Jumping back in the dating pool after a divorce can be scary. If you were married a long time it may have been decades since you’ve been on a date.
First, it’s best to not start dating, or at least bringing dates home, while you’re still in the process of a divorce settlement. You don’t want to give your exes lawyer any ammunition in a custody battle.
Second, don’t start dating only because you feel you need someone in your life to prove your worth. This is the time to realize that your self-worth comes from you and no one else.
There will come a time when you feel you’re emotionally ready to start dating. What then?
The dating scene has changed over the years with online dating becoming a normal and respectable way to meet potential partners.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to completely ignore meeting that perfect someone the old-fashioned way. Houses of worship often have groups of older singles that can provide social interaction. These can be fun even if you don’t find someone to date. Taking classes can also open up doors to meeting men who share similar interests.
These options are often limited, though. By going online you open the door to whole new world of possibilities. Your options are no longer limited to men you might meet in your day to day world.
You can specify the age and location of the men you want to meet. You can spend time talking with them online or on the phone and get to know them somewhat before you meet.
There are dating sites for older singles, Christian singles, Jewish singles, atheist singles, singles with young children, as well as the huge sites such as Plenty of Fish, eHarmony, and match.com.
Some are free to sign up with but most require you to upgrade to a paid membership to talk with other singles. Don’t go wild and spend hundreds of dollars signing up at multiple sites until you see if you even enjoy meeting people this way.
There are a LOT of people on these sites, and not all of them are, shall we say….telling the truth about what they look like, or even their marital status.
According to the FBI, here are some of the top scams:
Your online “date” may only be interested in your money if he or she:
- Presses you to leave the dating website you met through and to communicate using personal e-mail or instant messaging;
- Professes instant feelings of love;
- Sends you a photograph of himself or herself that looks like something from a glamour magazine;
- Claims to be from the U.S. and is traveling or working overseas;
- Makes plans to visit you but is then unable to do so because of a tragic event; or
- Asks for money for a variety of reasons (travel, medical emergencies, hotel bills, hospitals bills for child or other relative, visas or other official documents, losses from a financial setback or crime victimization).
Because of this, you do need to use some common sense and caution before you meet anyone in person that you’ve met online. Always spend some time talking to them on the dating site, or site chat or even better on Skype. Don’t share your email address, and consider getting something called a google voice number. It’s a number that forwards to your phone and your caller has to announce themselves before you agree to talk to them. You can find out more about a google voice number here: https://www.google.com/voice
Don’t become a victim of this kind of con game. They often come up with wild stories, offer to pay you back with a very high rate of interest, the scams just keep coming.
Don’t show your wealth in any photos in your profile. You become a target for some.
When you do decide to meet someone follow these rules:
Always meet in a public place. Do not give them your address or meet at your house or theirs.
Let your friends know where you’ll be and when you’ll be there. You may want to set up a time for them to text you just to make sure you’re all right. If you don’t answer they’ll know something is wrong.
This could be a serious problem or simply a “this isn’t going well get me out of here” situation. Your friend should know that if you don’t answer their text then they should call you. I’m not suggesting you sit at the dinner table texting. Simply excuse yourself to go to the ladies room to let your friend know you’re safe and having a good time. Or to call and save you from what is turning into the date from hell.
When you answer your phone simply say that an emergency has arisen and you must go. If you feel uncomfortable or in danger in any way this is not the time to worry about being polite. Get away.
Now that we’ve covered safety measures let’s move on.
Setting up your online profile:
You want to use a flattering, but not fake, photo. In other words, everyone wants to be seen in their best light at their best angles. But don’t use a photo that’s ten years old or that was taken at a glamour session. Show how you look in everyday life… but at your best.
Write a detailed profile that focuses on what you enjoy doing and your interests. Be original. Don’t just write that you enjoy walks on the beach or watching the sunset. You probably do; but so does everyone else who has ever written a dating profile. Find ways to let your personality and sense of humor show through. If you’re serious, then be serious. If you’re silly, be silly.
BE SPECIFIC! If you like comedy movies, say so, let your profile reader know what you LIKE and you will attract those that like what you like. If you like Italian food, say so, if you like dogs, say so! You want someone that likes the things you do, and will resonate with your lifestyle. You will attract those that relate to you and your likes, so put your REAL self out there! If a profile showing your true personality doesn’t attract some people, then they probably aren’t someone you want to date.
Don’t sound desperate. Let them know you’re looking for someone who’s company you enjoy that might eventually turn into something more. But don’t sound like you’re husband hunting from date one.
Decide what age profiles you want to see including both younger and older.
Think hard about long term relationships. It might be great fun to chat with someone in Greece; but if you decide you want to meet you’re going to have some expensive dates. This can even be true of someone a few states away. Do you want to spend every weekend commuting? Do you have the resources for endless airfares? If the relationship works out are you willing to pack up and move? All of these are better decided before you get emotionally attached to someone.
Don’t take things too personally. Online dating can be a slam to anyone’s self-esteem. You may write to five people one night and not one writes back. Could be they are not even on the site anymore. Could be they’ve already met someone and they’re seeing how it works out. Could be you are a blond and they only date brunettes. There are a host of reasons why someone doesn’t respond to you. You can’t let it get you down. Wish them well, and move on.
Let’s say you have finally decided to meet someone in person. We’ve already gone through the safety concerns. Now let’s move on to what to do on a first date.
Dos and don’t’s of first dates. Don’t go on and on about your ex. You may want to explain you’ve recently divorced but don’t go into massive details.
Try to find mutual interests in music, movies, books, art, food, or sports. Once you’ve found common ground conversation becomes much easier. Plus, if you have no mutual interests it’s better to find out sooner rather than later.
Keep the conversation light. Your entire history doesn’t need to be explained on date one. Leave something for later.
Listen as well as talk.
Relax, it’s just a date. It may lead to a date two, you may decide to only be friends, or you may agree to never see each other again…ever. The world doesn’t end no matter how it goes.
Try to have fun and not worry too much about “what is he thinking?” “am I saying the right things?” “Will he ask me out again?” Let your date see the real you. If he doesn’t enjoy your company when you’re being yourself then you don’t want to date him anyway.
Don’t drink too much. It’s easy to want to have a “few” drink so you’ll be more relaxed. But keep a tight rein on your drinking. Number one, you don’t want to put yourself in danger by letting go of rational, cautious thinking. Also, you don’t want to talk about things that you’d never talk about sober. And last, you don’t want to make a fool of yourself tripping over tables when you leave the restaurant. Stay in control.
Sometimes the chemistry is there and often it’s not. You may feel a connection online or on the phone that isn’t there when you meet. It happens. Hopefully it will be the same for you both. It’s awkward when one of you feels it and the other doesn’t. But welcome to the world of online dating. The connection might click or it might not; be prepared for either.
Don’t go home with him on the first date. I’m not trying to be the morality police. You’re an adult and your sex life is your own. I’m talking from my experience of dealing with a lot of women reentering the dating pool. Entering into an intimate relationship too quickly can be emotional quicksand. Make sure you’re ready for that step. Again, this is also a safety concern as well as an emotional issue.
Getting back in the dating pool may seem intimidating. But plunge in and try the water. Take your time with anything serious, though. Don’t ever settle for less than you deserve.