Dating can be scary for anyone but it can be even scarier for those putting themselves out there the first time after they have divorced a long-term partner.
Australian relationship expert Dr Nikki Goldstein told FEMAIL that most of the time you will never be able to tell if you’re ready or not to get back on the horse.
She has shared her top tips on how to face the dating scene after your marriage ends.
‘It’s one of those things where you’ve got to take a bit of a leap of faith and jump,’ she said.
Dr Goldstein doesn’t think that most people will ever feel entirely ready to jump into the dating pool after divorce.
‘But dating is part of the healing process. When you date you start to realise what went wrong with your relationship, you’ll get a level of comparison,’ she said.
‘You’ll start to look at things differently and maybe you’ll find things in your date that you never found in your previous partner.
‘Although it’s part of the process you’ll never reach the point where you feel 100 per cent ready.’
Dr Goldstein doesn’t think that most people will ever feel entirely ready to jump into the dating pool after divorce
DON’T DATE TOO SERIOUSLY
Dr Goldstein encouraged those who are recently divorced to put themselves back out there but to not date too seriously.
‘Previously you might have gone for a specific type of person and the person you were married to might have ticked everything on your list and you thought it was meant to be what worked, but it didn’t,’ she said.
‘Say yes to people you wouldn’t normally say yes to, take a chance and go on a date.’
It’s important for people to keep in mind that just because you go on a date with someone it doesn’t mean you’re going to end up in a relationship with them.
‘Date multiple people and look at all the options out there. It’s important not to feel like yo have to jump into a serious relationship,’ Dr Goldstein explained.
‘This is a rediscovering phase to realise what it is that you really want, maybe that might be different from what you had in the past marriage.
‘The only way you’re going to work that out is by what i like to call experimental dating,’ she added.
‘This is the perfect time to look at what does and doesn’t work for you.’
Dr Goldstein encouraged those who are recently divorced to put themselves back out there but to not date too seriously
If you feel like you’re facing emotional road blocks when trying to put yourself out there, Dr Goldstein said you should get some help.
‘I’m a big fan of therapy and that might mean therapy or some kind of self help program, meditating or some kind of group,’ she said.
‘It’s really important that you focus on yourself and the wounds you have from the past relationship or explore what went wrong and why you’re still pining and hurting.’
After divorce people are often left vulnerable and confused so it’s important to have a form of security network.
‘If you go on a date and something’s triggered for you then there’s a positive and safe person you can go back to and talk through your confusion,’ Dr Goldstein added.
DOWNLOAD A DATING APP
Dr Goldstein believes that dating apps are really beneficial for those who are trying to get back into the swing of things after a relationship break down.
For those who are nervous about throwing themselves in the depend she told FEMAIL that dating apps act as the perfect practice to warm yourself up.
‘You don’t have to be running around a bar or trying to pick people up, you can out on your profile what you’re looking for and swipe and have a look,’ she explained.
‘Especially for people in that 50s age range, they will be surprised by how many eligible people there are and most of them are in the same boat.’
It’s a useful tool to start having conversations with people and get used to talking to other people again.
Dr Goldstein believes that dating apps are really beneficial for those who are trying to get back into the swing of things after a relationship break down
DON’T INVOLVE YOUR KIDS
‘I think you should protect your children from your dating life, having kids doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get back out there but it also doesn’t mean you should introduce every different person to your kids at home,’ Dr Goldstein explained.
‘Although you should be transparent about having kids I don’t think it’s something you should be putting on your profile.’
This being said, it all depends on your age. if you’re in a younger age group she doesn’t think it would hurt to say you’re a parent as not everyone in your age bracket may be.
‘If you’re in your 40s and 50s it’s not necessary because a lot of people would assume that if you’re in that age group and are back out dating you already have children.’
Dr Goldstein also believes you shouldn’t include photos of your kids on dating profiles and said that you don’t need to be exposing your dating life to your children just yet.
‘You’re allowed to have your own social life but when you’re going on a date tell them you’re going for a drink with a friend, don’t involve them in the beginning stages.’
If you feel like you’re facing emotional road blocks when trying to put yourself out there Dr Goldstein said you should get some help
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR FEELINGS
Dr Goldstein said it’s completely normal to think about your ex when you’re trying to date other people.
‘There will be mixed emotions of comparing your dates or even pining after your ex, which is normal and natural if you’re coming out of a long-term relationship,’ she said.
‘It doesn’t mean you should be getting back with them or that you made a mistake.
‘You’ve been with this person for a long time and if you have a family with them there might be elements you miss.’
She explained that you need to allow those thoughts in, acknowledge them and move on.
”It’s when you start fighting those feelings that there will be turmoil and an internal battle which will make you react in a negative way, it’s about being aware,’ she added.
If you want to hear more from Dr Nikki Goldstein tune into her Sex and Life podcast.