Looking for love after a divorce can be daunting. The prospect of starting all over may seem unnerving, but at some point, you may wonder if you’re ready. The internet is full of advice on dating after divorce, but the reality is that there are no rules. It will be different for every person.

Are you tired of casual encounters? Ready to consider being part of a couple again? By evaluating yourself first, you may be able to avoid additional heartache down the line. If you think you might be ready to put yourself out there again, ask yourself if you’re ready in these eight ways.

You’re Happy Being Single

While your life will always be different after going through a divorce, and you don’t necessarily have to be jumping for joy, you should reach a point where you enjoy life again without your ex-wife. When you’re happy with your life alone, you’re less likely to bring all of that emotional baggage from your marriage into a new relationship. If you’re satisfied with the way things are going in your own life first, you will be more willing to take it slow because your happiness isn’t tied up in the new relationship working out.

When dating after divorce with the idea that you are ready for a more serious relationship, it’s important not to have unrealistic expectations about your new partner making you whole again. You should invest time thinking about what you want and what you do not want in your life going forward, and you should start creating a life you’re happy with. By being happy on your own first, you will maintain some control over your own life, needs and emotions when you bring another person in.

You’re Not Bitter About Your Ex

Starting to seriously date again while you still harbor hostility towards your ex is a bad idea. It may seem like fun to rub salt in her wounds by showcasing how quickly you’ve moved on, but your new girlfriend and your ex will see right through it. The new relationship will never last if the foundation is built on revenge.

On the flip side, you probably aren’t ready to be part of a couple again if you’re still in love with your ex. It’s one thing to have good feelings and fondly recall your former relationship, but if you’re still in love, it isn’t time to date just yet.

The bottom line is that if you cannot think about your ex without an immediate spike in emotions (good or bad), you may want to consider waiting before digging out the I’m With Her tee shirt.

You’re Excited About Dating

You’re probably ready to date again if you’re excited about it. If you think about dating as a big fun adventure where you get the opportunity to meet new people and try new things, you’re on the right track. If the thought of dating seems like a chore, don’t do it just yet.

You’ve Got Time for Dating

It may have been awhile since you’ve had more than a one-off date, but you may recall that it’s time consuming. Relationships take a lot of time and energy, especially in the beginning. No matter how ready you think you are, if you’re balancing a full-time job, kids and other commitments, you may just not have the time right now.

Instead of trying to juggle all of your priorities as a single man and a new relationship, try clearing some space in your day first. Dating takes time. As you may recall, it’s not just about going on dates. There are the phone calls and texts. There is the time you will need to dedicate to getting to know her. Your new relationship deserves that quality time, so make sure you have it before getting started.

Money Isn’t On Your Mind

While money doesn’t equate to happiness, it sure makes dating after divorce a little bit easier. If the divorce has left you less than financially stable, it’s probably best to get back on your feet first. It will be better for you and your potential new girlfriend if you sort out your money woes before attempting to get serious. When you’re back to being financially fit, you will be able to focus all of your energy and efforts into dating (and be able to afford that fancy restaurant).

Flexibility is Key to Dating after Divorce

Relationships are a lot of work, especially after divorce. Your new girlfriend will be a lot different than your ex-wife (which is likely a good thing). But it also means that you’ll have to be flexible as you get used to the new relationship and the new lady. As with any relationship, you will have to compromise. Are you ready to deal with the give-an-take of a relationship?  After a divorce, it’s fine to be selfish for a while as you acclimate to your new lifestyle. Don’t be in a big hurry to give that up. But, if you’re willing to be flexible, you’re probably ready to date again.

You’re Ready to Communicate

It’s going to be tough to get to know any new woman if you won’t talk about yourself and be willing to hear what she has to say about herself. All relationships have their ups and downs, but the ability to communicate is what will pull you through to the other side. You may not be ready to open up yet. That’s fine, if you’re only looking for casual dates. If you meet a gal that makes you think might be more than a fling, be ready to open up and talk about your past as well as your future with her.

Check Your Trust Quotient

Trust may have been completely violated in your marriage, but you have to be willing and available to trust again before serious dating after divorce. Relationships that don’t have trust simply will not survive. You probably are well aware of that fact after going through a divorce. Love is built on trust, and getting a new girlfriend before you’re ready to trust is a bad idea. Can you trust another woman with your heart? If the answer is yes, you’re ready to take the plunge.

Managing Your Own Expectations About Serious Dating After Divorce

Dating after divorce can be daunting and exciting at the same time. Your previous marriage (whether it ended poorly or not) shaped your life and the person you are today. Entering into a new relationship after ending a marriage takes courage and strength, but it’s a normal part of moving on, when you’re ready.

While casual dating is fun and uncomplicated, entering into a serious relationship requires more self-evaluation. Are you emotionally and mentally ready for the type of dating after divorce that could lead to a committed relationship? Does the idea of having a new partner trigger anger or sadness you thought was long gone? By managing your own expectations, you can save yourself a lot of grief and be able to start a healthy relationship from the beginning.

Have you started serious dating since your divorce? Share the pros and cons in the comments below.

Yup, getting back out there after a divorce can be complicated. See what this guy says about Online Dating for Divorced Men: The First Hello and check out 7 Ways to Rock Post-Divorce Dating.

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