How To Know If You Are Ready To Start Dating Again After Divorce

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No one ever said that dating was easy. For every one good date you have, you might have three less-than-stellar ones. It's a trial and error process that involves putting yourself out there and taking a risk — a risk that might be especially daunting if you're divorced. Divorce isn't just any breakup; it's the end of a relationship in which two people promised "until death do us part," but somewhere along the way things didn't work out.


Whatever the reason for the end of the marriage, it's enough to shake anyone to their core and question not just whether they're ready to start dating again, but if they should even throw themselves back out there into the dating world. So how do you know if and when you're ready?

For starters, before you even consider dating, you need to grieve and process the loss, according to Verywell Mind. Even if the divorce was amicable, you still lost something that was a part of your life and the hole it left can't be ignored. If you're unable to process your divorce in a healthy way on your own, support groups — both in-person and online — can help, as well as one-on-one therapy with a professional. It's important to get on the other side of your grief before putting yourself out there again.


Ask yourself why you're dating or want to date

There are many reasons why someone might want to date again after a divorce, but those reasons should be the right ones. If it's because you're trying to outrun your emotional pain, dismiss your grief, or "replace a nail with another nail" so to speak, then those aren't the healthiest reasons. Your reasons should have good intentions in them and be the result of having processed your divorce and the loss it entailed (via MindBodyGreen).


"If the 'why' is because you have taken time to heal, you now want to date more than you feel like you need to date, and you're willing to feel all the emotions involved in dating again, then it's a good sign that you're ready," Jaclyn Friedenthal, Psy.D., of the Thrive Psychology Group, tells Good Housekeeping. "Dating requires a certain amount of vulnerability, tolerance of uncertainty, and willingness to feel a range of emotions in the hopes of making positive new connections and relationships."

When it comes to dating after a divorce, the "why" in the dating equation should be one steeped in positivity. It shouldn't come from a place of anger, revenge, or unprocessed grief.

You have a good idea of what you're looking for

Just because you start dating again, doesn't mean you're necessarily looking to score another spouse or even get into a serious relationship. You could be looking for emotional intimacy, sexual intimacy, or simply someone to go to the movies with once a week.


"[You know you're ready to start dating if] you've thought about what you want, what you don't want, and identified the deal-breakers," Honorée Corder, author of "The Divorced Phoenix: Rising from the Ashes of a Broken Marriage," writes for HuffPost.

Although you don't have to know exactly, down to the minute details of what you want, having an idea of what's going to make you happy and what you definitely want to avoid will help make dating feel like you're in control — because you are.

There's no exact timeline as to when anyone will be ready to date after a divorce. Some people are ready in a few months, and some people take a couple of years. Ultimately, only you will know when you're ready to start dating again and, just as it was when you fell in love and said, "I do," when you know, you know. It just sort of clicks and you feel it in your bones.