By Guest Blogger Keri Kettle
Let’s be honest, dating after divorce can be weird and awkward. Most likely it’s been a very long time since you’ve been on a first date and dating as an adult, especially as a parent, can raise all sorts of fears and insecurities. Many of us want to find delicious, deep love after divorce but it’s hard to know when you are truly ready to really find the “right one.”
Read on for 5 questions to ask yourself to find out if you are ready to find YOUR “right one” (and how to know when it’s okay to throw someone else’s “right one” back in to the dating pool)…
1. HOW OFTEN DO YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR EX TO STRANGERS? I can’t tell you how many really nice guys I dated after my divorce that spent the entire date talking about their ex-wife. This is a huge red flag that someone is not ready to find deep love with a new person. You may want companionship, you may want affection, but if you are still talking about your ex on a daily basis, you probably aren’t disconnected enough from your former marriage to form the kind of attachment that will lead to long-lasting, deeply connected love.
2. ARE YOU LISTENING? If you are overly eager to find a reason to like this person, you might not actually be hearing what they are saying. Maybe you are listening for magic words (“Did he say he hikes? I love hiking? We’re soul mates!”) but you miss out on the big picture (“He said he hikes with his buddies on a guys’ trip every year – that’s very different from wanting to hike with you on romantic weekends, and it could leave you feeling left out or hurt down the road.”). Take a step back from constantly searching for common interests and really listen to what your date is saying. Remember that you don’t have to pick your next mate on the first date, consider the first few dates a learning experience – not a compatibility test.
3. ARE YOU WILLING TO ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED? If you want to find love that is truly satisfying and will make you happy, you have to be willing to speak up when you need something. I always wanted to meet somewhere for just a drink on the first date because I knew that if someone said something really offensive or I was just not attracted to the person, I didn’t want to sit miserably through a whole meal. I broke my own rule a few times when either I didn’t feel brave enough to express my feelings about first dates or because my date overruled my concern – it never went well. If you aren’t feeling ready to simply state what you need or if the person that wants a date isn’t listening to what you are asking for, then either you aren’t ready or this might not be your “right one”.
4. DO YOU TRUST YOURSELF? A dear friend of mine said to me shortly after his own divorce, “I think my picker is broken. I just can’t pick well right now”. If you don’t trust yourself to choose the right person for yourself, don’t force it. One thing I have learned through my work is that there are many, many single people out there – and you don’t have to be in a rush to find your perfect match. If you are going on dates or looking at dating websites and you find yourself overwhelmed or not sure who is right for you, take a break. Learn what you like to do and how you like to live. Once you have a good idea of what makes you happy and how you want your life to be, THEN you are ready to start diving in to those profiles.
5. DO YOU KNOW HOW GORGEOUS YOU ARE? Nothing makes me sadder than the woman that tells me she has to lose weight or the guy who says he has to have a better car before she/he can start dating again. Deep, lasting love comes from two people connected by shared values, shared interests and shared goals. Do you want the guy who fell for you because you starved yourself into skinny jeans or the one who will spend the next fifty years snort laughing with you at Adam Sandler movies? Know that you are beautiful to the man of your dreams, exactly as you are right this minute. Know that the woman of your dreams will love you, whether you are driving a Porsche or a Pinto. Dating when you aren’t ready is like trying to buy furniture for a house you’ve never seen – it might be really nice furniture, but if it doesn’t fit in the house, you’ll just end up returning it. In the end, the “right one” comes along when you know who you are and what you need…that’s when we fall truly, madly and deeply in love with the person that fits.
Keri Kettle is a happily re-married divorced mom and divorce attorney who blogs at Holding Your Grace about getting your fabulous life and great love after divorce. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram (@keri1930) and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/holdingyourgrace .