I’ve been divorced for six months, and I am confused about whether I should be dating or not. I have two young children, and I am overwhelmed with managing my finances. In addition, my parents are not well, and I’ve been taking care of them. I just don’t feel like dating, but I don’t want to wait too long. I miss being with a man, but how can I possibly date with all that I’m juggling?
Dating after divorce can be daunting, especially when you’re in the sandwich generation, juggling parents and children at the same time. It took me two years to even think about dating again when my 23-year marriage ended. Like you, after my divorce I was busy managing a home, trying to keep my kids emotionally healthy, and overseeing my parents’ health issues. I was also in the process of getting certified as a life coach and creating a coaching practice from the ground up. My focus was far from dating.
That’s why I usually recommend waiting a minimum of a year to date after a marriage or long-term relationship has ended.
The problem with dating too soon is that people often choose a mate based on the wrong criteria. For example, your ex-husband didn’t share your intellectual pursuits? You might choose an academic this time, but he could be wrong for you on so many other levels.
You’re feeling lonely, like a third wheel at social events? If you choose a man just to fill the void, you will probably choose the wrong man. It’s far better to be single than to settle. It’s best to begin dating when you are fully healed from your divorce, independent with a full life, and not desperate, needy or stressed out.
Even though at the two-year mark I wasn’t yet at a point where I missed having a man in my life, I decided to take the plunge into online dating. I figured it was better to date when I wasn’t feeling desperate.
I’ve come a long way since the first guy I dated – a short, slightly pudgy, sweet chief of surgery who bored me to tears. In those days, I spent way too long on the phone with men before meeting, building up a fantasy of who they were, ultimately disappointed when they didn’t live up to my dreams.
Over time, I’ve learned which type of man is my best match, how to avoid men who are players, how to get a second date with someone I like, and how to break up with dignity.
Since that first mismatched date, I’ve outlined effective dating skills so that I can coach others to save time and heartache on their journey towards lasting love. My passion is to help people like you attract a true loving partnership the second time around. And it all starts with YOU.
The first step is in knowing and loving yourself. You need to date yourself first. If you wouldn’t want to go on a date with yourself, you’re not yet ready to date.
Cynthia, you’ll get there. After a year, you’ll probably feel that your life is much more balanced. You’ll be much more open to meeting men. Dating can be a really fun journey, and a good relationship with a quality man can add so much value to your life.
One more thing: make sure you get some support right now. It sounds like you’re juggling too many balls in the air and you’re doing everything by yourself. Who can you approach for help – a teenager, family member, neighbor, or a friend? Support is so important as you go through the stress of being a single mother and all that comes with it.
The more you take care of yourself now, the more irresistible you’ll be when you’re ready to date.
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