Moving forward after your marriage has ended is challenging. One challenge you will likely face is figuring out how and when to navigate the dating scene. The Cheat Sheet spoke with Markie Keelan, a relationship coach and licensed professional counselor candidate. Here’s what Keelan had to share about divorce and dating.
The Cheat Sheet: Dating after divorce can be a nerve-wracking experience. How do you know when you’re ready?
Markie Keelan: When is anyone ready to date? That’s a hard question to answer, but those who are newly divorced or in the process of going through a divorce give it a lot more consideration than the majority of single folks. I think the better question to ask yourself is ‘What do I need to be able to come to a new relationship the way I want to?’ Typically, after a divorce we have a negative self-view on how we do relationships. Give yourself time to heal your connection to self and once you feel like you are ready to meet new people as the person you are proud of, and you are confident you can authentically connect, start putting yourself out there.
CS: Is there a guideline for determining the best time to try dating again?
MK: I’ve heard a while back a general rule of thumb is for every year you were together, wait that many months. But honestly, depending on what the reasons were for the divorce, it could take days, or it could take years to grieve this relationship trauma. Don’t let a time frame determine your journey toward love.
CS: What are some pros and cons of dating while you’re separated?
MK: Some pros of dating when not legally divorced include speeding up the process of “letting go” of the failed marriage. Many people can punish themselves due to feeling like a failure in their marriage. Don’t punish yourself. Reflection is wonderful, but be honest with yourself, notice what you would like to change, and put action to your thoughts. I also consider a pro of dating prior to becoming legally divorced is your ability to see what’s out there. Maybe you are unsure if you really want to go through with the divorce. Try dating to see if this divorce is the right choice for you.
The con of dating before legally divorced includes potentially becoming involved with someone who is uncomfortable with your legal status of married still. Make sure you are being honest with your partners to avoid awkward conversations in the future.
CS: How can you heal after divorce?
MK: A great method of healing after divorce is a commitment to healing your heart. Some relationships can be similar to an addiction to another person. Take your time and be gentle with yourself when it comes to your process of healing; everyone is different. You may be more or less triggered than you suspected you would be. Go with your own progress and try to let go of negative judgments of yourself.
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