"All discarded lovers should be given a second chance... just with someone new."
- Mae West
As a divorce coach, I often watch my clients jump from the hot bed of separation and divorce right into another disastrous relationship. When we lose our lovers through a divorce, it is often the case that we run right into dating as a way to build our self-confidence and fill the void within our hearts. But are we ready? Really ready? Or are we setting ourselves up for another heartache?
Going through a divorce can be so lonely and isolating -- let's face it, it is hard to be in a bed alone when perhaps we have shared that space with someone else for years, even decades.
I heard a very wise person say to me, "the way to get over someone is to get under someone new!" The line made me laugh and think... all too often we get into bed with someone new and bring so much baggage from our past that it is uncomfortable and impossible to really connect and create a lasting relationship.
I think before dating we have to examine a few things about ourselves first:
1. What is it we want from dating?
Do you want a lasting relationship or a one night stand? Be honest! No need to feel ashamed that you want it all or perhaps you want to keep it casual. Here's the challenge: You must be willing to convey what you want with whom you are dating. No lying or compromising values to keep the person around. If you do you are setting yourself up for disaster.
2. Do you tell the story of your divorce and/or still bash your ex?
Our past is important to share with a new partner, but if you are still dealing with feelings of anger, sadness or regret, you may need to still spend some time cleaning out your own heart to make room for something new. Don't jump into a new relationship if you're not over the last; it is unfair to the person you are dating.
3. Are you able to have the "talk"?
If you can't discuss sex, you shouldn't be having it -- period. You should feel safe in the relationship to be completely open. If you can't talk about things such as sexually transmitted diseases, monogamy or your wants in the bedroom, don't go down the path.
4. What are you looking for in a new partner?
Not what you don't want, what is it that you do want? I hear time and time again what my clients do not want in their new relationships, and that's exactly what they are attracting.The law of physics is "like attracts like." So focus on what you do want and don't settle.
5. What do you bring to the new relationship?
If there are things you want in a new relationship, make sure you are those things. If you want to date someone financially responsible, you must be financially responsible. If you want someone trustworthy, make sure you are impeccable with your word and a person who can be trusted. Would you want to "date" you? If not, work on that first.
After divorce, we are offered an opportunity to create a life based on our wants, needs, values and interests. Make sure that you are not looking for the next lover to give you a life -- you should have one already. This way, all new relationships will enhance the life you are already excited about and creating for yourself.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more