After a long marriage ends in divorce, dating again may be initially uncomfortable. After years of being out of the dating scene, what is a newly single person to do? Take heart, because like anything else, with a little practice it will not seem so intimidating to you anymore. For someone set in their ways through the years, the prospect of dating may be as appealing as having a root canal. Unknowns are always uncomfortable or scary, but don’t let it stop you from trying. Your confidence will grow with practice, so be patient with yourself.
The first thing to do is to prepare yourself mentally for expanding your social life and taking new risks on letting new people into your life. If you have single friends, turn to them for a pep-talk or dating pointers. They’ve been out there meeting people, so they may have ideas on where to go to meet people locally, or on the internet. Get their opinions on current dating protocol and don’t be embarrassed. To make something less intimidating, it’s best to handle it head-on. With friends around, you aren’t going at it alone and have a support system. Remember back in our twenties, when we used to chat about people we liked with our friends? We may be a little older – but inside we are still living and breathing men and women, who have needs and desires.
To give yourself a boost, take on a positive attitude, and catch yourself whenever you start feeling negative. Be kind and refrain from being overly self-critical. Many of us have pounds to lose, scars, or other issues that may make us shaky about ourselves, but remember that nobody is perfect. We all have something that we don’t like about ourselves. Let it go and make the best of who you are right now, not what you want to be later. There are solutions to other problems that can be dealt with whenever you’re ready. Right now, if dating is a priority to you, then focus on that right now. Looking at the big picture can be overwhelming, so take on situations one at a time to make them more manageable.
Go out and buy yourself a new outfit that you like and feel good in. Don’t go shopping with the mindset of what others want to see you in, but what appeals to you and makes you feel most comfortable when going to a restaurant or movie. Be yourself, in what you consider appropriate business-casual attire. Most women remember when we were much younger; squishing our bodies into form-fitting outfits and high heels, even if they didn’t feel good to wear, just to look as attractive as possible. This time around, go for what is stylish, but is also age-appropriate. In other words, no outfits meant for someone who is twenty. An ex-co-worker of mine noticed a woman who was in her sixties, but had a flashy wig, too much makeup and a micro-mini skirt worn by many teenagers, at that time. We had to stop him from hysterically laughing. He said, “She thinks she’s attractive, but that isn’t, she looks like a clown.” We felt bad for her, because she was trying way too hard to impress others. It doesn’t mean buying granny clothes, rather an outfit that isn’t too revealing or outrageous. Women, please make sure you can walk in heels, if you plan on wearing them. You don’t want your date to see you trip or take a tumble because you aren’t used to wearing heels over two inches high.
Meet your date in a public place, and get to know him gradually before bringing the person home to meet the family. After going through a divorce, you know what you don’t want in a mate. Now is the time to find someone more in tuned to your likes and needs. Build a friendship and allow it to grow deeper. Don’t worry about who else they are seeing. If it’s meant to be, the others will fall away. Ignore the competition. If the person is into dating really young people, then he or she isn’t the right person for you anyway. There are many solid, decent mates out there who prefer mature folks with more experience in life. Don’t compare yourself to others. As long as the person you enjoy is single and has qualities you admire, you’re off to a great start.
By taking time to get to know potential mates, and allowing yourself to become comfortable with someone who stands out among them, you will lose those initial dating jitters. Give yourself a silent pep-talk, and enjoy yourself. You’re as old as you feel, and are more able to understand the world than you were when in your twenties or thirties. Use this knowledge to screen dates and be proud of yourself for making the effort. You can do it, one day at a time.