Going through a divorce is one of the most challenging life events a person can experience. The longer your marriage lasts, the harder it can be to move on with your life after divorce.
It can be terrifying to get back out in the real world after being on the sidelines for a long time. After all, the dating scene has changed immensely in the last two decades. Many people have trouble figuring out how to get back into dating in their 50s after a divorce.
We’re here to give you some simple pointers to help you escape the awkwardness of trying to start dating again after you’ve gone through a divorce. Dating in your 50s after a divorce can be as fun as when you were a teenager. Here’s how.
Put Yourself First
When you finally start dating again, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement. You start feeling those giddy emotions that make you feel young again.
But many people make the mistake of putting their dating life first and foremost. Maybe you start canceling plans with friends to go out with someone. Or you go on a date to do something that you don’t want just to make your companion happy.
When you get back into dating while you’re in your 50s, it’s important to remember to carve out some you-time. Embrace a hobby. Take yourself on a date and buy yourself gifts. Treat a friend to dinner. Or make a kind gesture for a stranger.
It’s great to get back into the swing of things as long as you remember to put yourself first sometimes. You are as important as the person you are pursuing.
Learn Who You Are Now
When you divorce, it’s reasonable to start questioning who you are as an individual. Throughout your marriage, you were half of a whole. Now, you’re on your own.
Many people who go through a divorce end up at a midpoint in their lives. You suddenly realize you’ve completely lost your self-identity. Sometimes, things that used to appeal to you are no longer of interest.
Some activities could be a painful reminder of your past. Or maybe it was things that you did because it’s what your partner enjoyed and you just tolerated but never liked.
Being divorced gives you the chance to reinvent yourself. You can discover new interests and do things you’ve always wanted to try but never got the time.
And dating lets you meet new people who share the same interests. A healthy relationship can start as a friendship bonding over shared interests.
Wait Until You’re Ready
One of the hardest things about getting divorced is trying to find the courage to get back out there and start dating again. Honestly, it’s one of the scariest things we can experience in our lifetime.
When you’re married, you become accustomed to sharing your life with someone. A person that knows you inside and out. Someone who knows your secrets, weaknesses, and imperfections. And when they leave, you lose that shared connection.
It’s natural to want to fill that empty hole with a new person. Everyone keeps telling you to let the past go and move on. Get back on that horse. So you decide to agree to some blind dates that go disastrous. Nothing feels right. And you start to lose hope of ever finding the right one.
This is a typical case of jumping into the deep end without knowing how to swim. You’re trying to date before you’ve completely come to terms with the ending of your previous relationship.
One of the worst mistakes you can make when getting back into the dating scene is doing it too quickly. Trying to get over a divorce by moving on to a new person can lead to disastrous results.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
When you find yourself single after a divorce, it’s easy to fall into a routine that helps you get through day by day. You skip plans with your friends to stay at home and watch TV. Dinner is more appealing as takeout than dining in.
And your weekends are spent piddling around indoors with a hobby that allows you to embrace your introverted nature. Going out in town and socializing with the world requires an effort you just don’t have in you.
It takes time after a divorce for you to find a new rhythm. Start with baby steps. Say yes to your friend’s invitation to go bowling, even if you’ve never been. To move on with your life after a divorce, you have to embrace stepping outside of your comfort zone.
When you feel like staying home, grab dinner while sitting at the bar instead of getting it to go. Treat yourself to a good time, even if you’re doing it solo. As long as you keep doing the same things, you’ll stay stuck in a rut and never move on with your life.
To heal, you need to find something in life that excites you. It doesn’t have to be a relationship. Find a hobby. Travel. Adopt a pet. Give yourself a reason for living that doesn’t revolve around being part of a couple. There is freedom in being single if you see it as a blessing to start a new chapter.
Make Relationship Goals
When you’re dating in your 50s, you’ve got some life experience built up in regards to what you want to accomplish. Use these life goals as part of your criteria for a new relationship.
By now, you should have an idea of what you want to do with the rest of your life. If you have dreams of traveling the world when you retire, you certainly wouldn’t want to start a serious relationship with a homebody who wouldn’t go with you on your travels. What fun is touring the world alone?
Family is another essential aspect to consider. At this point in your life, you may or may not be ready to start a family. You don’t want to waste time with someone who doesn’t have the same family goals.
If you already have children, you’ll want to make sure you date someone who can integrate into your family. You’ll want someone who won’t get resentful when you plan a dinner for everyone instead of just the two of you.
Dating means having to open yourself up to a stranger. It means being vulnerable while you talk about those painful moments that you hate to relive but are an essential part of who you’ve become.
But it doesn’t mean that you have to lay your soul bare to every person you date. It’s natural to want to establish a connection with another person, but you shouldn’t rush into anything.
Take your time and ease into dating. Get your cue from your companion on what’s safe to talk about and what you should hold off on for another time. The majority of us don’t get it right the first time around after a divorce.
We have to go through a few contestants before finding the one who’s worthy of more than a few fun dates, and some primary get-to-know-you chit chat. Instead of trying to force a connection, allow yourself to have fun.
Go out with people without having expectations. Don’t think about what you could do on the next date while you’re in the middle of the first. Keep the conversation simple and get to know each other.
Invest the time to see if there’s any potential. Even if you strike out, you’re adding to your list of what you would want in the right one. If the person isn’t right for you, don’t give up and settle. The perfect person is out there. You just have to be patient enough to find them.
Going through a divorce late in life can be terrifying. By this time, you’re looking forward to your future. For years, you’ve made your plans around your marriage, imagining that your partner will be with you throughout your journey. And yet, here you are alone.
Many people that find themselves single in their 50s feel a sense of urgency to replace what they’ve lost. They feel the pressure of finding a new life partner to spend their days with, lest they run out of time and end up alone.
People, that is poppycock, utter nonsense. Unfortunately, the divorce rate is much higher these days than it was in previous generations. That means that there are plenty of people in the same boat as you, eager to find love and a place to belong.
Take your time and weigh your options before deciding to jump into a serious, long-term relationship with someone. This is your chance to get it right. To find the person who makes your life better. The person who you can plan dreams with that will come true.
Don’t feel like you have to start a relationship because you went on two or three dates with someone new. Allow yourself to get to know different people in various settings until you find someone who clicks.
Getting out of one relationship and straight into another rarely works if you didn’t take time to make sure that person is the right one. Did you try dating other people first? Or are you latching onto the idea of being in a relationship again?
Stay in Control
Being single in your 50s comes with a lot of challenges. One of the most complex issues is dealing with your friends and family. It’s not uncommon for your support group to talk you into going out on a date. Or to get out of the house.
Their hearts are in the right place, but often, these misguided attempts to get you out of your divorce funk will fail. No one knows when it’s time for you to move on but yourself. But that does not mean that you should board your windows and barricade the doors to prevent people from getting too close.
However, I will say this. Sometimes, you have to force yourself to be ready to move on, even if you don’t feel like it. Staying stuck in the past will not heal a broken heart. It will not remove that haze of anger and disappointment.
It’s okay to say no to your mom when she begs you to come to Sunday dinner to meet the lovely new neighbor. But maybe you should say yes to coffee to the friendly stranger standing in front of you. Love finds you when you least expect it.
Don’t go looking for it. But be open to it when it comes knocking at your door. If your children want you to create an online dating profile, give it some thought before you immediately reject it. It just might be exactly what you need.
Over the years, the dating scene has changed drastically. But in many ways, it’s an improvement. Many people over the age of 50 have turned to online dating to meet new people.
For some of you, it may seem strange to start a relationship with a stranger that you met online. But there are a lot of benefits to online dating that you may not know. For instance, meeting someone in person can be awkward.
There are uncomfortable pauses, not knowing where you’re supposed to look. Do you meet their gaze or keep your eyes on their chin? Should you mention your kids, your job? Is this person looking for a casual fling or a serious relationship? What do you have in common? It’s a nightmare.
But with online dating sites, a lot of the work has been done for you. On your profile, you get to list all the things you like and don’t like. You often mention your career, hobbies, life goals, your family, and other pertinent information.
When someone is interested in you, they can read all of this helpful information to determine if you would make a good match. If they send you a message, you can review their info to see if they would be someone to whom you’d want to respond. If not, you don’t have to respond. No awkwardness. No let down.
But if you are interested, you can start talking without the pressure of a formal dating scene. You can be in your pajamas, having a drink, in your comfort zone, while getting to know a stranger. Messaging gives you time to come up with a witty response, so you’re not stuck sounding like a weirdo if you blurt out something nervously.
Relationships aren’t easy. That’s why many of them fail. But just because you are divorced does not mean that you are incapable of having a healthy, happy relationship. It just means that your relationship wasn’t the right one.
If you want to be able to move on with your life and be happy in your future, you have to accept that your marriage might be over, but your life is not. You still have plenty of time to find the right person who makes your life precisely the way you’d always dreamed.
Get on with your life and embrace being single. Meet new people and do things you never thought you would try. Make changes in your life to get you closer to what you’ve always dreamed of. Now is the time to make yourself happy.
Even if you go on a dozen disastrous dates, you have to keep optimistic. You haven’t set your bar too high. It’s good to have standards. Having expectations keeps you from settling for less than you deserve. No matter how unrealistic you think you’re being, there will be someone out there who gets you.
Be open to everything life tosses at you. Life wasn’t meant to be fair. But you are meant to be happy. And your divorce does not define you. It is just another lesson that has taught you that love is worth taking the time to get right. Have patience. Have faith. And believe. You’ll be surprised at what happens when you just take the time to slow down and have fun. No pressure.
Getting divorced is never in a person’s long term goals. Unfortunately, it happens. But just because you’re suddenly single doesn’t mean that your life is over. It means that you have the opportunity to make your life better than you ever imagined.
Forgive yourself for being part of a marriage that didn’t work. Let your divorce serve as a reminder that you can’t always get it right, but you can never give up. Learn to love yourself again and discover who you truly are. Only then can you move on to start dating after divorce in your 50s.
You are in the prime of your life. Embrace it and live life to the fullest. Date yourself. Date others. And eventually, you’ll find the one you’ve been waiting on. You will survive. You will thrive. And you will be happy.