Want to know the secret to successful dating over 40 after a divorce? You aren’t alone!
How do you get back out there and successfully date after a divorce especially over 40?
It’s a question I am regularly asked as a Relationship Coach who has been where you have been!
Unfortunately, it is a question I can answer all too well as I came out of a marriage I thought would last forever and was faced with dating again!
I experienced the dating scene first hand and it was completely different from the last time I was single. Gosh, it even came with its own language that mostly described bad behaviour! To say I was surprised was an understatement!
Good news for you is I can share what I have learnt along the way to make it easier for you.
I want to let you know is that it won’t be how you expect it to be, I know it wasn’t for me. I think I had a lot of romantic ideas about how it would be that didn’t match the reality.
After being married for 21 years, dating was so different because the last time I was single online dating and dating apps weren’t a thing and didn’t even exist!
1. Your first dating experiences can be ‘interesting’!
You may feel terrified or excited about the new possibilities and experiences! I know I experienced a mix of both. I definitely had a romantic notion of how wonderful it might feel. Yet dating someone new after being in a long-term relationship felt a little awkward, weird and anything but romantic!
I was able to get past that and have fun (yes it is possible) meeting new people and usually got a 2nd date.
I did make sure that I took some time after my divorce to heal and look at what went wrong. It was important to find out who I was after spending a lifetime with someone because I was surprised to know that I was so used to being half of a couple that I didn’t know.
You might want to get out there to feel better about yourself especially if the person you loved the most rejected you. It’s a normal reaction but one that can make you feel worse if they also reject you or worse still if you end up in another bad relationship. The rebound relationship can often hit you every harder than your divorce, surprising but true!
So, my top recommendation is:
Take the time to heal after the breakdown of your relationship. Otherwise dating may make you feel worse or you may end up in the same type of relationship all over again!
This is one relationship trap that I fell into even after taking some time to be on my own. Why, because I really hadn’t taken the time to be clear about what I wanted, what I needed and how to get that.
I did what so many of my clients do, I chose a very similar man who, spoiler alert, didn’t make me any happier than my ex-husband. Surprise, surprise! I didn’t pick it to start with but as time went on saw it all too clearly. However, I also found I took some unhelpful patterns into my new relationship that achieved the same results.
In my experience, I see this with people I work with every single day, with people choosing a type of person who doesn’t work for them. They have a relationship pattern they keep repeating or they have a way of acting within the relationship that gets the same results!
I learnt that there was no rush and that it was more important to rediscover myself before jumping into a relationship with someone new.
First Big Lesson After a Divorce:
To get the right relationship I needed to meet a different type of person as well as learning how to act differently in the new relationship.
If you want to create a healthy relationship after a divorce it is important to take a long honest look at yourself and the part you played in the breakdown of your relationship. It is also important to look at what type of person it will really take to build that healthy relationship with.
If you have a habit of choosing selfish people who don’t care about you it might be time to change your ‘type’!
2. Age Isn’t So Important Anymore
I married a man who was seven years older than I was and when I was single before meeting my ex-husband I always dated guys who were older than me.
Now I am older age doesn’t seem to matter as much as meeting someone who was on the same page as I was.
Women tell me that men want to date younger women and some do, but many men don’t want to do that. They want to meet someone to who they can relate to.
Nowadays, many women are also looking for younger men.
I would say, though, beware of the trap of the younger person. For the men out there, it may mean having children all over again. For the ladies, younger guys may see them for a while but may also want children.
That is why I say, being on the same page is much more important than someone’s age or an idea of who you would like to be with. It needs to be based on how well you will get on rather than being based on their age.
If you are able to date younger people it may give you a short term confidence boost that often doesn’t lead to anything more.
Once you’re an adult, people mature at different rates. How old you start to become less important than other factors.
Second Lesson After a Divorce:
Age can be a trap people get into and miss out on wonderful singles. Life experience, goals, attitude, and personality play a bigger part in whether you’ll be happy with someone than their age.
3. Online dating allows different behaviour that’s often bad!
Online dating allows people to say and do things they wouldn’t dare to do if they met you in person! This is also one of the reasons that online dating doesn’t work for people. You would never walk up to someone in a bar, hand them your phone number, walk away and expect them to phone you.
Nor would you go straight into asking them what their 5-year plan or goals for the future are. You would have a conversation with them, that put the other person at ease and that you both enjoyed before asking for their number or giving them yours.
The digital world also allows people to ghost (disappear without saying why), ask for sex within minutes of getting your number and all sorts of other questionable behaviour.
Just because you can do it doesn’t mean that you should.
Guys one thing to be aware of is the speed of the offers for ‘sex’, etc, is off-putting and even intimidating and rarely works.
For anyone thinking about trying online dating don’t let the horror stories put you off as there still are plenty of wonderful people online. I found that myself and so do the people I work with.
When you get back out there make sure you go into dating with healthy boundaries and knowing that just because someone may expect sex on a third date, doesn’t mean you have to go along with their expectations.
Ladies, men have wanted sex since the beginning of time and often say what it takes to get it. They did this in the supposed ‘good old days and they do it now! It doesn’t mean you have to say yes. I know that is nothing new from when I last dated!
The one thing I love about apps like Tinder is that they make it easy for you to be clear about what you are looking for from the very beginning! You either let people know if you are looking for something serious or casual when you start messaging. When you do this, it will save you a lot of wasted time on people who don’t want the same type of relationship as you do.
Not everyone will be who they say they are.
Unfortunately, there will always be some people who will tell you they want something when they don’t! Whether that’s saying they are single, telling you that they like you and then they ghost, saying they want to meet you but then not turning up for a date, even pretending to be someone they are not.
When you get back out there I recommend you pay attention to the red flags you see – they are usually true and a sign the person isn’t for you. Resist the urge to paint them into pretty flowers when they are warning signs.
You will need to know the signs of scammers (usually easy enough to pick when you know how – it is usually something that seems too good to be true and it is).
The other thing that you need to know is how people act when they are interested in dating you – their actions will ALWAYS speak louder than their words.
Maybe someone is saying they want to be in a relationship but only see you irregularly and when it suits them – this is a sign that their actions don’t meet their words. I experienced this firsthand and nowadays can pick the signs a million miles away! Pay attention to what people say and notice if they back that up with action.
There are plenty of flaky singles on dating apps, you know the ones who will message you every day but never meet you in person. Or they might arrange dates and cancel last minute. Don’t waste time on anyone who doesn’t make the effort. The person who is into you will always make the effort to meet you.
Don’t fall into the Scarcity Trap, where you feel there any enough people out there you want to date. There is no lack and I know firsthand there is an abundance of quality singles to choose from.
Third Big Lesson After a Divorce:
It is important to pay attention to what makes YOU feel good, not trying to win other people’s approval. Then you can quickly spot the people who aren’t ready and recognise the singles who are worth your time.
To Sum it Up For You
Dating after divorce can feel scary and maybe even intimidating. It may feel overwhelming but once you know how to go about it can be fun! I know this I am here to support you with the lessons I learnt the hard way so you don’t have to do the same thing!
I learnt how important it is to look at myself, my own patterns and to change them to ones that worked for me instead of against me. For a long time, I felt like a big fat failure because I failed at the one thing I truly wanted. I had to take the time to heal and let go of the guilt/shame of a failed relationship so I didn’t take the heartache with me into the next one. This is something I work with my clients with so they don’t waste as much time as I did!
I learnt to change the ‘type’ I dated and open my mind to dating people outside of this. Otherwise, if nothing changes, then nothing changes! Learning to have healthy boundaries and spot bad behaviour that I didn’t want in a new relationship.
You will be surprised what happens when you have healthy boundaries instead of walls and can open your mind to people who want to make you happy instead of being only worried about theirs.
Conclusion to be Successful After a Divorce
Finding love and healthy relationships can and does happen after a divorce. If you are struggling, please reach out. Not only do I know what works firsthand, but I have also empowered countless singles to get results without wasting their valuable time. All you need to do is book your free discovery call here.