Many people are shell-shocked after a divorce and can’t imagine dating again while others want to jump right back into the dating world. I don’t think of it as a matter of the amount of time that’s passed, but rather have you taken the following steps: 

  • Really understanding why the marriage ended:  It’s easy to blame your ex entirely, but it’s more effective in the long run if you do some soul-searching. How did you choose him/her? What other relationships have had similar patterns? How did you contribute to the breakdown of the relationship? Did you stop communicating? Did you avoid conflict? Did you put up with behavior patterns for far too long without giving feedback? In the vast majority of marriages, both parties contribute to an unhealthy dynamic. Understanding your role will allow you to make different choices moving forward.
  • Mourn the loss of the marriage: This may sound strange, especially if you were the one seeking the divorce. Even if the divorce was what you wanted, it is still a loss. The loss of your spouse, the loss of your shared history, the loss of the future you imagined together. Being able to acknowledge your grief and mourn these losses is important.
  • Evaluate all aspects of your life: Take some time to consider what you want your life to look like moving forward. Romantic relationships are one aspect but don’t ignore the personal, family and professional goals and dreams that you have for yourself. It can be appealing to try to get a new partner who fills the holes in your life, but this strategy tends to backfire over time. Taking the time to know and develop different aspects of yourself will help you stay more centered and solid when you do decide to date again.

Everyone deserves happy and healthy relationships in their lives. All this soul-searching might be difficult at times, but the hard work will set you up for success in the long run.