You took a swing at marriage, and it didn’t work out. Now that you’re divorced, how do you get back on your feet and back in the dating game? According to experts and the divorced people we interviewed, it’s all a matter of attitude adjustment. Here, they share their wisdom.
Can something that simple really make a difference? You bet! “If you think confidently — as in, ‘I know it will happen, it’s just a matter of time’ — you will speak and act confidently,” she asserts. “And you’ll find that the people who are bitter, self-entitled or pessimistic will voluntarily stay away from you because being around someone happy and confident makes them feel worse about themselves.” Now that’s a real bonus. You get a better attitude and increase the chances that unsuitable dates won’t be as interested. “Be your best self,” she says, “and you’ll attract other people who are at their best.”
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Ditch the “failure” mentality
Another key move: Let go of the “failure” point of view in regards to your love life. Your marriage didn’t last, but that doesn’t mean you failed. “Things, situations, and people change and, hopefully, grow,” notes Neil Fiore, psychologist based in Berkeley, CA and author of Awaken Your Strongest Self: Break Free of Stress, Inner Conflict, and Self-Sabotage. “You may have made a good decision when you married this person, and made another good decision when the marriage stopped working for both or either of you.”
Adds divorcée Holly Kremer of Waltham, MA: “Never, ever think of yourself as ‘damaged goods.’ It took me a while to get over that mode of thought, but I did. Don’t think you have to settle or that you are any ‘less’ than anyone else, just because you are divorced.” She knows what she’s talking about; Kremer remarried shortly after chatting with me for this article.
Avoid seeking out false comforts
Many divorced people feel empty and hurt — and that often leads them to seek comfort in the arms of someone new. “Out of your loneliness or low self-esteem, it’s easy to want to fill the emptiness or to try to feel better by jumping into bed with someone new,” says Bruce Mulkey, once-divorced (and now happily remarried) co-author of I Do! I Do! The Marriage Vow Workbook. “I suggest that you avoid this at all costs,” he cautions. “Instead, discern the truth from the fiction in your mind. Set forth an intention to stay out of the blame game — toward yourself, your ex or others. Be gentle with yourself, nurture yourself. Get lots of exercise. Eat well. Get adequate rest. Know that everything happens for a reason, that there is a great gift for you in these events when you are ready to open yourself to them.”
“As much as I wanted to blame my former partners in marriage, the time had come for me to accept responsibility for my life, that I was responsible for the outcome of my marriages,” Mulkey recalls. “And if in the future I wanted a loving, enduring relationship with a significant other, I had to have that quality of relationship with myself. So I got clear about my purpose in life. And I got clear about the kind of woman I wanted to share my life with and my unwillingness to settle for less. And wouldn’t you know it: As soon as I put my clear intention out to the universe, the woman of my dreams showed up and asked me out.”
Getting over divorce is never easy — or fast. But you can start getting ready for another chance at love today by giving yourself some time and attention. It’s the best way to ensure that the right person will want to give you that, too.