Dating after divorce can be a minefield for the midlife woman.
Perhaps even thornier than pondering what to wear on a date, where to go, who pays—not to mention how you even find people to date in this brave new world of Internet match-ups—is getting over your reluctance to take a stab at it. "A divorced woman may feel very vulnerable at this stage, in part because she used to have a spouse to 'protect' her and now she has to go out into the world on her own," says Diana Kirschner, Ph D, author of .
But it's also tough, she adds, because once you're on the dating scene you can feel like a teenager again, in that shaky, unconfident, not-sure-if-he'll-call sort of way.
So how can you make post-divorce dating—whether you're looking for a good time or a good (relationship-minded) man—less daunting?
Read on for 10 tips that will help you get back in Cupid's good graces.
If it's truly awful, take a step back and wait some more. Gadoua, who runs dating workshops for women, asks them to free-associate words that come to mind when they think of "dating." Not surprisingly, words like "awful" and "dreadful" come up.Contemplating the dating scene, many divorced women feel not just garden-variety nerves, but "actual terror," says Dr. Just remember that your fears are normal—after all, you are dealing with or have dealt with a major betrayal and upheaval—and that you don't have to jump all the way in. Tell a few trusted friends that you're interested in meeting people. "Sit down and craft a statement of what, exactly, you're after. If you feel the same way, she offers this advice: "I suggest you try to reframe it as an adventure, or as an education," she says.Accept invitations to parties."While it's not unheard of for a woman wounded by a painful divorce to make statements like "all men are jerks" or "all the good ones are taken," that's obviously not a good mindset to have going into dating, says Dr. "That kind of thinking can tank your mood—and cause you to limit your chances of getting out there and finding love." By forcing yourself to keep your negative thoughts in check, you'll soon be in the habit of thinking optimistically, which will in turn make you more ready to date again. You've decided to start dating—isn't that your "intention" right there? "Dating can be a way to sharpen your social skills, too." And, of course, a way to get out of the house and have some fun!A divorcée may also feel that there's something "wrong" with her since her marriage fell apart, says Dr. If that's the case, start training yourself now to recognize self-sabotaging thoughts, and when self-doubts start to pop up, "visualize a giant red stop sign, or a voice yelling, 'Stop! Possibly the last time you dated there wasn't even an Internet, much less Internet dating.But if you were thinking that searching for companionship online is strictly for losers or perverts, forget it—that's as outmoded as dial-up.