Dating After Divorce: 3 Ways to Tell You’re Ready

divorce processYou probably have friends and well-meaning family members encouraging you to start dating again. Perhaps they think it will help you heal or perhaps they just don’t know what else to say. Divorce is a sensitive subject, after all.

While your girlfriends are setting you up with “eligible bachelors” and telling you that you’ve “still got it,” you might be thinking that it’s just too soon. Maybe you’re not ready to “get back out there.” Maybe you’re scared.

The average age for an individual going through their first divorce is 30 years old. If you’re over 30, you may be worried that it’s just too late for you or that all the good guys are already taken. Furthermore, the average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is nine years. If you haven’t had a first date in over a decade, you might be feeling a bit rusty.

The best advice anyone can give you? Stop worrying and start reflecting. Here are three ways to tell if you are ready to start dating after divorce.

  1. It’s over. First off, the divorce process must be over. The divorce papers are signed, divorce lawyers are no longer on speed dial, and you've run out of legal questions about divorce. Until the entire sticky situation is taken care of, you don’t want to complicate things by getting involved with someone new. Focus on closing one door before opening a new one.
  2. You’re off the emotional roller coaster. You know you’re ready to move on when your feelings about your ex have leveled out. You may have some feelings of fondness when you think about him or her, but you’re no longer in love. Any homicidal thoughts have subsided as well. You can think about your ex without your blood boiling and your heart racing.
  3. You know what you want. Once you can identify which characteristics are desirable and which are deal-breakers, you can keep a clear head while you’re out in the dating world. Remember to take each setback in life as a learning experience. Your marriage did not work out, but at least you now know what doesn’t work for you.

People generally wait an average of three to four years after a divorce to remarry (if they remarry at all). You may not be thinking that far ahead just yet, but after an emotionally distressing divorce process, it is important to take things at your own pace and still have a little fun.