5 Ways to Know If You’re Ready to Date Again Successfully:
1. Your conversations aren’t primarily about your ex-wife, her lawyer, your lawyer, or your divorce.
A good quality woman wants a man who’s done what he needs to do to move on from his prior wife. She isn’t interested in being your therapist or your mommy. Since we aren’t always aware of how much we talk about a given subject, as a pre-dating exercise, I advise men to go out with a buddy and ask your buddy how much of the time you talked about your ex or your divorce before starting to date. If you hardly at all, you’ve passed this criteria for readiness. If you need more time to process the end of your marriage, doing so with a professional (coach, psychologist, clergy) can help tremendously. You will enter the dating world a ‘free’ man and attract a satisfying new partner not someone seeking to fix, save, and later resent you for all the air time gave to your ex.
2. You’re functioning well enough on your own.
You eat and sleep well enough, live in an attractive home, see friends, are not down in the dumps, and are productive at work. In other words, you aren’t desperate. You’ll okay on your own but would prefer companionship and/or a long term relationship. You have all your critical faculties available to you such that you’re not acting out of pure emotion in wanting to connect with a new love interest.
3. You’ve learned what you value in a relationship, because you’ve given it real thought to what didn’t work in your marriage.
If your divorce was the result of growing distant from your wife, be sure you know why. Did your lifestyle change? Babies, change in job, money or health issues? Did your roles change? She finished med school, you became a stay at home dad. Did you move away from a supportive community? Long term friends and family are no longer around to socialize with, help with child/pet care, have fun with.
If your divorce was precipitated by an extra-marital affair or dishonest behavior, it’s common to have trust issues with a partner.
If a personality disorder or addiction was the motivating factor in your divorce, knowing more about either of those will help you avoid selecting a partner with those issues again.
4. You know something about yourself as a result of the divorce process that you didn’t know.
Peace of mind may be more important to you now post divorce. You may have concluded that life is too short to…work as many hours…not see family/friends much…sacrifice your health…play and have fun in your life. One client cut back his travel to spend more time with his extended family. It was a decision that served him well when he transitioned into retirement. He didn’t wake up each day with nothing to do; he’d become a much revered grandfather and uncle.
5. You’re clear about what makes a healthy mature relationship.
In such a relationship you feel like you’re the best version of you and she feels the same. You are there for rather than just with one another. You are able to talk things through, make reasoned decisions that serve both of you. You think about yourself as a ‘we’ first and Jack and Jane second. There is no tallying of how much I did for you or you for me. How will this affect us? Is this good for us? Become the questions you ask. Your connection to one another is at a deep level and you treasure the time you have with each other.