Dating after divorce, how do you know you’re ready? Well for starters, the ink is dry. The actual divorce is final. That’s a great first step. Boxes have been packed. And unpacked again. Days are brighter and a weight has lifted. You’re settled into your new life. Routines have started to emerge and you’re getting your sea legs back again. Life has returned to what is now your new normal. You may actually be getting the hang of this.

And yet something is missing. Rather, someone is missing. Someone to do things with. Bounce ideas off of. Laugh with. Watch the game. Go to dinner. Perhaps a night of “Netflix and chill” or legitimately watch a movie and relax. You don’t know who is missing, exactly, because you haven’t met her yet. Or maybe you have, but have yet to ask her out. Known or unknown, there is a tangible absence.

Signs That You Might Be Ready

Dating after divorce can be the best thing for you, but how do you know you’re ready?  Well, if the thought of approaching a woman for the first time in ages scares you a bit, it’s likely time. If you feel like you’ve been out of the dating loop and wonder what’s changed since you were last single, it’s likely time.  And if you find yourself giving extra long thought to the woman in line at your coffee shop, you guessed it… it’s likely time.

But, if you want to be incredibly sure you’re ready to begin dating after your divorce, know that you have options. While we don’t necessarily have an app for that, we have something that may be of service to you. For example, if you can legitimately send yourself through the gauntlet, Wipe-Out style, and find yourself standing victoriously, arms in the air at the other end… you, my friend, are ready.

Obstacle One To Dating After Divorce

The Tequila Test

After a night of solid drinking*, are you able to have a conversation that, not even once, ever mentions the name of your ex? This means no ranting, raving, or carrying on in any manner about how much you, or she, was to blame for the demise of your marriage. This involves, but is not limited to, drunk texting any of your friends on the matter. Or worse yet – her. To successfully pass The Tequila Test, no drive-bys of her house are allowed. Not even to casually see what she’s up to or to see if any cars are parked outside. (Dude, you aren’t stupid enough to drink and drive, right?)

In order to claim victory of this first test, singing is also strictly prohibited. No playing of ‘your’ song from any device. Points will be deducted, resulting in a negative score, if you even approach a juke box. And you will be immediately disqualified in the event you attempt to serenade her from a balcony, whether she has one or not.

* For all my newly divorced non-drinkers, not only do I salute you, but I offer the following workaround: Stay up for a solid 24 hours then go for a brisk run, the delirium effect will be equivalent.

What passing the first gauntlet means:  Where your mind goes when it wanders speaks volumes about who and what you’re missing. If, after knocking back a couple of pints, you’re able to hold a decent conversation that doesn’t involve your ex, you’re in decent shape. You may now level up.

What wiping out means:  If you failed this exercise miserably, take heart. And also take a good couple of weeks off before re-attempting.  Give your emotions and your liver time to heal.

Obstacle Two To Dating After Divorce

The Walk Through

You’re one step closer to dating, so let’s take you one step closer to being confident you’re ready.  Imagine you new date comes over for dinner. You’re cooking together. She compliments you on your cookware. Do you tell her, involuntarily or otherwise, it was a wedding gift? She spills pasta sauce on her white t-shirt and goes into the restroom to clean if off. She looks under the sink for a fresh bar of soap, does she find anything of your exes? You run to your closet to grab her a t-shirt, do you mistakenly grab the one you haven’t been able to part with? Mail is on the the hallway table, is any of it still addressed to Mrs. Yourlastname?

What passing the second gauntlet means: If your divorce is final and you’re ready to move on, your ex will be out.  All the way out.  Her clothes. Her mail. Her toiletries. Her everything.  Gone.  If you can walk through every room in the house and not see anything that your ex could call you to come pick up at any minute, you’ve passed The Walk Through. You may now level up.

What wiping out means: Need help getting a passing grade on this? Have a female friend come over and do a walkthrough for you. She’ll spot everything that needs to go, from a woman’s perspective. While the Great Purple One, may he rest in peace, was loved by many, likely none more than his ex-wife.  Famous or not, we don’t want to see you on an episode of Hollywood Exes.  Please don’t let this happen to you.

Obstacle Three To Dating After Divorce

The Bounceback

Imagine that you ask the girl from the coffee shop out on a date. She says yes. Elation sets in. Now imagine you ask the girl from the coffee shop out on a date. She says no. Are you blaming her for everything that’s wrong in your world? Is she a continuation of your ex? Are you going to go ask out the next woman that has a pulse just to get back at both of them? Have you anchored your self-worth to the responses of either of these women and now it’s somewhere at the bottom of the ocean where they tossed you overboard with a simple ‘no’?  If you answered no to all of those questions, congratulations.  You, my friend, are officially ready to date after divorce.

What passing the final gauntlet means: You’re able to distinguish between heartbreak and a standard rejection. While both are a part of life, they can exist independently of one another and a turn-down on a date is just that, a no. A no, when handled from a well-adjusted place, can propel you forward to the next potential yes with a new and better prospect.

What wiping out means: While dating can be serious business, it’s okay to break character. Laugh, start over. If Debbie Downer can do it, so can you. And when all else fails, try again next week.

Nervous? Take heart, and leave yourself an out. Leave enough room for the magic to happen.  Dinner. A drink or two.  And a gracious exit. Better to leave her wanting more time with you, and a second date, than unceremoniously making the blooper reel on the first.

Dating after divorce can feel like an obstacle course, especially if you don’t know you’re ready. But take heart, as dating life may be your new normal. After you’ve run the gauntlet once or twice, the more confidence you’ll have in the process and the more fun you’ll have.  Before you know it, you’ll actually get the hang of it.

Do any of these obstacles sound familiar? Got some more? Let us know in the comments below.


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(c) Can Stock Photo / akiyoko

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