be waiting for my first date.  Here’s what I realized is important:

1) You have to want to be healed.

2) You have to be actively moving forward on your healing process.

3) You need to be able to accept responsibility for your actions and your happiness.

4) You should be at a point where the good (or even okay) days outweigh the bad.

Once you have reached that point AND you find you have the interest, it’s time to tiptoe (or leap if that’s your style!) your way (back) into the dating world.

In future posts, I will address how to get back into dating again, tips for the recently divorced on a date, my dating ten commandments, and how to avoid the same patterns that ruined the marriage.

Thank you for sharing!

13 thoughts on “Dating After Divorce: When Are You Ready?

  1. You’re ready to date right when you’re having the most fun in the world being single.

    1. Christian marriage coeilusnng, I believe, has greater potential as an active ingredient in the healing process than any other type of therapy. Why? Because marriage between a man and woman is God’s plan so it only stands to reason that the repair procedures for an unhealthy marriage could be found in His word.My wife and I went through Christian marriage coeilusnng provided a trained, licensed, minister of the faith who was exceptionally gifted in using the Word of God to help couples in the reconciliation process. These are important credentials in choosing a counselor. What makes Christian marriage coeilusnng effective is the willingness of the couple to truly uncover, forgive, and die-to-self. It has to be understood that none of these things are within our human ability to accomplish alone. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to facilitate the type of radical change that must take place in one’s heart, deep down inside, in order for real change to take place. You’ll know it is happening when your focus is less on what your mate is doing than what you are doing in and with your relationship with God.Fifteen years later, my wife and I are stronger than ever. Has the road been free of bumps? No. But I have heard it said that if the mountain were as smooth as glass, you wouldn’t be able to climb it. We are still living in and by what we learned in Christian marriage coeilusnng. Our marriage is not about determination and resolve to make it work; its about the freedom to love one another and let the other be who they are with full faith and confidence that what holds us together is not our resolve, but trust and assurance in Jesus Christ that He is able to sustain us through any storm that might come our way.

    1. It can be hard, especially when you don’t find that intimacy with someone new because it takes time. Be aware of when you’re comparing or missing and work to train your brain not to follow that path. This can be a time to remind yourself of what you don’t miss and/or why you’re in a better place now. There will always be certain aspects of your ex that you prefer to anyone new, but focus on the big picture rather than those nuances. Hope that helps!

  2. I agree, I wish there was a magical formula. Believe it or not, I get asked this same question by the dads I talk with. I think what is said is good. For the dads I simplify it a bit more: 1) When you feel comfortable in your own skin, and new living arrangements; 2) When you can talk to others for an entire day without bring up or referring to your Ex; 3) When your really close friends (not the ones trying to set you up), say I think you are ready.

    Too many dads try to rush the process and don’t take time to adapt to change. Hope this helps–at least from the male perspective. *hehe*

  3. JoAnna – On the East Coast of the USA – An open minded, tree-hugging Jesus follower, former counselor, and life-long lover of animals, I'm returning to my creative roots and have published my first book: Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again as well as the short version: From Loneliness to Love.
    JoAnna says:

    I completed a divorce care support group and had some therapy, and journaled, so I thought I was ready. I had no idea how vulnerable I still was and leapt into the rebound from hell with someone who was the total opposite of my ex. At least I learned a lot. If I had it to do over again, I’d make a firm list of non-negotiables for a dating prospect and for a relationship. I wish I’d tiptoed.

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