1: Stop thinking every guy you meet is like your ex. It may not be easy to trust a new man after you've been hurt, but it is totally possible. The only way you're ever going to experience happiness after a divorce is to lose your distrust toward men. This distrust often rears its ugly head in the early stages of a relationship, and it can even show up in an online dating profile. Women are known to warn potential suitors that they don't like "dishonest men" or men who play "head games;" as if this would somehow prevent them from responding. A better strategy is to learn to recognize men who cannot be trusted and screen them out early.
Keep in mind that men who are dishonest or untrustworthy haven't recognized their own flaws, but if you don't take off the rose-colored glasses it will be impossible to recognize them. This doesn't mean giving every man a screening interview on the first date, but it never hurts to check him out online and be a little skeptical at first. If that doesn't work trust your instincts; but chances are you will meet plenty of men who are honest and faithful, so approach each date with a clean slate.
2: Avoid the "rebound relationship" at all costs. Even if you're feeling lonely and bitter, or you just want to waltz by your ex's place of business with a gorgeous man on your arm, don't get involved for the wrong reasons. Ask yourself if this new man has all the qualities that you want for the long-term. Is the physical attraction blinding you so much that you're willing to date someone that you have nothing in common with?
A better question to ask is how happy you are without any many in your life. One Colorado Springs divorce attorney I know always recommends that his clients spend some time alone before dating. This lets you learn how to rely on yourself before starting a new relationship. It also gives you time to reflect on the qualities that you want in your next partner.
3: Don't hold onto all that baggage. By the time we reach a certain age, we all have our share of hurts and failures. Few people in their 30s, 40s and 50s can say they're a blank sheet of paper, but that doesn't mean you can't release some of the weight from the past. The sooner you move beyond past hurts, the less likely they are to get stuck inside of you.
If you're having a hard time letting go at first, maybe it's time to have an internal dialogue. Instead of dwelling on your ex-husband's negative characteristics, ask yourself how you might have contributed to the problem. As hard as it may seem to believe, blaming your ex-spouse for your problems is not a healthy response. In fact, it's one of the most destructive habits we can have, so try not to focus on the person who hurt you. Focus instead on how their behavior made you feel and then deal with your feelings.
Unfortunately there isn't one foolproof method that will make post-divorce dating less uncomfortable, but it does eventually get easier. Remember, you are just trying on new people to see how well they fit, so don't shy away from honest communication. If someone isn't for you, don't waste their time or feel guilty. It's okay to say thank you and move on.
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