Dating after Divorce: The Bottom Line
Dating after divorce can be extraordinary or miserable depending on how you approach it. When it comes to romantic relationships, divorce is one of the most painful things we can go through. And, too many people rush the process. That in turn leads to more heartache – break ups, or even divorce, again.
Understanding and allowing the natural process of relationship completion makes it possible to move through and heal from the divorce in a way that leaves you prepared for greater love, much greater love. So we cannot ignore the important details nor skip the essential steps that move us from the grief, sometimes shock, and, often anger, of loss — into the open hearted space necessary to effectively date again.
Let’s break it down… and start with what might not be so obvious.
Why is dating after divorce so hard?
Why is dating after divorce so hard? That’s actually an easy one. You will always find dating after divorce (or even dating after a breakup) difficult when you’re not actually ready to be dating. It’s that plain and simple. When you are ready, dating will feel effortless, even magical.
While your loving, caring, and often misinformed friends and family members may encourage you to “get back out there” or “go get your mind off of it”, that’s just about the worst thing you can do when you’re getting over a divorce.
It may seem like getting into the swing of dating after a divorce soothes the pain, but, in reality, it just masks the pain. When you don’t address it consciously, the hurt, grief, anger, and resentment get stuffed down inside your body, only to rear it’s not-so-pretty head later on at inopportune times. No matter how much you might want it to be, the hurt isn’t over just because you’ve separated. It’s not done until you go through a conscious completion process. Dating might make it seem less painful in the moments when you have your focus on another romantic interest, yet, unfortunately you can be guaranteed that the incomplete emotions and hurts will show their face again, often in protective and judgmental ways.
So if you have to convince yourself, or be convinced, to start dating after divorce; if your heart doesn’t feel open and welcoming of another; if the process doesn’t feel easy or joyful, don’t do it. Don’t date. You’re not ready and you’ll just create more pain for yourself and others.
When you actually feel and know you’re ready, it won’t be hard. As a matter of fact, you likely won’t even make a decision to start dating, you’ll just realize it’s already happened.
When to start dating after divorce
So now we know that it’s easy to start dating too soon and it’s hard when you do. We also know that trying to bury the pain and heartache with the distractions of dating after divorce only brings more pain. And, we know that you need to go through a process of completion from your marriage. Finally, we know that you’ll know when you’re ready. We know the necessary steps…
So how long after divorce to start dating again?
While you’ll find a lot of theories and formulas out there that attempt to estimate when you’ll be over it, when you’ll be ready. Ignore the theories. The process takes as long as it takes for you. You need to walk through the steps outlined above.
The good news is that there are several ways to speed up the process and make it more effective, much more effective.
With that being said, the speed of the process also depends on whether you and your ex had a conscious relationship. If you did, then you also likely had a conscious breakup. A conscious approach to relating (and ending) definitely speeds up the process of reopening your heart and being mentally, emotionally and physically available for dating after divorce.
If you weren’t able to have a conscious ending and if you’re still harboring resentment, guilt, blame or other emotions stemming from your past marital breakup or divorce process, then you’ll need more time.
So again, the question of when to start dating after divorce is truly irrelevant and meaningless. It’s not about any amount of time being the healing balm for your heart. It’s about you taking the time, all the time you need, to care for your wounded heart, to remind yourself you’re ok, and that it’s safe to love and be vulnerable again.
If you’re still saying words like, “I’ll never let that happen again.” You’re not ready. Dating would be a waste of your time.
For many who already personally walk the conscious path of love the transition process needed before considering dating after divorce can be quite short — 3-6 months, no matter how long you were married.
It happens time and time again for our program participants; as they complete the “completion” process, dating just happens. They simply start noticing and being noticed. You will find a divine timing in it and you don’t need to do anything, except tend to you. That will be the fastest path to your next relationship. Then you’re likely to just be surprised to find yourself quite naturally and happily on a date.
Tending to your hurting heart is the fastest path to your next quality relationship.~Joanna Shakti
How to start dating after divorce
If you are asking how to start dating after divorce, here are some better questions to ask: How do you “complete” with your marriage? How do you have a conscious ending? How do you learn the lessons you were meant to learn in your marriage and divorce? How do you show up more prepared for your next relationship?
The answer to these questions is all the same. You tend to your aching heart.
We as a society are conditioned to hide, ignore, avoid, and deny our emotions. Yet, when we do this we build walls of protection – thick walls of inner concrete that attempt to ensure that we’ll never feel that painful set of feelings again. Unfortunately, those walls of protection not only do not make the pain go away, they almost guarantee you’ll experience it again. Over and over again, until you decide to take down the walls.
Those on the path of soul love have the opportunity to go through a detailed and thorough conscious endings process with their ex (and with all the other ex’s that came before your marriage.) No, your ex does not need to participate in the process.
Your conscious completion actually has little to do with your partner and has everything to do with rebuilding your relationship with you. When couples divorce, most people don’t realize that your relationship with yourself also takes a big hit and that “damage” to your relationship with you turns into one of the biggest pieces of baggage you could carry. It turns into one of the biggest reasons dating after divorce is hard.
When people go through a step by step process of rebuilding their relationship with themselves, then they can feel safe, empowered and ready to release their relationship with their ex. Believe it or not, when you actually follow through with this process, you’ll even come to forgive your ex, and more importantly, you’ll come to forgive yourself. Any lingering resentments or hurts, any non-forgiveness for you or them, will occupy a space in your heart and body that will always remain a block to the love of any future partner from being able to penetrate you.
It’s also important after ending a marriage, which invariably started by proclaiming vows to each other, that you release yourself from those vows. The vows you made, because they were made deeply in your heart, will actually continue to play out unconsciously, impacting the way you approach dating after divorce or any future relationships. So it’s important to go through a vow clearing ritual as well.
Forgiveness after Divorce
Finally, part of the conscious completion process after a divorce includes integrating the lessons that your being was meant to learn in the process. No matter how much it may seem that your partner was the one to blame for your failed marriage, honestly, it’s never solely one person who created the divorce. It always takes two. It doesn’t matter what your ex did or didn’t do. Yes, they had a hand in whatever brought on the divorce, and, rest assured, you did too.
When you can feel strong enough, confident enough, and loving enough of yourself to take an honest look at what you can learn, when you acknowledge what you can do differently in your future relationship, and you integrate that into your life and your approach to dating after divorce, then you truly have the opportunity for magic in your future romance.
Those who don’t take the time or aren’t willing to find a bit of humbleness to go within and acknowledge their part in their divorce will usually regret it. We don’t want to look back later after a string of repeated heartbreaks or even divorces and then notice that we were the common denominator. You can break the habits and patterns now, for good, if you’re willing to go within.
Now, it’s also important to realize that we do not have to have it all together. We do not have to have resolved every one of our issues. We do not need to be perfect to start dating again after divorce. We just need to make sure we’re not running from our pain. We need to ensure our pain isn’t chasing us down the street as we try to outrun it by trying (and failing) to love another too soon.
The bottom line
While you will find varying circumstances and situations for everyone after a divorce, there is actually very little difference in how to approach dating after divorce successfully. Whether you are dating after divorce at 40 or 60, whether you’re a man or a woman, whether you have kids or you don’t, the most important thing you can bring to your dating life is authenticity and an open heart. They, on their own, will carry you a long way towards creating an even better relationship next time around.
The bottom line is that you will know it’s time to start dating after divorce when you’re happy and content in your own life. You won’t need another relationship but you’ll be ready, willing, and available for one, for a good one. An amazing man or woman might just seem to appear on your doorstep and love, an entirely new kind of soulful love, will leave you breathless and wondering why you waited so long.
Since 2006, highly conscious men and women, with a commitment to extraordinary relationships, have chosen Ecstatic Intimacy to find and cultivate Soul Partnerships from their bedrooms to their boardrooms. Ecstatic Intimacy believes in coveted relationships, for all.
You too, are invited…
*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.