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Debbie Burgin Headshot

The Ten Commandments of Dating After Divorce

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1. Thou Shalt NOT Make Thy Date Sit Through Stories of 'The Ex'

Seriously, this one is important like nothing else. No one wants to hear stories about how your bat-crap crazy ex wore rain boots to bed. Take it to therapy with you.

2. Thou Shalt NOT Involve Thy Children

I don't care how well-adjusted they seem, your children don't want to know about how nice the man who brought mommy home is, or how cute the woman who daddy's seeing is. In their minds, meeting the 'new beau' just solidifies the fact that you're moving on. Keep your "good news" to yourself.

3. Thou Shalt Date Like Crazy

Unless he's got teeth growing out of his shoulders and a hump on his back, date as many warm bodies as you can (note that I said 'date', not 'sleep with'). Give yourself the chance to get to know as many different personalities as possible, so you don't settle for that man/woman who treats you like a dog, thinking that you can't do better.

4. Thou Shalt Make the First Move

A first move is really nothing more significant than starting a conversation. It's no biggie. I know lots of women who wait for the man to make the first move. They generally date less than those who're perfectly fine playing the dude, and going for it first. Lots of men like a woman who will take that kind of control. Why should HE always have to do the work? If you want him, go GET him!

5. Thou Shalt Take the Time to Get to Know Thyself Before Dating Again

Jumping back into the dating pool simply because your ex is dating doesn't do you OR your prospective dates any good. You'll quickly end up visiting the first Commandment, dragging your pre-divorce baggage into your dating life to beat some poor unsuspecting bugger over the head with. Take the time to get over your divorce baggage, figure out who you are again. In a way, you have to 'rewind the clock' to looking at who you were before you were married. Only THEN are you somewhat ready to play nice with others.

6. Thou Shalt NOT Ditch Thy Friends in Order to Date

Ladies, breaking plans with girlfriends or altering your schedule if dating conflicts occur is a definite NO NO. Men don't change their schedules for us, they simply work around it, and you should too.

7. Thou Shalt NOT Give a Damn What Others Think About Your Choices

Far too often, we put too much stock in what others ie: friends and family will think about the fact that we're dating again, or about what they will think of your latest 'prospect'. Put it aside. Use your own best sense. Follow your gut. Nothing is better than that.

8. Thou Shalt Get a Wardrobe Inspection

If you haven't been in the dating game for a few years, your closet is likely full of styles from God knows what era, and you probably have the same "do" that you had when you got married. Having someone with some fashion sense give you an honest physical inspection is one of the best tips for dating after divorce. In order to attract others you have to be somewhat attractive, plain and simple.

9. Thou Shalt Be the Person You Want to Date

It sounds a bit self-centered but let me try to explain it delicately; Humans are visual beings for the most part...especially you men. If you won't date that woman with the extreme muffin-top, you need to ditch the third-trimester beer gut. Capiche?

10. Thou Shalt 'Look Up'

Lately, there's been a ton of talk about how difficult it is to find decent, 'normal', warm bodies to date. Divorced or not, dating is difficult anywhere, especially if you're afraid to take a chance. I was asked in an interview recently why I think that dating is so difficult, and quite frankly, I think the reason is twofold; Firstly, like I said before, we're afraid to take a chance. Men don't want to talk to the cute brunette in the coffee shop because they're afraid of getting shot down. Same goes for women. Big deal. So you get shot down. It won't kill you.

Secondly, we don't 'look up'.

Because of all of the social networking that we do, we connect on a technological level (ie: Twitter, Facebook, dating sites, etc.), but we've become totally anti-social in the real world. The next time you're in a coffee shop, take notice of how many men and women are completely ignoring each other, because whatever's on the iPhone or Blackberry is more engaging. Ludicrous!

People! LOOK UP! Connect with the humans around you! Talk to each other! Ask the brunette if you can buy her coffee! I promise you it won't kill you.