8 Ways to Succeed at Fatherhood After Divorce You Can Be the Best Dad Ever

8 Ways to Succeed at Fatherhood After Divorce You Can Be the Best Dad Ever

As a newly divorced dad, you may feel a sense of emptiness or loss of identity when everything’s finalized. Especially if you no longer live with your kids, you may wonder how exactly you can succeed in fatherhood after divorce.

The most important thing to focus on is maintaining a good relationship with your children, regardless of how you’re getting along with your ex. The last thing your kids need to worry about is parental conflict. To succeed in fatherhood after divorce, you need to establish a healthy co-parenting relationship with your ex, open up lines of communication with your children, and most importantly, take care of yourself to properly take care of your kids.

If you’re not at you’re best, how do you expect to take care of anyone else?

Fatherhood After Divorce

Every divorce is unique, and every child will respond to divorce differently. There’s no way to guess how your kids will react and there’s no way to know how you’ll take the divorce until it happens. For their whole lives, your kids were used to an easier relationship where you got along with their mom, lived in the same place as them, and didn’t have to make plans to see them. It’s going to be an adjustment for all parties involved, but there are some things you can do to make the best of difficult times.

Take a look at eight ways to succeed at fatherhood after divorce.

1. Talk About the Divorce with Your Kids

Your kids need to know they’re always in a safe space to talk to you about the divorce. Holding in questions and emotions can be hazardous to their mental wellbeing. It can also lead to them lashing out in certain ways, either at home, at school, or outside the home. Let them know they can express their feelings to you and that you’re always there to chat if they need to. And recognize that this will be a long-term discussion and there will be ups and downs. It’s not something that they’ll need to talk about once and then be done with it; they’ll likely need to talk about the divorce with you for years to come.

2. Make Your Home Feel Like Home

It may be tempting to move out and into a bachelor pad, but make sure your new home is as kid-friendly as possible. Your home should feel like their second home, not a place they visit from time to time. Hang photos of you and your kids together, give them their own room, let them help with the decorating process and make sure they have everything that makes them feel comfortable and at home. This will strengthen your relationship and ensure they always feel great when they come to your place.

3. Stay Close to Your Kids

The best way to maintain a good relationship with your kids and succeed at fatherhood after divorce is staying close to your kids. Don’t move away, don’t take a job in another city, don’t move back to your hometown if it’s far away. You need to put in the time with your kids if you want to maintain a healthy relationship with them. The farther away you are, the harder it is to build a relationship with them. Even with technology like Facetime and Skype, it’s much more beneficial to be physically close to them to stabilize yourself as a significant figure in their life and grow your connection.  

4. Let Your Kids be Kids

One of the most problematic things you can do after a divorce is to involve your kids in conversations and problems that should be left to the adults. Let your kids be kids. Make sure they’re focused on their school, friends, extra-curricular activities, and anything else that’s important to them as children. Try your best to shelter them from adult issues and problems that are stemming from the divorce. Let them express their feelings about the split, but don’t drag them into anything they don’t need to be a part of. You’ll be able to succeed as a father best when you focus your energy on positive experiences with your children.  

5. Educate Yourself on Child Support

If you’re not the custodial parent post-divorce, you’ll most likely be responsible for child support. It’s crucial to keep up with your financial obligations, because if you don’t, there may be substantial consequences, including getting your passport revoked, fines and penalties, and even imprisonment as a last resort. The best thing you can do is be prepared, create a budget and don’t go blowing your money on useless things. 

6. Stay Healthy

If you’re not able to take care of yourself, how are you going to be able to properly take care of your kids? Make sure you’re treating yourself right after your divorce. Maintain a healthy diet, go to the gym, get a proper sleep, and don’t turn to harmful substances like drugs and alcohol because you think they’ll help you get through hard times. They won’t. Your children depend on you, so you need to always put your best foot forward and prioritize your physical and mental wellbeing. Seek professional help if you need it. There’s no shame in going to therapy to help you through a divorce. It will likely make the process much easier for you.

7. Respect Your Ex, Especially In Front of Your Kids

To succeed aa a dad after divorce, you need to make sure your children are protected from any conflict between their divorced parents. It can affect their wellbeing and mental health to see their parents fight or talk badly about one another. They are likely already stressed out and holding many different emotions about the divorce, so the last thing they need is to hear disrespectful comments about their mom from their dad. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of your ex right now, you need to maintain respect for the mother of your children. Always speak about and act in a respectful way towards your ex to maintain a healthy relationship with your kids.  

8. Date Cautiously

At some point, you’ll want to get back into the dating game after your divorce, but you’re going to want to do this with caution. Your kids may not be too fond of seeing dad with a woman who isn’t their mom. As I mentioned before, every situation is unique, and your children may be totally fine with it, but a lot of time that doesn’t seem to be the case. When you do start dating again, you’re going to have to help your kids adjust to this new stage of your life. You may want to wait until things get serious with someone to introduce them to your kids, so they don’t get attached to someone new just to see them go. And if your kids aren’t okay with you dating yet, there’s no use introducing them to someone who isn’t going to be around for a long-term relationship.

It can be tough to navigate your new life at first, but just be assured that with time, it will come much easier. Follow these eight steps, and you’re on your way to successful fatherhood after divorce!


(c) Can Stock Photo / halfpoint

Fathers’ Rights When Dad’s Released from Jail

Fathers’ Rights When Dad’s Released from Jail

How to Start Getting Your Life Back

When most people think of prison, parenthood, much less fathers’ rights, is not something that comes to mind. Yet, there are 2.7 million children in this country with a parent in prison or jail.

The overwhelming majority of incarcerated parents, ninety-five percent, are fathers. Many of these dads are not new to the prison system; in fact, 2 out of 3 inmates re-offend after their release and end up back inside.

It is not surprising that incarcerated dads are usually fatherless themselves when you consider that growing up in a fatherless household dramatically increases a child’s odds of ending up in prison. If dads in prison want to give their children a better chance at a more promising future than they had, it is critical that they reintegrate into society and their children’s lives in a way that is functional and healthy. The problems many dads face in integration include a lack of parenting skills, decreased self-confidence, barriers to jobs and housing, lack of education, and discrimination based on their status as ex-convicts.

While reentry into society may not be an easy road, dads returning into their children’s lives must make an effort on three critical fronts: finding a place to live, getting a job, and being a positive influence in their children’s lives. Unfortunately, once prisoners leave the highly structured life of prison, there are few resources to help them start over.

Housing

Very few dads are returning to a loving family when released. They usually lack the money to rent a place, and if they do have money for first and last month’s rent plus security deposit, they are likely to find their applications repeatedly turned down after landlords run a background check. Homeless shelters and the streets may be the only place to turn. Newly released dads find it nearly impossible to secure a job without a place of residence, making finding housing a critical step for establishing themselves.

How to search for housing

  1. Start by contacting churches, religious organizations, non-profit groups and government agencies in your area that offer housing for those in need and those that specifically help newly released prisoners. These include temporary housing, half-way houses, shelters, and low-income housing. There are organizations such as Delancey Street, which offer housing for ex-convicts who need to take the first step to getting back on their feet.
  2. Check out the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC), an organization dedicated to helping those that have been incarcerated and their families find local reentry services.
  3. Follow up with phone calls. Find out if there are any openings and ask what rules or requirements they may have.
  4. Choose the ones that seem to offer the most suitable solutions and make appointments for an on-site tour. Bring a notebook to write down what is needed to get started in case you find a good place and want to move forward in applying for housing.

Finding a Job

The U.S. Department of Labor Resources for Ex-offenders is a good place to begin. The site is easy to navigate even with limited internet skills. Click on the Get Started Guide, and it will walk you through finding what you need. It covers everything from Finding State Resources for your state, to figuring out how to start the job hunt, getting your GED or job training, exploring possible careers, and tips for putting together a resume. Unsure how to get references, find job listings or bring up your conviction in your job interview? The guide covers all these topics, and more.

Organizations such as Goodwill, and agencies like the State Employment Offices, offer job programs to get ex-offenders back into the workforce.

Reuniting with Your Children

Coming back home is not only an adjustment for dad, but it is also a big change for kids, too. There are a few tips to make reuniting after an extended absence go more smoothly. With some effort, fathers can reestablish themselves in their kids’ lives while minimizing the stress it puts upon kids who may not be sure how to react to the new normal.

  1. Talk to your kids about how happy you are to be a part of their lives again and how you missed them. Try to keep from making too many promises up front, let the trust build as they see, over time, that you are back for good this time.
  2. Ease them into your return by praising them for staying strong and helping out when you were away. Let them know you are proud of them.
  3. Be patient if they act out or seem unsure how to behave. Children and adolescents are less experienced dealing with emotions and change and may respond with negative behavior. Try to avoid reprimanding them for every little thing. Give them some space to make a few mistakes and to figure out how to respond to dad being back in their lives. They will eventually sort things out and begin to become more confident that you are not going to abandon them again.
  4. Try to avoid power struggles. This will put you and your kids in an adversarial relationship, and you want to try to become a family again, not become mired in conflict.
  5. Ask them about school, their lives and the things that matter to them. They may be anxious or unsure at first, so let them express themselves without judgment. Once they become comfortable and more confident, they will open up to you more. The key is not to force anything. Let them come to you at their own pace.

Reentry Services by State

Need an easy place to start looking for services in your area that help those recently incarcerated get into housing, find jobs, access family services, and more? Click on your state on the Reentry Services Directory Map.

Fathers’ Rights After Release

Fathers rights as they pertain to housing, employment, and reunification with their children vary by state. There are some federal laws, such as The Fair Housing Act which provides legal protection to ex-offenders across the country. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal for landlords to ban all ex-convicts from renting. However, there are exceptions to the regulation, for example, if you are a registered sex offender you can be banned from living within a designated proximity to a school. To complicate the issue, some savvy landlords will blame your rejected application on something other than your criminal record to get around the law. If you feel you may have been discriminated against, contact an attorney for help or file a complaint online.

Fathers rights when it comes to employment and reunification can be complex and vary by the offense you served time for and by the particulars of your custody case. You may have to put in considerable time to research the laws that apply to your case or seek legal counsel for help. Don’t get discouraged; there is help out here if you are willing to put in the effort to find it and to follow through. Your kids are counting on you. Let them be the motivation you need to make a better way for your future, and theirs.


(c) Can Stock Photo / dabjola

Overcoming Depression After Divorce Gratitude as a Survival Strategy

Overcoming Depression After Divorce Gratitude as a Survival Strategy

Establishing a gratefulness practice is an excellent way to combat stress and overcome the effects of depression after divorce. A simple plan to be more thankful is likely to be one of the most profound changes you can make as you begin to adapt to your new environment as a divorced man.

Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.
― Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Appreciating What You’ve Got 

The concept here is very easy to understand, and it really doesn’t require you have a particular faith, only that you are willing to look at your life as a gift. We often go through our daily lives forgetting to take stock and be thankful for all the wonderful things that we have. Learning to recognize these gifts and show appreciation for them is one of the keys to living a happier life, and goes a long way for overcoming the lingering effects of depression after divorce. 

One of my favorite quotes concerning life is from author Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic series, spoken by the character Death: “You get what anybody gets – you get a lifetime.”

Personally, I really do subscribe to the belief that our merely being here is a ridiculously amazing thing beyond comprehension. That we are here at all is astounding, and that we can observe this and “feel alive” is certainly something I would consider a blessing. Life is a gift, whether granted from a higher power or simply the luck of a billion years of DNA recombining; either way, learning to appreciate it will have a profound affect on your sense of well being.

The point is; in order to experience life with a sense of joy and wonder, we merely have to remember to be thankful for what we have. Learning to do so, on a continuing and very conscious level, is what I mean when I refer to having a gratefulness practice.

Taking Stock Helps Combat Depression After Divorce 

What is the first thing you do in the morning? I would suggest that here, when we first awake, is a really good place to begin our practice. True, we all take a minute, sometimes longer, to get present when we come out of sleep. Some hit the ground running while others linger with their dreams as long as they can. Whichever approach to your morning applies for you, once you begin the process of assessing your day, as we all do, work to notice the good things first.

Is your bed warm and dry? Did you sleep well? Do you have running water to look forward to? Is there food in the refrigerator? Is the sun shining? Do you get to do good work today?

These are just a very few ideas of things to focus on to get your grateful, thankful self to start running the show. Take a few minutes as soon as your brain starts to focus on the day, and begin to practice gratefulness. Say silent (or spoken) words of thanks for at least five things before you even rise out of bed. I promise you that within days you will begin to feel a noticeable shift in how the progress of your week feels.

The more we focus our thoughts on what is going right in our lives, the more we experience life as positive and meaningful, even when we are dealing with some level of depression after divorce. The trick is training our minds to actively seek out the good while dismissing the bad (dealing with negativity without giving it any additional space in our thoughts). Sure, we all can get frustrated, feel like we are being maligned, suffer unfortunate events or feel we’re having a run of bad luck. The point is to try and find things that make us happy, Learn to look for the silver linings.

The Only Change is to Your Perspective 

A gratefulness practice does not require you to suddenly change all the little aspects of your life you are dissatisfied with. On the contrary, the practice is best suited to just learning to reframe your experience. Instead of getting mad because you seem to be continually late for engagements, use your practice to notice that you like to take your time, and embrace the part of you that moves slowly, instead of cursing it for making you late.

Of course, we aren’t trying to excuse problems in your life or lessen the need to address them. We just want to keep getting better at looking at what IS working, and keep reinforcing those behaviors. Taking time out of your day both scheduled and impromptu, to look at the good in your life, will slowly and surely transform your entire outlook on life.

So, if you’re feeling depressed, if you’re overwhelmed or just generally stressed out; take heart. Applying a simple practice of being grateful for the gifts of life that are right in front of you, will keep you finding more.

 


(c) Can Stock Photo / Gajus

Creating Happy Holidays After Divorce Have It Your Way

Creating Happy Holidays After Divorce Have It Your Way

Holidays are quickly approaching, and if you find yourself newly single, you might be dreading what is sometimes already a stressful time of year. Rather than dwell on yet another change as a result of your newfound single status, embrace this as a time of new beginning and focus on creating happy holidays after divorce

Be In Control…Of Your Thoughts and Emotions

Even though life has changed, and you may not have found (or embraced) your new ‘normal’ yet, do know that you can regain control…of both your thinking and emotions.

There is a direct link between thoughts and emotions. People who entertain negative thinking typically find themselves burdened with negative emotions (i.e., sadness, jealousy, anger, loneliness, etc.). Conversely, those who challenge themselves to think more positively, even through difficult times, tend to experience emotions that are more positive (i.e., happiness, contentment, joy, peace, calm, etc.).

As the holiday season draws near, be more mindful of your thought patterns and resulting mood. If you find you are more in tune with how you are feeling emotionally, start there. You can then trace back to the associated thinking patterns. Challenge irrational, distorted thoughts and change negative thinking to uplift your mood.

Avoid making decisions when in the throes of negativity (thought and mood). Your opportunity to do things differently, and take control of your happy holidays diminishes when blinded by the cloud of negativity. Taking a pause and allowing a moment to thoughtfully consider the options can make all the difference between resolving to be miserable or joyful.

Embrace the Opportunity to Do The Holidays After Divorce Differently

While married, you and your partner had to make decisions about how the holiday would be done differently from when you were single. Whose house and when. Which invites to politely decline. How to share the gift of your presence across multiple families.

Who. What When. Where. Why. How.

When those decisions were made, you may not have been overly happy, and it certainly took some getting used to, for both of you. The same holds true for holidays after divorce. You now have an opportunity to do the holiday differently…again…and with fewer details (i.e., people) to factor into the mix.

If you have children and know that you will be splitting time with their mother, determine how you will go about making your time with them extra special and amazing (see below for starting new traditions). Also, consider that the celebration doesn’t have to occur any certain day. Some families have opted to have a full-on Christmas celebration at Thanksgiving, and have admitted that while it felt strange at first, the tradition grew on them and they’ve come to enjoy their “Thanksgiving Christmas” even more than Christmas on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. The trick is to get your mind wrapped around the idea and fully embracing it so that the plan can take off. Toss aside all the ideas of how things ‘should be’ for a holiday.

If children aren’t part of your story, immerse yourself in festivities with friends and family. Assess what you might need to do for yourself, in the name of self-care, and take advantage of holiday time away from work to engage in these things. Maybe a trip with your buddies to the mountains, complete with a cabin and snowboarding is in order. Or if a tropical destination is more your style, get the trip booked!

The bottom line is there is no one way to make a holiday fabulous and worthwhile, particularly holidays after divorce. The possibilities are endless. Meditate on what will make you happy and go for it! Even if it means staying in, reading a book and having a hotdog for dinner (provided you aren’t secretly lonely and miserable) is an option. Society may try to convince you there are rules about what should and should not be done but the truth is you’ve earned your adult status.

Holiday Activities to Make Tradition with Your Kids

Most everyone can recall (most of the time with fondness) the holiday traditions from when they were young. Maybe you had hoped to carry some of your childhood traditions forward or had ideas of traditions you would have liked to have started once you married and had children of your own. Whether or not you had the opportunity to begin these traditions in your previous married life, holidays after divorce afford you the opportunity to plug in your ideas and carry them forward for years to come.

Unsure where to begin with holiday activities? Consider some of the following ideas:

  • Tree Decorating: whether you seek out and cut down your very own fresh holiday tree, or opt for the pre-lit artificial variety, tree decorating, start to finish, can become a memorable activity done with your children. Allowing your kids to help gives them the opportunity to rediscover and enjoy the ornaments and decor they had long forgotten from the year prior. Tree decorating can morph into another project if you decide to engage the kids in a decor creation activity like stringing popcorn with cranberries as tree decorating garland!
  • Decorating Gingerbread Houses: A pre-assembled house of graham crackers along with a table full of sugar-coated treats and frosting turns an ordinary afternoon into a marathon of creative bliss. Their work will proudly display until, over time, the candies have been picked away and consumed (hint: take pictures quickly! The decorated houses may not last long!). This tutorial will get you started on the graham cracker house build (the part of the project the kiddos may not have the patience to endure).
  • Holiday Books, Movies, Cartoons and Music Countdown: The holidays bring with them books, movies, cartoons, and music treasured by all generations. Consider a schedule to introduce your children to some of your favorites from your childhood as well as squeezing in the latest and greatest in holiday entertainment. A fun countdown to Christmas (or Hanukkah, or whatever celebration is in store) can occur as movies, books, videos with cartoons, and music are wrapped up, numbered and set under the tree. Each passing day a new surprise awaits unwrapping and family fun!
  • Giving Back: While need exists all through the year, there is never a more obvious time of year to give back to those less fortunate than the holidays. The timing is also never better to teach your children about giving back. Examine your options to engage in a holiday charity outreach event with your children. There are shelter meals to be made and served, opportunities to collect (sort and hand out) items for a food drive, and families with children in need of being ‘adopted’ through a secret Santa or gift giving tree program. Your generosity can also stretch over-seas with the Operation Christmas Child project.

Still in need of holiday tradition ideas? A quick internet search yields seemingly endless results and options to consider for all age groups.

Holidays after divorce, while different and something to adjust to, don’t have to be yet another reason to feel miserable. Resolve to change (and control) your thinking on the matter and set out to have it your way this holiday season. Let go of the ideas of how things are ‘supposed to’ be and avoid getting sucked into the storybook holiday scenarios. Treat this holiday after divorce like a blank canvas with endless opportunity to color it any way you choose!


(c) Can Stock Photo / VadimGuzhva

Deciding Who Gets Primary Custody Fathers Rights Divorce Advice for Dads

Deciding Who Gets Primary Custody Fathers Rights Divorce Advice for Dads

There was a time when family court judges automatically ruled in favor of the mother. While vestiges of this default primary custody bias may still be felt in some areas of the country, the tide is turning. More and more, courts of law no longer presume that mothers are more fit parents than fathers. In fact, the odds of a dad being able to prove that the child’s best bet for a full, safe and healthy life is for him to be the custodial parent is higher than ever. There are even states that have passed laws indicating that mothers will not be given preferential treatment in custodial disputes. 

While times are changing, the reality is still that mothers are more likely to get custody of minor children. As a divorcing dad, your best bet in a custody hearing is to know some of the factors that judges commonly consider in making decisions. There are also steps you can take to outline why you are the better parent.

Factors in Awarding Custody 

The first factor the courts look at is which parent is the primary caregiver. The term “primary caregiver” essentially refers to the parent who is best able to meet the child’s needs, who accepts the most parental responsibility and who has a history of primarily cared for the child. Which parent meets the child’s most basic needs? Who handles the feeding, doctor appointments, bedtime stories and bath time fun. Historically, women, even when they work full-time, are much more likely to take on the primary caregiver roles. So start taking on as many of these tasks as you’re able. The court will take into account your history of performing such tasks.

The second factor is the parent-child bond. What is your relationship with your child? Does your child miss you when you’re away? Have you spent time building a relationship with him or her.

They younger the child is the more strong the mother-child bond may be. This does not negate your effectiveness as a father, but it’s a result of more traditional parenting roles. Because mothers are conventionally the parent that primarily cares for the child from infancy to preschool, the closeness that develops is a different sort of bond than the one that is created between father and child. The more involved you have been in the rearing of a young child, the closer your overall bond will be.

In a lot of jurisdictions, many courts presume that kids will be kept emotionally whole and healthy by having a meaningful relationship with both parents. One of the primary factors taken under consideration is which parent is more likely to foster a healthy relationship between the children and the other parent. Any parent who has attempted to commit parental alienation — such as poisoning the child against the other parent, or refusing access to the child — will not fare well in any family court. And there are other extenuating circumstances, such as allegations of child abuse and instances of domestic violence, of course.

Try To Get Along With Your Ex 

If there is any way that you can maintain a civil or even amiable relationship with your ex, it can only help your custody and visitation chances. Maintaining this type of relationship, especially in front of your children, will only help them in the long run. It’s a well-documented fact that kids who come from divorced homes fare much better if they are not used as weapons of manipulation. Allow your kids to maintain a positive, healthy relationship with both parents. Speak only positively of your ex. Not only will it help you in court, but it really is what’s best for your children.

Consider a Fathers Rights Attorney 

If you’re hoping to be the custodial parent of your child, the best course of action is to first consult a family law attorney with experience in Fathers Rights. Because laws differ from state to state and family courts can be as unpredictable as the judges who preside over them, your attorney’s insight can become the most valuable tool you have at your disposal. He or she will have some insight into how certain judges will react in any given situation, and how they may lean in custody disputes. They can help you to build the strongest case possible.

10 Best Places to Find a Date IRL Life After Divorce Just Got Better

10 Best Places to Find a Date IRL Life After Divorce Just Got Better

With so many online dating websites and apps, trying to find a date can start to feel a little overwhelming, especially if you’re hot off a divorce. Meeting someone in real life (IRL) can be refreshing and much more meaningful. The best thing you can do is try to get out as much as possible. Spending all your free time at home, hiding behind your computer or smartphone isn’t the best way to get over a divorce. And don’t hide behind your screen when you’re out in public, either. People are much less likely to come up and start a conversation with you if you’re in your own world on your phone.

Why You Should Find a Date IRL

There seems to be an endless opportunity for dates in the online world, which is precisely the problem. The fact that there are so many options means people think they can sift through different apps until they find an ideal human they’ve conjured up in their minds. But dating apps encourage you to sit behind a screen rather than getting out there to meet new people. The problem with dating apps is that people are always thinking about the potential that the next person they come across could be better than the one they’re talking to right now. It’s often a never-ending cycle of feeling unsatisfied because of the possibility that there’s something better out there.

Getting out into the real world, you’re forced to be confident, be friendly and make meaningful connections with real people who aren’t at home scrolling through their phones waiting for the next best thing. Always make sure to smile and start a conversation with someone, even if it’s just to say hi. These small interactions will get you ready for more meaningful conversations that come your way.

If you’re ready to get back into the dating game after divorce, here are 10 of the best places to score a date IRL.

1. A Friend’s Get Together/Party

Meeting someone through a friend is one of the most popular ways to find a date. In fact, ReportLinker found that 58% of single Americans meet potential dates through friends. They’ve already got your friend’s stamp of approval, and you may be more comfortable knowing they aren’t a total stranger. When your friends throw a get-together or party, try to make it out to as many as you can and talk to as many people as you can. The more people you meet and the more you get yourself out there, the better chance you have to find a date.

2. The Gym

Do you spend lots of time at the gym? It may be a good place to find your next date. I know multiple couples who are now living together who first met at their gym. If you’re a regular at your local gym, you start to see familiar faces that spend their time there too. And you already have something in common you can chat about (fitness!). When you’re working out, your endorphins and adrenaline are already high, so it’s a good time to put yourself out there.

3. A Coffee Shop

Do you work out of office? Or enjoy spending Saturday mornings at your neighborhood coffee shop? There are likely other singles who are doing the same. Many people keep to themselves at coffee shops, but that doesn’t mean they’re totally closed off to a conversation. Test the waters. You can usually tell within the first few seconds whether someone is up for chatting or not. Start a conversation around the book they’re reading or the drink they ordered. You never know who you could meet!

4. The Dog Park

If you have a dog, take them to a dog park rather than just walking around the streets in your neighborhood. It’s so easy to strike up a conversation with another dog owner, and the fact that you’re both animal lovers can make your connection even stronger. Don’t keep to yourself at the dog park, put yourself out there and meet people. Your next date could be waiting for you.

5. Your Local Bar

It may seem cliché, but it’s still entirely possible to find a date at a bar. Just make sure you don’t get obnoxiously intoxicated before trying to find one. A drink can give you some liquid courage but stick to one or two at most if you’re trying to meet a woman. A bar with live music is always a good bet, and the band that’s playing could be the perfect starting point for a conversation.

6. A Bookstore

A bookstore is a great place to meet someone new IRL. A lot of people love browsing and spend hours on end at bookstores, and you know anyone who’s there values literature and learning, which are excellent values to hold. It’s a great way to form a connection with another book lover who you share common ground with.  

7. Travel

If you have the time and money, travel as much as you can. There’s something about getting out of your own city that makes you more confident and not as scared of rejection. Obviously, the only problem with this is that you’ll have to go back home eventually. But if you’re looking to get back in the dating game with a few dates, traveling and meeting new people can be the best way to do it! Who knows, you might even happen to meet someone who’s on vacation from your hometown.

8. Join Extra-Curricular Activities

Do you like to cook? Play soccer? Sketch or paint? Join an extra-curricular activity you’ll enjoy doing on a weekly basis. It will be filled with others who have the same interest, which makes it easy to get to know people. It’s easier for some people to meet and talk to others in a group setting, so if that sounds like you, joining an extra-curricular might be your best bet!

9. Take a Class

Is there a topic you’ve always wanted to learn about? Or something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do? Take a class. You’ll get to meet a lot of like-minded people, and who knows, you could end up hitting it off with someone. You already know you have something in common and the class will give you tons of talking points to work with.

10. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Set Up

Ask your friends and family members if they have anyone in their circle that would be a good match for you. Don’t be scared to get set up on a date; it could end up being the best date you’ve ever been on. Your friends know you best and likely only hang out with people you would like, so trust them if they say they want to set you up with someone. They only have your best interests in mind, and especially since they know you just went through a divorce, they’ll only set you up with the best of the best.

Are you ready to find a date IRL? Try out some of these places and see how easy it can be when you put yourself out there!


(c) Can Stock Photo / AntonioGuillem

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