Dating. It seems easy enough. You’ve done it before.  You can do it again, right? Dating after divorce can’t be that hard.Perhaps you’re a bit rusty and you need to get some kinks out, get some air in those tires and figure out if you can still keep your balance. So you venture out. However, the climate has changed this go-round and the conditions are a bit cooler than expected. You’re starting to wonder if it’s you that has changed or the women you’re trying to date.

The honest answer, at this point, is that you both have. And that’s just fine. In order to make the terrain easier to navigate here are three common potholes to avoid at all costs when dating, post-divorce.

Three’s Company 

Are you familiar with the adage “Don’t bring sand to the beach”? In the dating world this loosely translates to “Don’t bring your ex on a date.” You would think this would be obvious, right?

We took an informal vote of every woman on the planet, and asked how many wanted to hear you talk about your ex on a date. Although we are still awaiting complete results, the answer so far is zero. Zero women want to hear you talk about your ex. Now, if this seems harsh, or if you can’t imagine an evening spent without discussing her, your wounds may be fresh and it may be too early. And that’s fine. It simply means that you should spend more time around your friends until that stage has passed. And it will. Someday.

How can you tell? Simple. Conduct a self interview. Can you make it through dinner without talking about her, albeit negatively or nostalgically? Yes? Great. Are you 100% confident in that answer? Do you think you’re a rock in this area? I suggest you test your mettle prior to dating after divorce and find out how many drinks can you handle before you start talking about her. Subtract 2 from that number and that’s your limit on a date.

Less Is More When Dating After Divorce 

Oftentimes when in a new situation or when uncharted territory arises, there may come with it feelings of unknowing or insecurity. In order to give the illusion of confidence, the tendency may be to overcompensate or take up more space in a room than necessary. Behind closed doors, women refer to this as the Peacock Syndrome. And then we giggle. Guess what? You don’t need to unnecessarily self-inflate and I’ll tell you why. She already agreed to go on a date with you.

It’s that simple.

Rather than flood the room with what I’m sure is your fantastic personality, rest assured she is already there for a reason. She is interested in you. If she weren’t, she wouldn’t be there. Use the ‘less is more’ approach to take some time to get to know her. The only way to do that is to talk half as much as you listen. Imagine the date is over and she is on the phone with her friend talking about you, because it will happen. Would you rather she say there was something different about you she liked (hint: you listened) or that you were cool but you really only talked about yourself the entire time? Easily avoidable pothole friends, easily avoidable.

Don’t Bring Presents – Be Present

Showing up with a lavish gift when dating after divorce may be a bit awkward if you barely know the person. Even though showing up with flowers is thoughtful, it may still be a bit awkward, as it brings with it the dilemma of where to put them during the course of the evening.

The best way to avoid awkward is to bring another kind of gift: the gift of self. What does that mean? It means put down your phone, take a deep breath, settle in and give her your undivided attention. Give yourself the time to enjoy the company of the person who took time out of their busy schedule to get to know you. What do you find interesting about her? Does she throw her head back when she laughs? Does she play with her wineglass while she talks? Is she nervous too? Is she a good storyteller? Do you have anything in common? Can you imagine the unexpected payoff of being present for these moments? Some day, all these little things may add up to something incredible, and you’ll be thankful you paid attention.

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