By Jeanne Goshe & Jessica Wernz from Everyone Gets Divorced
1. Pipe down about your divorce:
We’re not suggesting that you lie. The fact that you’ve been married should probably come up at some point during the whole “getting to know you” phase. But please, do not turn a date into a therapy session. That’s the difference between a regular divorced person and a cliché bitter divorcée. We know, we know – you’ve been hurt. You have trust issues. You never thought your life would turn out this way. Keep it to yourself. Talk about something else. Anything else. Talk about Game of Thrones. (Normal people talk about HBO shows.) You’ll have more fun and so will your date.
2. Stop feeling like you’re damaged goods:
Being divorced is not some horrible stigma. You do not have to wear a scarlet letter. People cannot tell just by looking at you. In short, you’re not so different from the average non-divorced person. We’ve all been through breakups. Anyone you’re dating has probably been in a serious relationship that has ended for one reason or another. Unless you’re dating a 16-year-old. (Tip: Don’t date 16-year-olds.)
3. Only you know when you’re ready to start dating:
Has anyone told you that you have to take the length of your relationship and then divide it by some number, and that’s the length of time you need to wait before you start dating again? Don’t listen to them. The last thing you need to do right now is math. A better rule of thumb is don’t listen to anyone. On second thought, you may listen to us. And we say start dating whenever you feel ready. And on that note: if you’re unsure if you’re ready, here’s a good litmus test: If you find yourself obsessing over who your ex may or may not be dating, then you might not be ready for a serious relationship yet. But even that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t date. Get out. Meet people. Go on a few dates. It might be the perspective you need to realize that your ex is actually a bit of a loser. And that’s when you know you’re truly ready.
4. You’ll always be friends…until you’re not:
You cannot be friends with your ex. We know, we know. You and your ex have an amazing relationship. You weren’t a good couple, but you’ll always be the best of friends. This is crazy talk. You cannot be friends with your ex once you start dating. Here’s why: Friends talk about the people they’re dating. You do not want to hear about the people your ex is dating and vice versa. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule. And you should try and remain friendly if there’s a good reason for it (mutual children), but other than that, this pseudo-friendship will do more harm than good. And your new boyfriend/girlfriend won’t like it. (Trust us.) You need to leave each other alone if you’re ever going to move on. So if you want to grab coffee with someone, call one of your friends who you’ve never been married to.
5. You will need to adjust:
Married couples have lots of routines. For example, perhaps, every Saturday, your husband came up with a plan for lunch. It has literally been years since you were faced with making a weekend lunch decision. It sounds silly, but when you start dating someone new, they will probably ask you what you want to do for lunch at some point. And you just won’t know. You don’t have lunch ideas! You might even be frustrated by the question. Try not to be. For one thing, it will be very confusing for your new boyfriend. The routines you developed in your marriage were not necessarily good or bad. But they are over. You’ll probably form new routines with someone new. You might even find that you have very strong opinions on lunch.