Dating Again-The Upside!

Women share what they were surprised to discover about dating after divorce—hey, it’s all good…

By Chelsea Kaplan

or most people, it’s nerve-wracking to get out there and start dating again after a divorce. But if you’re in that situation and need a little encouragement, listen to the lessons these women learned — good ones! — when they stepped out again.

It’s not all about sex
“I was shocked to find out that divorced men — at least in my experience — usually aren’t all about trying to get you into bed the way I felt like guys
It took me at least a year of dating to really feel like I was ready to meet someone again.
were when I was dating in my 20s. Sex is, of course, still a factor in a relationship, but I have found that the men I date now — most of whom are divorced as well — are interested in really getting to know me and developing a relationship before we take it to another level. Nice!”
– Elaine, 41, Norfolk, VA

You can’t hurry love
“I was surprised to learn that despite beginning to date a month after my divorce, I wasn’t really ready for it just then. The end of my marriage was really rough, and after the divorce, I just didn’t feel confident. Because I felt that way, I didn’t put a lot of effort into dating, and I just had bad date after bad date. It took me at least a year of dating to really feel like I was ready to meet someone again. I never knew I wouldn’t simply be ready to date again once the ink dried on my divorce settlement, but it’s true. Give yourself time to really heal, and things will go much more smoothly.”
– Lisa, 42, Philadelphia, PA

My “type” changed
“I was surprised to find out that a lot of guys I would have totally ignored when I was single the first time around are the ones I now find the most intriguing. It’s amazing how the life experience and maturity a divorce can force upon you can result in your realizing sincere, emotionally available men are the ones who are really worth giving a chance.”
– Patti, 39, Aurora, CO

Discussing the kids isn’t off-limits
“I soon realized that when you’re a divorced dater in your late 40s, a lot of first-date conversation revolves around your kids. It’s probably because the topic is just a nice, innocuous commonality you and your date have. I think I imagined that when I was on a date, we’d only discuss ‘adult’ things and leave the kids totally out of it. So at first I tried to avoid the topic. Now I’m comfortable with the fact that the subject of the kids always comes up, and then trading stories about your kids takes over the conversation for a while. I guess it’s a nice way to sniff out if your date is
I was surprised to find out how much less desperate I felt after my divorce.
as into being a parent as you are.”
– Bonnie, 45, Jacksonville, FL

My expectations are a lot more realistic
“When I started dating after my marriage ended, I had a much more realistic perspective on life and love, which was pleasantly surprising to me, as I have always been a hopeless romantic. Even though I’m looking for someone wonderful, I’m no longer looking for fairy tales because I know that they don’t realistically exist. When my seemingly ‘perfect’ marriage ended, it showed me that in life, nothing is perfect and that sometimes things that seem great on the surface aren’t. Instead, I’m looking for a great guy who I will love in spite of his flaws, and vice versa.”
– Juliana, 39, New York, NY

You get the chance to make better choices
“I was surprised to find out how much less desperate I felt after my divorce. When I was first dating, I used to be so eager to meet someone that I would keep dating guys I knew I wasn’t interested in. I think that mistake is what accounts for my marrying my ex-husband! Now I find myself being a lot more discriminating about which guys I go out with, continue to go out with and, of course, sleep with. I now understand that dating the second time around allows me to learn from my past mistakes and make better choices the second time.”
– Shari, 36, Red Bank, NJ

It can still make you feel like a kid again
“I’ve found that in many ways, dating the second time around still feels the same as it did when I was first dating. I expected it to be more low-key, less exciting, and not at all make me feel giddy. But I still get that excited feeling in my stomach when getting ready for a date, and that first kiss still gives me butterflies! Sometimes, being transported back to how you felt in high school isn’t so bad!”
– Lynn, 39, Las Vegas, NV

Read Surprising Love Lessons for the male perspective on this story.

Chelsea Kaplan is deputy editor of Her blog, “I’m Somebody’s Mother?” can be found at
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