You have rustled up some courage to jump online and meet new people.
Isn’t it fun and a little bit scary? Boy did I learn a lot about myself during that time: what I’d like in a potential partner, and what I absolutely did NOT want near me.
If you have met someone you hit it off with, he’s not completely ugly, has all his teeth ( I met one with only about 6), and he can string a few sentences together, you might decide to get to know each other better. Things are about to get even scarier.
What does DATING mean once you’ve been divorced? Is it different from pre-married dating? What are the rules? Is he a psycho, why is he single? Will he think I am a psycho? How do you manage it with kids? What about sex?
I’ll touch on these from MY dating perspective, but as I am no relationship expert don’t take my findings as gospel, write me hate mail, or report me to social services in your area when YOUR date goes down the toilet.
Is it different from pre-married dating?
HELL YES! I am not the same person I was when I was 22. I have lived almost two decades since then, had 3 children, many disappointments and a failed marriage. Of course it’s different. You and your new man will both have baggage to unpack and deal with. You’ll each have different expectations about relationships, so make sure you have a conversation about this. You don’t want him pulling out a ring box on your second date when you don’t even know if you want a third one!
Being more mature this time around ( some may debate this) , I knew myself better, and knew what kind of person would suit me and my children. I had a few single dates where either I, or both of us were honest about the lack of chemistry. I am too old and practical to stuff around. If it’s not right for you, don’t force it.
The down-side of being more mature is that you may not be as sprightly as you used to be. You want to appear confident and sexy on a date, but are you really feeling it? This may mean brushing the cobwebs off the makeup drawer and tackling a hair styler thingy without burning your ears off. Choose an outfit that’s casual but one you feel great in. Wear those spandex undies if it makes you feel better. Nobody will ever know. ( unless you’re planning on getting further than first base on this date!) If he truly doesn’t like you, then he isn’t one you want to spend time with, so don’t get too hung up on it. There will be plenty more suitors online to fish out.
And smile, it’s always going to be your best asset. Unless you’re the guy with only 6 teeth.
What are the rules?
You’ll have to make this up as you go along as my rules will be different from yours. But here were some of my personal dating rules:
- NEVER meet them at your own home initially. There are too many stalkers and pervs out there who prey on naive people. Be smart and careful.
- I am old fashioned, he should still pay the bill! Boo me if you must, but I like a bit of chivalry and a take charge attitude. It shows me he’s confident.
- I never met anyone I hadn’t chatted with for a bit online first. At the very least, a few conversations over as many days. Anyone who asks for a meet up after only a ‘howdy’, is probably NOT looking to help you wash your car in a couple of months time.
- I was never keen on a first date kiss, though I admit to caving on a couple of occasions. One fellow who was rather nice, had a lovely dinner date with and great conversation, shared a few kisses at the end then mentioned he hoped his ‘separated wife’ wouldn’t smell my perfume on him as they still slept in the same bed at home because the children didn’t know yet! WHAT??? I hightailed it very quickly out of there after that and didn’t cave on a first date again. If someone is interested, they’ll stick around. I can personally vouch for this!
- If he doesn’t have kids, find out why. And if he doesn’t have kids OR pets…rethink whether he can share his life with anyone. Can you put up with someone who HATES dogs?
- If he’s still living with his ex, or his mother…get the hell out of there! It screams either money troubles or mummy troubles.
- Wait at least a few weeks before introducing each other to kids. That way you may have at least discussed whether the relationship is ‘just friends’ or something else. You certainly don’t want your kids messing up your suitors names if they meet too many, that could just be embarrassing.
Why is he single, is he a psycho? Will he think I am a psycho?
Don’t be so paranoid. He’s probably just as nervous about the whole dating saga as you are. Be open minded and honest.
Being divorced isn’t shameful these days: it means something went wrong, you were honest enough to admit it, mature enough to do something about it, and smart enough to move on.
Though if he was also divorced, I wanted to hear his side of the broken marriage story. If he’d cheated ( would he admit it though?) , eaten fruit loops in their bed, or hated children, I wanted to know.
How do you manage it with kids?
As carefully and tactfully as possible. It was easier for me because my kids went with their father every Wednesday and Saturday evening at that time, so I was able to arrange dates on those nights and my children were none the wiser. But once I met someone and we’d decided to spend more time with each other on weekends etc, it was a whole new ball game. Especially when they also had kiddies. It was a matter of introducing the new ‘friend’ slowly and keeping it casual. My children were old enough to get an explanation that Mum wanted some adult company. Initially my eldest was resistant, but that is probably not unusual. They are trying to work out where they fit in a new relationship and see their mother in a different light…as a woman.
It can be treacherous waters to surf in if you both have children. I have attempted this a couple of times now. The first was a disaster as our parenting styles were so opposite, the second was smoother as our children were similarly aged, but 6 kids was the Brady Bunch!
My only advice is this: If your kids don’t like your new partner or vice versa, it probably won’t last, no matter how hard you try…but that’s exactly the reason you should let it go. There’s a saying ” you can’t force a round peg in a square hole”…
What about sex?
So you’ve been seeing this guy for a bit ( time elapse will be different for each woman dependant upon morals, desperation or fear) , and it’s now time to ‘sign off on the deal’ so to speak. You are attracted to each other and it’s time to make that decision… do I want to have sex with another man after all these years? Alongside this question will be a host of scary others: what if I don’t remember how, what if I am bad at it, will he laugh at my jiggly bits, and what ‘maintenance’ is required beforehand?
Here’s the deal girlfriends: ( God I hope my mother never reads this!)
You will remember how as soon as he gets to the pointy end of the business. It’s a dance zillions of years old. Besides, he’ll be keen to remind you.
He’s a man, so he won’t think you’re bad at it. He’s more likely to be over-the-moon to be getting any. Besides, you might just find it liberating being with another man who is NOT your ex-husband. Perhaps you can explore that sensual side of yourself you didn’t get a chance to in your restricting marriage.
I doubt he’ll laugh at your jiggly bits. He probably has them too. Men don’t seem to see our bad bits like women do. They’re weird that way.
Pre-maintenance. Here’s where I had some shocks in my research at the time of early dating: ( Dear God, I am begging you now NOT to let my mother read this!) ‘au naturel’ body hair is not considered very sexy these days and maintenance is required. Here are your main choices: shaving, waxing or painful lasering. Not only do you have to decide on which way to go, you also need to make a choice on how much to get rid of. Oh yes, my friends, there are whole beauty businesses dedicated to making your bits as pretty as they can. I am also not just talking female bits too apparently. Do you just trim the edges, make weird and wonderful shapes, or go the whole hog and take it all off. Now, hold on to your undies, as there is also a trend to get yourself smooth, then glue on shiny jewels to make artworks! Yes, it’s true…google it. Prepare to be stunned!
Whatever floats your boat, I am sure your partner will be flattered you’ve made at least some effort to be tidy.
At the end of the day, the only way you’re going to get better at dating, is by actually dating. There’s no way around it my friends. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and hopefully have some fun with it.
You’ll most likely date a few lemons just for the experience, but this will only highlight when the right one actually DOES appear on your internet screen, and you end up having a 9 hour amazing first date without any hanky-panky, not even a kiss.
Now THAT’S a story to tell the grandkids…
Happy dating girlfriends…stay safe!