Entering the dating world after a divorce can be very challenging, to say the least. I had gone through a very challenging divorce battle for several years, was almost 30 with a child and the experiences that were coming my way, where well, quite disastrous. I didn’t really want to get remarried at the time and the more men I met the more I felt like I should stick to that decision. One of my favorite songs during that time was “The more boys I meet the more I love my dog” (although I am cat person 😊)

After enough time to regroup and heal from the heartbreak, I decided to start putting myself out there again. At first I was thrust into a pool of disarray and confusion that triggered a lot of fears in me. I took a step back again and started analyzing the experiences and see if I could find a pattern or common denominator. I also got super clear with what I needed and that being alone is not that bad after all.

Here are some tips that I hope will help any women re-entering the dating world:

Discover your own patterns: The first guy I dated for a while, seemed nice, intelligent and kind of intriguing, yet something felt off. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but after a while it was clear that he had a serious addiction and was controlling. Interestingly, I discovered a pattern between the men I attracted, my ex, and my childhood role models.  The journey of awareness was anything but simple or easy, but understanding how my childhood formed my inner beliefs and how these inner beliefs attracted that energy back into my life was a life changing revelation for me.  I got myself onto a mission to heal that belief system and to work hard to build myself from within, so I can finally attract the right man into my life. It took some time, but guess what? IT WORKED!

Take the time and space to really heal and learn to love being with yourself: One of the hardest thing after a long term relationship ends, is feeling alone. You have gotten used to being with someone, whether good or bad, it was a companion who took space up in your life and with that gone it feels like something is missing.  That feeling might make you want to jump into a relationship with someone you just met and I know how tempting that can be, but I am here to tell you to take a step back and take time for yourself. Take time to really heal, to really understand yourself better and understand what transpired in your marriage. Take time to learn to love yourself, to truly care for yourself the way you would want a man to care for you. Know that the way we treat ourselves dictates how others will treat us. That is why it pays to take a little more time to heal and truly love yourself enough, so you can truly find the men of your dreams. Remember, being in a relationship isn’t a guarantee for happiness, being in the right one might be.

Don’t waste your time thinking you will change him: If you are looking for a long term relationship, commitment or marriage don’t waste your time thinking you will make this new guy you just met who seems to just want to party change his mind. You won’t! So many women make this critical mistake to shut down their intuition and give time and energy to something that will never happen and ultimately hurt them. Know what your values are, what you are willing to sacrifice and what not. Get really clear for yourself and if the guy doesn’t share the same values and desires he isn’t right for you. Don’t think he will fall in love with you and change. The change won’t last and ultimately it won’t work.

Time is on your side: experiencing someone in different settings can give you a lot of clarity about who they are. I find that most women who miss the red flags the second time around didn’t take enough time and create enough experiences to really get to know the new love in their life. If he/she cares  and supports you they will give you all the time you need. If they don’t it may be a potential red flag and something you should be wary of. Last week I had a client share with me that she was dating this guy who knew when they started dating that she had made a commitment to teach abroad for six month. They dated very short and right after the engagement he started pressuring her to give it up and get married sooner. The way he disregarded her dreams and desires was a clear indication of who he would be as a spouse, needless to say they broke up.  Anyone who truly loves and supports you will give you the time and space you need.

Expect to mess up: It is normal to mess up once you meet someone you really like. You are nervous, kind of rusty and feel uneasy with this new dating again process. The fear of getting hurt might manifest itself on different occasions and it is possible that the guy will be confused and overwhelmed by you. I remember when I met my now new husband I was really afraid of letting go and truly allowing myself to fall for him. I kept on resisting and holding back and every time it got more serious I ran away. Luckily he loved me enough to stick around and wait till I was finally ready, but I know that I messed up several times. The best thing you can do, is be patient with yourself and accept that you will make mistakes then try and be open and honest at the right time and learn how to communicate your fears and feelings without making the guy run for the hills.

Be strong, be brave: it is very scary to get back into the dating world after being hurt. I remember telling myself and my family I would never get married again. I had done it, had a child and felt too afraid to try again. It took a long time till I met my current husband, but mostly because I wasn’t ready.  You will discover parts of yourself that you never even knew where there.  Be brave to take the dive, be willing to fall and fail. Try and fail, try and fail, but never fail to try. Be willing to potentially experience pain and emotions you have never felt before or didn’t know you have.  Accept that you will make mistakes, embrace your perfect imperfections and be willing to try again. Sometimes all you need is a second chance, because time wasn’t ready for the first one.

Last but not least, one of the things that really helped me during the dating process was shifting my mindset. I went from thinking that marriage is the be all and end all to thinking that it is just another chapter in life. That way I knew that if the chapter was meant to be written it will come…. It was just a matter of the right time and the right guy.

“Second chances are not given to make things right. But are given to prove that we could be better even after we fall”.