THE BLOG
05/07/2013 02:57 pm ET | Updated Jul 07, 2013

Divorcing Negative Views on Dating: 5 Tips for Dating After Divorce

Dating after separation or divorce can be exhilarating and fun, quite different than before you were married. You are now more mature and have greater life experiences than any other time in your life. Dating is an opportunity to ignite change in your life after divorce. Creating an open attitude towards dating and adopting new strategies can turn dating into a fun new interest that gets you active and builds confidence.

Dating can be good for you at most stages of your divorce -- you just have to decide when you are ready. Once you feel comfortable enough to engage in a conversation with a stranger, you can start dating. With dating sites, it's even easier because you can set filters for someone who matches your lifestyle and priorities. Online, you control the level of contact you have with people you might be interested in dating.

Other perks to dating include getting you active and out of the "poor me of isolation." Whether your date is 15 minutes at a coffee shop or an hour-long hike at a nearby trail, it's practice, getting you out of the house and providing an opportunity to learn more about what you want in a future partner. Activity and leaving your home are actions that remind your mind and body that you can move on. It's perfectly acceptable to take a break from your own drama because it allows your body a chance to detox the overwhelming emotions you are feeling.

Talking about your divorce is neither sexy nor appropriate on the first few dates. Mention that you are divorced or going through the process using only a few sentences. At this point in dating, you should focus on yourself and the positive aspects of your life. Talk about your interests and what you'd like to accomplish in the future.

Coming out of divorce, you don't need to listen to those naysayers who say that dating is a raw deal. Instead update your dating skills so that you will have a positive experience. Keep the following five tips in mind to keep dating fun, entertaining, and engaging.

No Pressure
The first date is an opportunity to get to know someone, nothing more. There is no lifelong pressure with the date. Really, dating is having a short conversation with someone you don't know. Having a conversation is simple. Keep the topics harmless. In a short time you will know whether you want to continue having a conversation with someone or not. Remember, dating is just for fun. It's for finding the person you like talking to. Remove any pressure from yourself by taking out a purpose or plan behind the date. There is no need to plan a fantasy relationship in your head. This just creates anxiety for yourself. Try not to think beyond the date or get caught in your own past. Each date is a clean slate and a new chance.

Body Language
Your body language speaks volumes about you, more than you might realize. Knowing your body language and being aware of your postures can help others be more comfortable around you. Here's some basics: Slouching and having your arms crossed can read as disinterest. Leaning forward and making eye contact show you are interested. You can be flirty by smiling, making eye contact, and allowing yourself to giggle and laugh. Use your body as a tool while you date. Be aware of the language that it speaks and use that to your advantage. Also, read your date. If they are interested, keep the conversation going. However, if their body language shows disinterest, cut your losses and move on to the next one.

Keep It Easy
Dating is all about conversation and discovery. Find common ground by talking about safe subjects that you are interested in (hobbies, books, food, favorite places to travel). This is your chance to find someone with shared or similar interests. If you are passionate about something, share it. Your passion can have a contagious effect on your date. Even if they have no knowledge of your interest, seeing you light up about it will encourage them to open up and will show that you are a dynamic and interesting person.

Exit Strategies
Sometimes, the conversation doesn't go well. It happens. Instead of feeling uncomfortable or staying in an awkward position, keep your exit simple. Saying "It was nice speaking with you; take care" and walking away is enough. You don't need to explain or overanalyze. Listen to your gut. Remember that dating is fun. You don't have to like everyone you meet. Conversely, not everyone is gong to want to continue a conversation with you. When your date wants an exit, give it to them. Leave the awkwardness behind by keeping your dating strategies easy. So that conversation didn't work; there are hundreds of more waiting to happen.

Stay Present
Meeting someone new is about staying in the moment and creating new memories. Have fun with your conversation talking about who you are now, Interact with others by paying attention to the flows of conversation. Respond with interest. The great thing about dating is that it gives you a chance to get to know someone differently. In order to know them, you need to listen and respond. Think of questions you can ask about their interests. Model good listening. Avoid talking about the past or your relationships. You are in a new place and the past is behind you. There is no need to explain the details of something that is already over, especially your divorce. Listen to what your date says and ask questions.