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Dating After a Divorce

When I was dating in my 20s and 30s, my main focus was to find a husband. Being a single mom, I had the additional layer of having my children to consider and finding someone who understood that they were part of the package deal. Dating was rough, and I hated it. I always equated it to job interviews. I had that feeling because, as I said, I was interviewing someone for the husband position. This took the fun out of dating. My family and friends also would point out that my checklist was a bit too long. It was something like:

  1. Family-oriented
  2. Good looking 
  3. Taller than me
  4. Athletic 
  5. College-educated
  6. Ambitious 
  7. Made the same or more than me 
  8. Loved to Travel 

I know that it was in the teens, but I am glad that I can’t remember the rest. 

To make it even harder to date, I fell madly in love with a man who we had an on-and-off relationship for almost ten years. After seeing him for the last time, I vowed to let go of my checklist and marry a nice man. I headed to Match.com, and I met one. 

The issue was he did not match much on the checklist but that he was family-oriented and taller than me. Even though I was bored when I was dating him, and I was a bit embarrassed by him, I continued because I desperately wanted to get married. I got my wish when he proposed, but I knew even before getting married, that it was a huge mistake. We just didn’t mesh, and he was only focused on his kids. At first, I saw this as amazing but then realized that he didn’t have any space in his life other than them. 

I talked to a couple of friends about my concerns, and they convinced me to do it. It’s one of the other reasons that I will never listen to anyone again about my life. They meant well, and I was the one who should have listened to my fears. Even after he said that he would not spend our wedding night together because he didn’t’ want to leave his daughters. This is with his parents there with them. Huge red flag, but I wanted to get married so bad.  

Well, no surprise, but we got divorced. When he was leaving, I was sad. I couldn’t believe that I was getting divorced. However, the next day, I was delighted that he was gone. It was nice to only focus on my daughter. He probably felt the same way.  

Here I am staring to date again. I was hesitant to date for a while because I thought that I am now 41, have to lose weight, and still focused on family issues. The difference is that I have no desire to get married or in a serious relationship. It feels liberating, not having the thought if the relationship will work out looming over my head. I want to date and find people to go on outings with. The stress of getting married is gone.  

Stop looking at what other people have. The majority of the people around me are married. At work, I was usually the only one, other than the twentysomethings, who was single. My friends and family members are all married. Guess what? It shouldn’t matter, and it doesn’t. My life is my own, and I shouldn’t wish for what others have.

Being single is better than being sadly coupled.  I spent a lot of my adulthood alone. I was happier than single than being with someone I didn’t love and had none of the qualities I was looking for. I did that just so I can say, “I’m married!” It’s better to date yourself and love life than dreading having to be around someone. 

Don’t settle for someone because you rob yourself and him from finding that right person. There is some guilt that I allowed my desperation to get married to settle. I lost years where I could have kept dating and possibly find that right person for me. I also did the same for him. We did not have any shared interests but our love for video games. You have to compromise in a relationship, but not where you both are bored and frustrated.

Don’t listen to anyone but yourself.  It’s ok to listen to opinions, but that doesn’t mean that you have to act on it. I regret listening to my friends and family who said to marry someone I was not compatible with.  

Date and have fun! I’m happy that I have no expectations when it comes to dating anymore. I want to have a good time and meet people I am compatible with. Do the same. If it’s meant to get serious, it will. However, if you do eventually want to get married, you should not spend months and years on someone who doesn’t want the same. Date different people and have fun! 

The first date in years is tonight, and I am nervous and excited. He seems to be a nice and fun person, and all I am hoping for is a great time.

Please let me know how dating has been for you in the comments.

Dating after divorce can be scary, but you can do it and have fun along the way.

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