Immediately after a divorce, dating again seems impossible. After you’ve taken some time to heal, though, you need to get out there and meet someone new. Dr. Gian Gonzaga, senior director of research & development for eHarmony Labs, offers these suggestions for getting back into the dating scene. Gonzaga is author of Dating the Second Time Around — a guide to dating after divorce.
Make sure you’re ready.
Any breakup — whether due to divorce, bereavement or mutual agreement — requires a period of grief and adjustment before you dive into dating again. If you are still emotionally affected by the past relationship, you will be difficult to be around and won’t attract the kind of person who will be best for you when the good times return. Recognizing the lessons you need to learn from a relationship takes time; usually, we can’t see them until the immediate emotional consequences are past. The length of time this takes varies from person to person, but it should always be roughly proportional to the length and importance of the relationship from which you are emerging.
As people age, social circles diminish or change. Those coming out of a divorce may find dating difficult because there are fewer opportunities to meet other singles. Online dating provides an opportunity for singles to expand their networks outside of their existing social circles.
Different services focus on different types of relationships. For example, eHarmony focuses on helping people find a great long-term relationship by introducing partners who are highly compatible with each other. On average, 542 eHarmony members marry every day in the U.S. as a result of being matched by eHarmony, according to research conducted with Harris Interactive in 2009.
Strive for compatibility.
As people get older, they develop clearer pictures of themselves. Personality becomes more crystallized and less likely to change. If you meet someone at 15, you’re likely to be quite different by the time you’re 20 — but if you meet someone at 45, you’re probably not going to be that much different by 55. This places a bigger premium on making sure you’re compatible from the outset because you have less room to grow toward each other in a second-time-around relationship.