September 16, 2016
According to the American Psychological Association, in Western cultures, more than 90 percent of people get married by the time they turn 50 years old. 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the US, however, get divorced. And the divorce rate for second and third marriages is even higher.
According to the Witherspoon Institute, there are a number of factors that may contribute to a couple’s uncoupling: the age at which you get married, the age difference between spouses, marital history, family history of divorce, children (both had and desired), and sexual history.
Now, I’m not sharing this information to depress you or to make you think twice about getting married, or married again. What I am saying is that if you are divorced and looking to date again, you’re in very good company. What may have been considered taboo before is more commonplace now. In fact, I often have clients who prefer meeting another divorcée so that there is a common life experience on which to build a bond.
If you were married for a very long time, as many of my clients have been, online dating can seem especially daunting. Match.com was founded in the 1990s, as was JDate, so if you were looking for love before that, these sites were not yet an option. Dating today is a lot different than it used to be. As we learned from Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance, we used to look in our own radius for a partner. Ansari references a 1932 University of Pennsylvania study that showed that one-third of married couples had previously lived within a five-block radius of each other. And, if you remember, my parents met because they were next-door neighbors!
In these times of technology, dating is not necessarily better or worse—it’s just different. If you’re recently (or not so recently) divorced and are looking to get back out there, then it’s important to have some perspective with online dating, so please keep these pointers in mind:
- Remember that it’s just a date.
All you’re committing to when you agree to meet someone is a date… not marriage, not a ten-course meal. It’s just a date with some hopefully good conversation. I previously asked, “What’s the whole point of dating?” Feel free to read this as a refresher.
- Be accurate and truthful.
Just as you want your date to have posted recent photos and told the truth about his or her age and height, your date wants the same of you.
- Don’t create a fantasy in your mind.
Until you meet someone in person, there’s no way of knowing whether you have chemistry or not. No number of emails or phone chats can change that, so get to the in-person meeting sooner rather than later.
- Don’t badmouth online dating on an online dating site.
It’s one thing to be a bit nervous, but it’s another to project your cynicism on others.
- People are just people.
Just because you’re meeting someone from an online dating site, that doesn’t make him or her any different from someone you meet “in real life.” There are the same risks and the same rewards. Many people think someone online is scarier for some reason. I don’t know about you, but I encounter plenty of scary people on my own block… and they’re not from an online dating site!
In the end, it takes time to make a connection. Don’t go in expecting to meet the next love of your life in a week or a month. Just like anything important in life, it will take time. You’re not alone.
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