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Dating After Divorce For Men: Find Your Perfect Match

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Once you’ve dated around, it’s time to focus on finding an amazing partner.

After the trials and tribulations of divorce, it is best to recreationally date for a while; to just have fun. I call this Step One of the Dating Two-Step. When your life is back on track, and you have mastered recreationally dating, you can switch to long term committed dating, which I call Step Two of the Dating Two-Step. At step two, you are looking for the love of your life. You will have certain criteria (more about this later) that must be met by the woman you’re dating. Follow the five tips below to navigate your way across the dance floor with your Two-Step to find the dance partner of your dreams.

1. Are You Ready to be Authentic?

Long-term committed dating requires being authentic, and that takes self-confidence and high self-esteem. It means being vulnerable. Open up and honestly show your date who you are. If she likes the real you, great! If she doesn’t like the real you, then move on. Isn’t it better to find this out early on, rather than spending time and money in an ill-fated dating relationship? The longer you spend dating the wrong woman, the longer it will take you to find the right woman.

There is so much to be gained by being authentic and so much to lose by not being so. This is a great skill to develop. You can practice with a men’s group or with a men’s relationship coach. I can assure you that if you are authentic, your dating experience will be ten times better than if you are not. I can also guarantee you that if you are inauthentic, you will get yourself in trouble, sooner or later.

2. Are You Clear About Your Requirements and Wants?

Long-term committed dating demands that you are clear on your “requirements” and “wants.” Requirements are elements that you must have in your relationship. They cannot be compromised; they are your deal-breakers. For many people, honesty and monogamy are non-negotiable requirements. Wants are things that are important to you for your relationship, but are not absolutes; there is some wriggle room. For example, maybe you want a non-smoker. Your date is a smoker. When you look underneath your desire for a non-smoker, you discover that the smell of smoke bothers you, and you want to stay healthy. Your date is willing to work with you. She states that she will only smoke outside and will freshen up before reuniting with you. That might work for you.

Examine your past relationships over the last 30 years. Make a list of all of the things that you liked about them. Put the qualities and traits that you cannot live without on your requirements list. Next, look at the qualities of past relationships you didn’t like or were negative. I suggest you turn these negative qualities into a positive spin and create additional requirements. For example, “can’t be addicted” should be turned into “addiction free.”

Now you have a complete list of requirements or deal-breakers. When you are in a long-term committed dating relationship, once you ascertain that a woman does not have one of the items on your requirement list, you must stop dating her. You cannot have a happy, successful relationship when one of your must-haves is missing.

Examine you “wants,” or the items that are important to you but are not absolute deal breakers. Create a second list called “Wants.” Having your requirements and wants lists will help you sort through the women you meet in long-term committed dating. Remember, you cannot compromise on a deal breaker or requirement, but wants are more flexible.

3. Are You Clear About Your Sexual Desires?

There’s a good chance that during your estrangement from your ex-wife and during the divorce you were not having sex. If you had a long dry spell, you might be anxious to have sex again. First of all, now that you’re over 50 realize that things are not the same as when you were 20. Syphilis and gonorrhea have been joined by 18 to 23 other sexually transmitted infections/diseases (STI/STD’s) and the number of people infected and are carriers has dramatically increased over the last three decades.

Be prepared to protect yourself. You may want to get a blood test to have proof that you are not infected. It is common for men going back into the dating world after a long dry spell to feel uneasy; concerns about rejection and sexual performance abound. Be easy on yourself. Once you start long-term committed dating, it is best to make sure you are with the right woman before getting involved sexually. Good sex, especially after a long dry spell, will make you think you’re with the right woman… even if you aren’t. Make sure you discuss the role of sex in a relationship with your potential partner to see if your opinions about it line up. Balance your heart with your mind. Know what you are looking for in addition to great sex, and don’t settle unless you have both.

Dating After Divorce Advice For Men: You Can Get Back In The Game

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When your divorce decree comes through, the idea of dating is daunting. But don’t let that stop you!

Your divorce is a major life event. Depending on your circumstances, when that final divorce decree comes through, you may have many different emotions. You may be thrilled that the long process is over and you’re finally free to move on. You may also be sad that your dream to live happily ever after with your ex didn’t pan out. You may be angry for a number of reasons. Maybe the divorce process didn’t go your way or perhaps you are angry with yourself for letting a good relationship go south; maybe you are still angry at your ex for cheating on you. You may even be afraid of your new life alone and the prospect of asking women out (and you thought you were done with that when you got married!). Finally, you may be ashamed that you are now a divorced man.

Below are tips to navigate the post-divorce turbulent waters. You can find confidence and new love.

1. How Ready Are You?

The biggest mistake that men make after divorce is jumping into the dating scene too quickly. This is a time for you to get in touch with your feelings; admittedly something we men generally don’t do well. This is a time to heal and regroup, to look within to heal your battle wounds from the divorce. The worst thing you can do is quickly get into a rebound relationship. From a practical viewpoint, women want to have fun with you. But if all you can talk about is how angry you are at your ex or how sad you are that your relationship is over, you won’t be fun to be around. Most importantly, you don’t want to make the same mistakes from your marriage in your next relationship.

Find support for your healing process. Join a men’s group, go to therapy or talk to friends who are willing to lend an ear. Just make sure you give yourself the time to get in touch with and resolve your anger, grief, and shame. It is typical to feel like the anger or sadness have subsided, and then to have them resurface again. Don’t worry! Although you feel like you have slipped backwards, you really have made progress.

Finally, this is the time for forgiveness. While a door has closed, a new one has opened. Work with a coach, counselor or clergyman on accepting what has happened and moving on. To do this, you must forgive yourself for whatever you feel you did wrong or could have done better. You will also be better off if you can forgive your ex. This doesn’t condone her actions; rather it acknowledges that she is human and could have done better or done something different. Forgiveness is not about who was right or wrong, it’s about you finding a space of healing and peace of mind. These are all great traits to bring into your next relationship.

2. Is Your Life Purpose And Life Vision Clear?

We men often need a purpose greater than a relationship to keep us happily moving forward. Since your divorce has upset the apple cart, this is an ideal time to think about your life purpose and your life vision. On the one hand, you may not be able to make major logistical changes since you may have alimony and child support to pay, along with partial custody of your children.

On the other hand, you are back on your own. You made be able to make small, tangible changes in your life. Get in touch with what you really want to do and how you want to live your life. Your life purpose is what really makes you get out of bed in the morning. Your life vision is what you want to have around you, and being confident in that is attractive to other people.

While you may not be able to make major life changes at this point in your life, you can still start moving in that direction. For example, you might start working on a new business plan or gain skills need in your new business or career. These small steps will invigorate you. You’ll be excited about building that dream, and, as such, will be have exciting things to talk about with your new dates.

3. Have You Learned From Your Past Relationship Mistakes?

After my divorce, the last thing I wanted was to repeat my mistakes again in my next relationship. In any failed relationship, both people are responsible for its demise. It is very easy to blame the other person and attribute the failure to her and her actions. If, however, you do not look at yourself and your behavior and what part they played in the failure of the relationship, you are doomed to repeat those mistakes in your next relationship.

You must be brutally honest with yourself. Ask yourself “What did I do wrong, and where can I improve?” Are there skills that you need to develop or hone? For example, I recognized that I needed to learn to (1) listen better, (2) apologize when wrong and (3) validate my spouse’s feelings. These are three great places to start.

Examine all of your key relationships (including family) for the past 20 or 30 years to determine what patterns show up. Since you are the common element in all those relationships, you are likely to garner some enlightening information about yourself. (I know it is hard to believe, but some of the things your ex said about you could have been true). Be proactive: ask your family and friends to provide you with feedback about your behavior in relationships. It’s difficult to look at ourselves and admit that we made mistakes or can improve in certain aspects of our life, but as President Garfield said: “The truth shall set you free but first it makes you miserable.”