What’s a divorced guy to do when it’s time to start dating again? You’re back on the market, but most people aren’t a fan of talking about themselves and what makes them awesome. It falls somewhere along the spectrum between shameless self-promotion and self-absorbed windbag. Neither hold the attention of a non-captive audience for very long.
But let’s take a frank look at reality. Whether you’re looking to date casually or find a life partner, there is a certain level of effort required to let it be known you’re available. One could venture to say this effort looks a lot like marketing. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as the process of “creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” And if you’re pushing the latest widget, this is fairly straightforward.
But what if the offering… is you?
Preparing to Put Yourself Back On The Market
Not to worry, marketing yourself is completely within your ability. Think of it as baking a batch of cupcakes. We’re taking a selected group of your secret ingredients and combining them into tasty morsels to share.
Unlike a full – fledged cake which is too much for one person to fully enjoy, cupcakes are short, sweet and to the point. Manageable, easy to share, and can be enjoyed in one or two bites.
Don’t believe me? Let’s take a closer look at the recipe.
Step 1: Assemble Ingredients
Before we can create or even communicate our offering, we need to assemble the ingredients. Let’s start with the foundation, the base and substance of who you are at this point in your life.
Before panic sets in, know this: you are in a better position now than you were at your previous attempt at a relationship. While seemingly difficult to swallow, understand that you know yourself better now than you did 5, 10 and especially 15 years ago. Your limits have been tested. You’ve made mistakes and persevered. You’ve enjoyed your great choices and learned from the choices you’d rather not repeat. Mostly.
That old adage of ‘that which did not kill me, made me stronger’ applies when it comes to your assessing what you bring to table at this point in your life. That which you’ve overcome and accomplished are now your assets. So sit down and start listing character strengths, Mister. You’ve earned it.
And remember, truth in advertising is subjective. And while honesty is the best policy when you are back on the market, over-share is not on our list of ingredients.
For example, your initial attempt at describing yourself may sound something like this: Divorced, two kids, child support up the wazoo, only see my kids every other weekend. Lost half my business in the divorce.
No one likes a bitter cupcake.
So let’s sweeten the pot. With a positive attitude and proper spin, the same situation could read a little something like this: Proud father of two awesome kids, their success is my priority, shared custody. Managing partner in business.
Goes down a bit easier, no?
Now let’s fold in your interests. Why interests, you ask? Simple. Remember that camping trip you always wanted to take but didn’t or couldn’t while you were married? Well, you can now. But if you want to do it with someone, they need to know these interests exists. And that doing them with you, specifically, is an option.
Allow yourself to think big. All the experiences you want to have in life, all the things you already like to do, these make up the flavor of your appeal. And guess what? Somewhere out there is a woman complaining to her girlfriend over happy hour that she wishes she could meet someone that loved to camp. Or fly fish Or shoot things. Or whatever.
Step 2: Bake at 350. Let cool.
Now, let’s frost these bad boys with some characteristics. Are you the funniest guy in the room? Are you the guy your friends call for help in the middle of the night? Maybe you’re the guy that mom’s love. Or that they warn their daughters about. A sweet appeal in either case, for the right woman.
Scraping the bowl for ideas here? Ask your friends. They’ll remind you of the time you talked your way out of a speeding ticket. Bam, add persuasion to your list. Ask your dog. He may remind you that it’s time to go for your daily run together. Boom, you’re outdoorsy and an animal lover. Still searching? Ask your mom. I guarantee you she’ll rattle of 101 reasons why you’re special. Just don’t accidentally throw in “My mom says I’m” as it’s like forgetting to take the wrapper off the butter.
Feel free to sprinkle the top with some eye-catching humor. Ladies love humor, but just a sprinkle.
Step 3: Share
By the time you’re done, you’ll have created something that represents you, and is of value, an enticing morsel that will be your offering. Easily, and confidently shared with your friends so they, in turn, can share with theirs. Which is an uber-simplified version of how marketing works.
Remember that when you are back on the market, you are offering value not only to your future date or partner, you’re also offering value to your friends, clients and society at large. Your friends likely want to see you happily matched. Your friends want you to check the “plus 1” box when they send you invitations.
A well-partnered you is a happier you. Your friends dig that. A happier you does better business. Your clients want in on that. And a happier, more successful you benefits society on the whole.
Keep that in mind when sharing your treats, and hold your head high. You are someone of value, with values. And while the natural inclination at this point may be to take a breather, remember time is of the essence. In his historic best-selling book, Think and Grow Rich Napoleon Hill writes “Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” You’ve come this far, take actions while these cupcakes are still fresh.
Oftentimes starting where you stand means mobilizing family and friends. And although your friends want to help get you back on the market, they may be working with blunt conversational tools. And a coaching chat may be in order, which could sound something like this:
You: “Isn’t Molly’s friend Ann single?”
Your friend: “I think so, I’d have to ask Molly. She’d know.”
You: “Find out would you? She’s beautiful.”
Your friend: “Yeah, okay. Dude, what would I say?”
You: “Just ask if she’d be interested in a guy that has his act together, does right by his kids and camps like Bear Grylls, only without the pesky camera crew. If she’d be interested in a guy that knows random movie trivia and digs live bands. We can drink pina coladas and get lost in the rain if she’s into it. If she is, let me know.”
Now, your friend may paraphrase and deviate from the non-existent script. And if he does, that actually great news. That’s what we want. Your message delivered in the words of someone that already believes in you is a marketer’s dream. This, my friends, is the personal referral that goes a long way towards promoting your efforts.
Keep an eye out for the second half of Back On The Market After Divorce, where you’ll get the ABC’s of distributing your tasty cupcake.
How has marriage and divorce changed you? Tell us in the comments below.
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