Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so I’ve prepared a post-divorce dating survival cheat sheet for you. Here are 6 tips to keep in mind while dipping your toe back in that pond.
- Pay attention to everything your date says. Most dates will expose their “skeletons” by at least the third date. If you’re falling for that new guy or gal, though, the tendency is to not hear what your date is telling you. Don’t let this happen. If you spot a red flag – a very difficult personality, a messed-up family life, an inability to hold a job, or another scary situation, do not ignore! Once, I went over to a date’s house (after we had a few dates and I felt safe) after dinner and noticed that he still had family pictures up in the common areas of his house. Nice, right? But, every image of his wife had black tape over her face! Imagine his little kids having to look at that picture of Mommy with tape over her face every time they spent time at Daddy’s house. It was creepy – and alarming. Goodbye, masked man.
- Be yourself. If you’re not being true to yourself, you’ll probably not be able to do a very job at “scrutinizing” your date, either. It’s a lot of work to pretend to be someone you are not . . . even a little bit. Your intuition will be sharpest when you are relaxed.
- Go with your gut. If you think your date is jerk, or a narcissist, or a phony, or whatever else you might not like, you are probably right. Don’t make excuses for your date’s behavior or tasteless conversational choices. Move on.
- Leave your rescuing persona at home. If you are the type of super-empathetic person – perhaps a true caretaker by heart — who tends to rescue others in need, you do not want to date until you put your own boundaries firmly in place. People who have been through a divorce need nurturance; not more trouble. Know your boundaries and keep them firmly in place.
- Be ready for rejection. If you can’t deal with rejection – or even mild criticism — , stick with going out to dinner with trusted friends. Dating takes thick skin . . . and it might take a good, long while after your divorce to have the emotional fortitude to deal with the rough-and-tumble of dating.
- Chemistry is Key. Attraction is either there or not. There was one sweet man I went to dinner with who was smart, open-minded, a good conversationalist and well-liked by friends and colleagues. But, when it was time for a goodnight kiss, I struggled. I actually felt grossed out! Let’s be honest. You can’t fake romantic attraction and, even if you tried to just to have the company of another, it would most surely end in disaster for one or both of you. I moved on . . . and you should, too.
And don’t forget to have fun!
Posted by Robin Graine, JD, Virginia Supreme Court Certified Mediator
This blog and its materials have been prepared by Graine Mediation for informational purposes only and are not intended to be, are not, and should not be regarded as, legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.