As you must have heard, nowadays 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. Single parents are then challenged with the task of building their life again. And for some of them, this means starting to date again. But how can you get ready for this? Where will you find your next partner? What are the tips to successfully date?
Re-enter the dating world
Of course, going through a divorce or separation is tough and painful, and some might need more time than others to consider dating again. The first essential step in this process is to learn to love yourself, put aside all the bad feelings about yourself and re-grow your self-esteem. It is also essential that you forget all your emotions about your ex-partner to avoid comparison. Then have a think about your values, what matters to you, what you are looking for in a relationship. Dating again is also very different when one is in their 30s, 40s, or 50s or older. Let’s be honest, the older you get, the tougher it is and you really need to make some real efforts to put yourself out there.
Sometimes it is good to start to date just for the fun of it (and some training!), not necessarily to build a strong new relationship immediately.
Where are the best places to find new dates?
Most couples nowadays meet online. And with over 14.000 dating sites and apps over the world, the choice is huge! So how will you navigate in this jungle?
You have probably already heard of the most famous sites such as Tinder (fun but superficial), Match.com, Elite singles, OK Cupid, EHarmony, Zoosk, Dating for Parents, Single parents meet, or the French “adopteunmec.com” (adoptaguy.comJ) or Apps such as Now, Urban Social, Click… Some are free, and some cost you from £20 up to nearly £100 per month. A few offer online personality tests and intelligent matchmaking tools. They all have their pros and cons and you will find dozens of articles on Google to compare which site or App is best. Which Date (www.whichdate.co.uk), the “GoCompare” of the dating world can be handy to do so.
Depending on your age, where you live, your tastes and hobbies, your sexual orientation, your religion, you will also find plenty of other “niche” sites, specifically geared towards specific people such as: Muddy Matches (for rural people), Tin Dog (for dog lovers), SeniorPeopleMeet, Grindr (for gay – bisexual), Tastebuds (for people sharing same music tastes), ChristianMingle, BlackPeopleMeet, Gluten Free Singles … and you can even explore different dating concepts with Silent speed dating or Dating In The Dark.
All “dating experts” recommend trying a few (they all have free “taster” versions) before deciding which one works best in your case. For instance, check if many other people in the database live near you, you surely don’t want to waste your time chatting with someone living in the US when you are in Europe. And beware of fake attracting profiles that are created either by gangs or by the sites for marketing purposes!
Online dating is not the only option though, a lot still meet the “classical” way: through friends, at work, in bars and restaurants, during social, volunteering, group holidays or sports activities. Put yourself in situations where you will meet people.
For single parents, a good way to meet people is often through parents of your children’s friends, even though you might find that everyone is in couples (when you travel alone with them for instance). Or, if you are a woman, married women will tend to keep their distance with you in fear that you might flirt or take their husbands away! Is it for the same reason that single men are somehow more easily welcome at dinner parties than single women? Mind boggling but it happens a lot.
Some tips to successfully date?
First and foremost, as Paul Thomas Bell (dating blogger) advises: ”treat a date as just a fun night out and make the most of the opportunity to get to know someone – everything else is a welcome bonus.” Do not rush into a relationship, date several people, explore multiple options and believe in nothing until it happens.
Put all the odds on your side and make an impression with your profile, first message (seek advice from experts).
Always try to be true and honest about yourself. But ladies, sometimes a little lie about your age will help. We all know men tend to be attracted by younger women, whereas men are considered more charming with grey hair.
Do not judge too harshly or quickly, give others a chance!
Perseverance and opportunism always pay off. Be brave, go out, push doors open, even if you fear you will feel alone, or waste your time, there are sometimes nice surprises behind doors (and if not, just leave!).
Try to make each date different to the previous one (change place, activity, time slot…).
Avoid talking about your ex, drinking before the date, overdressing.
If you are a tall woman and size matter to you, adapt the size of your heels according to who you meet, your stilettos for the tall guy, and flat shoes for the shorter bloke. But don’t despair, some don’t care if they are taller or not (see Carla Bruni in France!).
Be sure to communicate with your kids about the idea of your dating again, but do not expose them to all the details of your dating life.
Keep safe from the dangers of predators!
We have all heard terrible stories about the dangers of online dating (sexual, financial or emotional abuse). But common sense and precautions will avoid your romance or experience to turn into a nightmare:
Do basic research (Google them, check Facebook/Instagram/Linkedin profile),
Beware of nice photos of men with their kids (often not theirs),
Before meeting with someone in person, speak to them on the phone twice,
Meet in a public and familiar place,
Tell a friend where you’re going,
Don’t open your wallet to a stranger, it’s common to see men writing from war zones countries ask you for some money for the operation of their son.
After divorce people are often left vulnerable and confused so it's important to have a form of security network of friends around you.
Recovering from a divorce or separation is an opportunity to recreate your life. But if you do not feel strong enough to engage in the dating process just by yourself, there are plenty of “dating coaches” out there to help and guide you.
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