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Dating can seem like a different world, especially if you've been divorced. The rules have changed, the players can seem more complex, and winning might appear hopeless if you aren't prepared.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19.3 million Americans get divorced each year. But all is not lost. It is possible to date after divorce if you follow some basic pointers.
Heal Before Dating Again
Psychologist Dr. Grace Cornish says -- as do most experts agree -- that you should make sure that you have healed before you jump back into the dating game.
"You don't want to meet someone and the slightest behavior pattern that is similar to the ex, you pull away and not give that person a chance," says Cornish, author of The Sacred Bond (McDonald-Livingstone, 2005). "When someone gets divorced, sometimes they build a protective coat around their heart. You want to make sure you are completely over that before dating again."
Think Before Involving Children
Striking the right balance when dating after divorce can be especially sensitive when children are involved.
"Do not get children involved in dating unless you are going to spend a lot of time with that person," says Cornish. "If it doesn't work, you are bringing all kinds of people in their life and you can send mixed messages. If the children are older, you can tell them that you are dating and that you'd like for them to meet the person. When the children are younger, leave them out of it, because resentment can set up. Get to know the person first."
Learn to Be Happy and Have Fun
Dating after divorce also means giving yourself permission to be happy again. This means learning how to have fun, she says, as you date. "The old relationship is gone. Realize you are worthwhile and others want you. Realize you are attractive and you are supposed to have fun."
Carla Fox of Joliet, Ill., was married for 15 years before she divorced in 1998. When she was ready to start dating again, she used God as her guide and details those experiences in the book "A Miracle Made In Heaven."
Author and registered nurse Carla Fox says you should seek God when dating that second time around. It worked for her. Dating God's way led to her husband, Pastor Robert Fox of Holy Hills Deliverance Church in Joliet, Ill.
"God does not use divorce as a life sentence of loneliness," Pox recalls in the book, as she realized that she could still be blessed in a relationship in spite of her divorce.
Also a registered nurse, Fox learned that you must keep both eyes open when trudging the dating waters once more.
"Don't be sidetracked by what you see, such as their attractive appearance or the many gifts they bring. It's so easy to get caught up looking at an individual ... Pray and ask God to help you see them through spiritual eyes, so you can begin to examine the fruits of their spirit."
She practiced what she preached. It led to a trip down the aisle in 2002, when she wed Pastor Robert Fox.
"You have to divorce yourself from the individual and not the institution of marriage," she says. "The marriage did not hurt you, the individual did. Then you start with a clean slate."
Accept a Person as He or She Is
Dating after divorce, says Fox, also means you must accept that this new person might not be empty-handed.
"They may come with children, a house note, car note and bad credit from a previous marriage. You can't want this person without any baggage, but inspect each other's baggage. It's not so much [about] the physical."
Communicating and being a person's friend are essentials that Robert LeCruise Johnson, an account manager for FedEx Freight in Memphis, Tenn., learned while dating after divorce.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Darlene Powell-Garlington believes that a person must be selective and aware of what he wants when dating after divorce.
Learn to Communicate
Robert LeCruise Johnson has been divorced for nearly five years. Since dating, he has learned that it is essential to communicate.
"When you're not looking to get back into a relationship right away, you have to let a person know that," says Johnson. "One thing I've noticed as I get older is feeling pressured to get into a relationship. You want to be a person's friend and get to know that person first so that you know what the person wants. You have to know who you are dealing with. Talk first to see what the person's motivation is."
Be a Person's Friend First
He has found that dating after divorce means taking the time to be a friend, first and foremost.
"Be a person's friend. That way you know what a person wants," says Johnson. "Sometimes there are hidden agendas when you don't discuss it. When you are a person's friend, you get to know that person and what he or she wants."
Clinical psychologist Dr. Darlene Powell-Garlington says you must be selective when dating after divorce.
"People are anxious about stepping out again and getting to know someone again," explains Powell-Garlington, who authored "Love Affairs: How to Get The Relationship You've Always Wanted and God Wants You to Have." "There is a certain sense of shame and sense of failure. It's a matter of being discreet and clear about your boundaries. Be assertive and clear about what pace you want to take a new friendship and how you define it."
Be Aware of What You Want
She also believes a person must be aware of what he wants before dating after divorce.
"Examine your relationship patterns," says Powell-Garlington. "What are the patterns and dynamics that occurred? Look at what is desirable and your goals. What do you define as a meaningful relationship? In the process of awareness, healing is taking place."
By Margena A. Christian
I think a relationship get its meaning when it reaches to marriage.
A divorce will change your life no matter what situation you are in. Whether the split was your decision, your spouse's decision, or a unanimous choice by both of you, the divorce will bring changes, both positive and negative, that you must learn to deal with. The process, as it is happening, seems to be the focal point of life. Once it is over, the idea of dating can seem daunting and unappealing.
Some people will be more open to dating after a divorce, but that often depends on the previous relationship that did not work out. It also heavily depends on personality and plain and simple choice. While there are pitfalls and dangers in dating after a divorce, they can be easily avoided in order to enjoy a fun and healthy social life. Keep reading for some basic tips on dating after a divorce.
Dating Before Divorce
Many people begin dating even before the entire divorce process is completed. Unfortunately, because the divorce process is so touchy and ex-spouses will sometimes attack each other over anything incriminating they can find, you should try and avoid dating before your proceedings are complete. Different states follow different laws, some involving fault that could hurt you if you are found in a relationship before the marriage is officially over. While the decision is ultimately yours, you should try to avoid dating before your divorce is final, simply for the sake of protecting yourself.
After being in a relationship for a long period of time, it may be difficult to immediately view yourself as a fully independent and capable person. Since marriage is the merging of two lives, you come to rely on that relationship and can lose the idea of being an independent individual. After a divorce, simple everyday tasks can seem daunting when approached alone for the first time. Dating, then, can be one of the most daunting tasks of all.
Take some time for self-analysis after your divorce. Many people who are coming out of a divorce tend to have a negative self-image. This type of attitude will only cause you problems, especially when dating. People who have a negative image of themselves often are attracted to people who tend to evaluate them in that way, pointing out and criticizing negative traits or features. This is a bad situation to be in, especially right after a divorce.
Begin taking steps towards a more positive self-image. Although you have probably heard it before, creating a list of your most positive traits will help you to build back much of your self-esteem. Think of your best features on your own, then consult your friends and family to verify your list. Once you have created your list, it is time to use it. Post your list in places around your house and other areas you consistently spend time in. As you go through your daily routine, read through the list every once a while. Read the list out loud and in a confident manner. Over time, whether you can consciously feel it or not, the repetition of your strongest qualities will build up your self-image.
A great addition to this self-help technique is to add to the list features and personal attributes that you would like to aspire to having. In other words, think about ways you could improve your personality and add those to your list. For example, you might add "patience" to the list if you feel that you can improve in that area. Again, you can consult friends and family in an open, supportive environment about what features are your best and which features you could use some work on. When you enter a new relationship, your sense of independence and positive self-image will shine through.
Create a Support Group
Many people, without doing it on purpose, will choose to go through the process of a divorce on their own. Whether it is conscious or not, avoiding human interaction and expression during a divorce can create even harder problems to deal with. A support group will help you to keep your situation in perspective. A divorce is a life-altering event and anyone involved in one should take comfort in the people around them.
It is natural to find support from the people who you are closest with in your life. While these people know you best and will have your best interests in mind, it is also advantageous to discuss your feelings with new friends. Recent acquaintances will be less critical, but will be able to look at your personality from an objective point of view. Your existing family and friends already have determined their view of your personality and might have one reason or another be less than completely honest. It is even possible for your friends or family to feel a sense of jealousy that you have this new freedom and therefore may not provide the best insight. These friends and family may also find themselves taking sides in the divorce.
New friends, however, will give you a straightforward, observation-based evaluation. Confidence is definitely contagious, so surround yourself with new friends who are confident, kind, and open with communication. This does not mean you should exclude your family and friends in your support group; they can sometimes offer the most insightful and helpful advice. However, do not limit yourself to those friends and family. Explore the people around you and utilize your newfound freedom to make some new friends.
Date, Don't Jump
It is quite common for people who have just been divorced to believe that their first new relationship is "the one," falling in love immediately and never looking back. Although dating after a divorce is quite healthy, it is easy to feel exaggerated emotions that convince us we are in love. In reality, we are confused.
Dating after a divorce can be both terrifying and exciting. If you hit if off with someone right after your divorce, that is fine. It's great, actually. You are allowing yourself to move on and enjoy the free, single lifestyle you are now living. However, many people get overwhelmed with the new relationship and believe they have fallen in love.
While it's great that you have found someone, it is very important to take dating slow and not jump into any commitments. Without allowing enough time for self-assessment and establishing a new independent identity, you will be unaware of what you want in a romantic partner.
Initially, it is common for recently divorced singles to latch on to other singles who are simply polar opposites of their ex-spouse. This quick response to the situation is ill advised. If you allow yourself some time to explore your new situation, feelings, and options, you will get a better sense of what kind of person will actually make you happy on a day-to-day basis.
Plan Activities Ahead of Time
Don't sit around and wait for plans to come to you; make you own! After a divorce it is common for people to avoid activities. Life just seems easier in bed. This approach, however, will only cause problems no matter how appealing it is.
By keeping yourself busy and active, you will not only keep your mind and body healthy, but you will give yourself a real chance to meet new people. No matter what activity you are interested in, there are other people who like it too. By making concrete plans to enjoy activities, with or without existing friends, you will be making a choice to help yourself mentally through your divorce. While out and about, you have less opportunity to dwell on your situation and will be naturally thrust into your new social life.
This is also a fantastic time for you to learn some new skills. Any interest you have ever thought about can now be explored with your extra time. Learn to cook, teach yourself the guitar or take up snowboarding. Whatever interests you have, explore them. Again, this will distract you from dwelling on the negative aspects of your situation. Furthermore, exploring new interests will help you to meet new people as well as impress the next person you are romantically interested in.
A divorce brings emotions that are confusing, stressful, and often debilitating. Without helping yourself get better, you can find yourself trapped in a repeating cycle that becomes routine. If you can push yourself to open the lines of communication, find comfort in friends, explore new interests and date intelligently, your divorce will eventually feel like a memory.
above both posts are very good.
both give good explanation about two topics. first one is think before start dating again and second think before divorce.
the effect of divorce is very high and it break many person heart and create problems for child. so after going for a big decision think more and more.
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