Dating after divorce sucks -- plain and simple. I am not speaking from personal experience, mind you. But at this point in my life, I have several close friends who are searching for The One yet again and they all have one common complaint. "Going out with a guy is so different than it used to be." Indeed. If you've been married and out of the dating game for the last seven to 10 years, it's an entirely different world these days, and I'm not just talking about texting, sexting, or tweeting play-by-plays throughout the night. You have changed too. You may communicate differently, have evolved your values, and are consumed by things a single man just can't relate to. All that makes for a very awkward first date if you are not careful. As one girlfriend put it, "I always seem to say something that freaks them out." Adds another, "Dating is so bad it makes me miss my a**h*** ex." Fear not, ladies. We're here to help. Here are 10 tips on dating -- successfully -- after divorce.
- Ask him out. Some women still refuse to do this, but it's the post-millennium, folks. If you are interested in a guy, go for it.
- Don't just assume he's paying -- even though he damn well should. It's a whole new ball game these days. I have a friend whose date actually expected her to foot the entire bill because she made significantly more. Your best bet is to plan to go dutch from the get-go. This will avoid that tense moment when the bill arrives and you both eye it unsure of what to do next.
- Don't bring up your "no sex on the first date" rule at the start of the evening. I have a friend who makes a point of mentioning this before even ordering. Each time, she says her date seemed offended by her assumption. You may want to make it clear that you are not easy, but find some way to approach it later in a flirty, non-abrupt way.
- Don't even think about bringing up your ex. Yes, he was a huge part of your life and there is a lot you still want to get off your chest about him. But just pretend he doesn't exist for the night. Even if your date asks, just change the subject. You don't want to be remembered as the date that whined about their ex all night.
- Along the same lines, don't complain about your kids. It used to be that complaining about your roommates was cute and funny. The same doesn't go for bitching about your kids. It's a big downer. It screams, "I have a bunch of problems I am going to dump on you immediately." Of course you want him to get to know you, but don't scare him off.
- No comparisons. If a guy admits he isn't handy or can't cook, don't tell him what a culinary genius/Mr. Fix-It your ex, father, or son is. Sure guys like a little macho competition, but this is just annoying.
- Don't limit dates to the weekend. These days, people are more open to meeting up whenever.
- Ditch the "I want more babies" talk. If you love being a mom, it's easy to lapse into endless conversation about them and gush about wanting more. But a first or second date is just too soon.
- Experiment with flirty texts and pictures. The last time you were on the market, this didn't exist and it may seem silly at first. Try it out. It's a sexy way to keep up interest and intrigue. Just no nude pics please!
- Talk about politics and religion. A lot of dating advice books say this is a no-no on the first date, but what are you waiting for? If his stance on the right to choose is a deal breaker, why not get it out of the way? You don't want to waste his time or yours.
What other rules should you follow for dating after divorce?
More from The Stir: