Women's Divorce Blog

14 August 2019

Life After Divorce?

The hurt and disruption caused by a divorce can make you question whether there can be life after divorce. How can I pick up the pieces and how good will the quality of life be after a divorce?

  • Give yourself time before you start dating again
  • Make sure you have examined and learned from your past relationship
  • Know what you are looking for
  • Understand the issues of remarriage, blended families, step-parenting
  • Have fun!

You are ready now to date again.  You have gone through the grieving process and thought about the issues around moving on.

Goals of dating

Start by thinking what you want out of dating.

  • Are you going to just enjoy the dates without long-term commitment?
  • Do you wish to meet new people to make friends?
  • Are you interested in short term relationships?
  • Are you looking for a serious relationship?

Your answer to these questions determines your dating strategy.

Lets get real

Forget perfection. Dating can be an awkward experience for many people. They feel they have to be perfect. You have to say the right things, dress the right way, like the right things, drive the right car and so on. The truth is no one is perfect. Accept you are not perfect and neither are any of the people you are going to meet while dating. A good relationship is where you recognize the flaws in the other person and love them because of it.

Getting the first date

If there is interest, you can ask if they would like to meet for coffee or other appropriate first date. For instance, at an evening class you could ask them to go for coffee after the class the following week. If you get a phone number, do call them and not 10 days later. Do not call too early in the morning or late in the evening. Again ask to meet in a public place and keep the conversation natural. 

First Date

  • Be neat
  • Be on time
  • Be clear about where to meet
  • Bring a small gift
  • Make alternative plans if outdoors
  • Be polite
  • Listen
  • Do not talk about ex
  • Relax and enjoy

The first date can make you quite nervous especially if you haven't being dating in a while. Relax. Remember they are likely to be just as nervous and wanting to make a good impression on you.

Dress neatly

Ask a friends opinion if you are unsure about your choice. Dress appropriately for the occasion. If you are going to a restaurant, call ahead and ask about the dress code. This saves any embarrassment later. Do let your date know if there is a dress code.

  • Concentrate on what you can control
  • Create a list of choices
  • Do a reality check
  • Act on your plan for your new life

  Moving on after divorce can be very difficult for many people. You have suffered major loss and have gone through the grieving process.

You are ready to move on

Firstly you do not have to rebuild the life you had previously. You now have the choice to create a new life, with new activities, friends and direction. The first step is to determine what you have control over and what you do not. Your divorce besides giving you freedom also creates legal obligations and so you need to accept those limitations. There may be choices you have made during the divorce process that also limit your control e.g. choosing to remain near the kids.

What are your expectations for having children in your second marriage? Are you both on the same page? How do you deal with differences of opinion?

Not wanting to have any more children

You may have made a decision not to have any more children after your divorce or even during your first marriage. If this is something that is still an important issue for you, you will need to discuss this expectation with your date as your relationship becomes more serious.

There are many reasons why someone may not want to have any more children such as not wanting to deal with childbirth, changing diapers and the other demands of having children. You may feel you are happy with the number of children you already have. Do explore this issue yourself independent of dates or partners and understand why you feel the way you do. If you are clear yourself why you feel this way, it will allow you to communicate this more clearly to your date or partner.

If you change your mind, make sure it is something you really want. Having a baby because you think it may save or strengthen a relationship or because your partner wants one are not usually good reasons. Having a child as you probably already know is a big commitment and you need to be completely sure this is something you want.

There is no guarantee that this second relationship will last though we hope it will. You need to understand that you may have to care for this child as well as your current children by yourself if the relationship does not last.

Does your date know you are divorced? When should you tell them about your divorce? What is the best way to tell them?

When to tell your date about your marital status

Perhaps your date does not know you are divorced. Some people have strong views regarding divorce and dating divorced people. It is good to tell your date as early as possible if you are divorced or not. While many people have no problem with it, some may feel misled if they are not told early on. It is good to know that your date has strong views up front rather than getting attached and being hurt by them.

When to talk about your divorce

Telling your date that you are divorced may lead to questions about your divorce. Try to keep your answers short and minimal. Tell them that you would rather talk about happier things right now but would be happy to discuss it at a later time. This way you are clearly saying that you are not trying to hide it but would rather return to this subject later.

Discussions of divorce on a first date are not usually a good idea because these are often negative experiences in our lives and therefore not suitable for a first date. The first date is about slowly getting to know the other person and enjoying their company. It is an evaluation also and nothing will turn off a date more than a tirade about how horrible your ex is and how awful your divorce was.

As you continue to date, your conversations will slowly become more intimate, detailed and more serious. The subject should naturally arise and the first time it is brought up, you can test the waters by providing some limited information and then see if your date has any questions or pursues the issue.

Hopefully you have reached a place where you have a balanced view of your divorce as part of your life history and not something you are reliving every day. Make sure you communicate that fact to your date so they are clear that you are not living in the past. Do not make your ex out to be the devil himself and do communicate how you feel you contributed to the divorce and what changes you have made. We all make mistakes. It is how we respond to those mistakes that matters.

When should you tell your date that you have children? Will they reject you because of that? What if you have shared custody?

When to talk about your children

If you met your date online, then hopefully you stated that you had children. Most dating websites have a section or choice regarding marital status and children. It is wise to own up to having children from the beginning even though many feel it hurts their dating chances.

If your date does not know you have children, find the first appropriate time to tell them preferably on your first date. Understand that they may feel that grounds for stopping the date or at least not dating you any further. This is a positive thing because it weeds out any dates that cannot accept your children and stops you wasting your time and emotional energy on them. You do not need to get into lengthy descriptions or stories but simply work it into the conversation and let them bring it up again or ask questions if they want to.

Why some daters will not date those with children

Depending on how you met your date, they may or may not know that you have children. Some people refuse to date those with children. There are various reasons for this. Some may have had bad experiences with other dates kids. Others do not wish to be step-parents and take on the sometimes tricky relationships that come with it. Others again wish to have their own children and are looking for a partner that would be 100% invested in their children, not "distracted" by children by a previous marriage.

Interestingly some parents will not date other parents for various reasons. Often they do not want to face the challenge of a large blended family. You also need to come to terms with what your preferences are. Regardless of how you feel about the legitimacy of their reason, you have to accept it and move on.

Is it OK to bring your kids on your date? What if my date brings their kids along to play with mine?

Your children's safety

Your kid's safety should always come first and dating generally involves meeting someone you know very little about and though it is unlikely, it is possible that they could present a threat to you or your children. Dating safety is much talked about these days especially with Internet dating but very little is said about child safety regarding dating.

Internet dating

Keeping your kids safe while you are dating starts with your profile online. Including photos of your children even if pictured with you, exposes them to risks. You have no control over who views those pictures or what their motivations are. It is best not to include any photos of your children on your profile and it is best not to send any photos that have your children in them by email or otherwise. Internet dating can lead to intense feelings for someone without even meeting them.

This can lead to premature trust and over sharing of personal information. This feeling can also lead people to bring their children on dates including even first dates. Having full custody of your children can make dating difficult and so there is even greater pressure to include children in dating encounters.

  • Take it slowly
  • Be sure before involving the kids
  • Prepare the kids
  • Be patient in gaining acceptance for the new person in their lives

Dating too soon

The dating parent should not introduce new people into their kid's lives until they have some stability in their life. Involving your kids with dating too soon after the divorce can create problems. The children are just dealing with the fact that their parents are no longer together and to introduce another person into the equation will make them feel even more confused and they may turn that confusion into anger directed at the "intruder". They may even associate this person with breaking up their parent's marriage.

Involving your kids too early in a new relationship may cause them further trauma if your new relationship falls apart. The last thing they need is to be exposed to another disintegrating relationship. Wait until you are very sure of your new relationship and both of you have realistic expectations of what a blended family is about. Even if your children express a positive interest in your dating life, it is best not to involve them.

Dating other parents

It is also best not to go on a date with your children in tow. This often happens when two divorced parents meet and have kids around the same age. They may even have met through their children. If your children are friends, then allow them to continue that friendship and keep your dating activities to when you have a babysitter and are away from the kids. Kids can build up fantasies of having their friend become their step brother or sister and this can cause them real emotional hurt if the adults' relationship falls apart. It may even affect the kid's friendship.

Think of how awkward it would be if your relationship with the other parent fails and your kids are still friends. do you want to jeopardize your child's friendships for the sake of dating the other parent? If the children do not know each other, do not introduce them until you are sure of the relationship and are ready for serious commitment.

  • Acknowledge what a difficult relative is saying (not agree)
  • Invite positive support from relatives
  • Be assertive with those that cross the line
  • Be wary of remaining in contact with ex relatives

Your relatives can be wonderful sources of support and help during and after a divorce. On the other hand, they can also interfere, offer unwanted advice and tell you everything you are doing wrong.

Difficult relatives

  • Try to acknowledge what they say without necessarily agreeing with them (often they just want to be heard)
  • Try to get another relative to intervene for you
  • Be assertive and talk to them directly but politely

Tell them while you appreciate that they are doing this out of the goodness of their heart but that you would like to live your life the way you see best and raise your child in the way you see fit. Also tell them that you would welcome their support.

  • Check whether an annulment is necessary and how long it will take
  • Make sure your  fiance is aware of all aspects of your situation
  • Make your new spouse your priority
  • Time and patience are needed to succeed at step-parenting

Many people remarry after divorce. The divorce rate is even higher for second marriages than for first marriages. Hopefully you understand what when wrong in the first marriage and have found your ideal mate for life.

Step families and blended families

This can be a very complicated but also very rewarding experience.

  • As a step parent, recognize that the kids already have parents even if you disagree with what they choose to do.

  • Try to act as a mentor giving guidance to the kids by your actions

  • Do not criticize the other parent around the kids. Make sure you truly cannot be overheard if you are discussing the other parent.

A step parent can become the calm voice between two feuding parents but beware this can be a very delicate task and can land you in a lot of trouble in your relationship with your new spouse if things go sour. Best to let a professional mediate if things are bad.

For blended families, discuss and decide what rules will be put in place for ALL the kids. Clearly communicate this to them and be consistent with everyone and follow through on any discipline.

Try to treat all the kids as equally as you can. You can make time for your own kids once a week perhaps if you would like but make sure your spouse can do the same and is in agreement.

The situation with ex-spouses can be doubled in blended families. This requires extra patience and skill in negotiating and communication.

Why are all the good men taken? And why do women perceive married men to be better than single men?

Were we trying too hard?

Men often ask why more women talk to them or even flirt with them after they are married and wish they had all that attention when they were single. We put it down to being more secure now we are married and not being so desperate!

Why are all the good men taken?

Strangely enough women often ask "why are all the good men taken?". They look at the available men and compare them to their married friend's husband and the available men do not compare favorably. A few may end up dating married men and miss the many available men who go to their local dive to use their latest pickup line. OK, I am kidding about that last part but something is going on.

Studies now indicate that it is not that married men are inherently better but rather women judge them to be better than single men. Being married gives an "attractive factor" to men.

When we get married, we join two separate though overlapping social networks together. Friends are introduced from both sides and an expanded network is formed. Over time, married couples tend to socialize more with other married couples and family holidays now include in-laws.

Divorce and personal networks

Divorce causes a break in that expanded network. After many divorces, you may no longer socialize with your previous in-laws. Friends often choose sides or drop out of sight altogether. Many divorcees find themselves with few single friends. One study shows that most divorcees experienced network losses shortly after the divorce and in half of the cases these losses were not compensated for in the later years after divorce. Divorce is in essence a break in our social network.

Why are social networks important?

Human beings have evolved to be social. We tend to live close together in large groups and cooperate to accomplish our goals. Take building a house for example. This involves a large number of people each with individual skills working together over an extended period of time in a cooperative manner. Having evolved this way, people thrive on social interaction. At times of crisis we depend on our social network for support much as a weakened animal would depend on the herd.

  • Poor communication can lead to divorce
  • Divorce makes communication more difficult
  • Beware staying in touch with your ex (no kids)

Poor communication has been identified as a major problem in relationships and can contribute to divorce. You should examine your communication style and skills after your divorce. This will help you in future relationships.

Communication with your ex - divorced singles (no kids)

You both can have a fresh start after divorce without the obligation to stay in touch so long as financial issues such as selling a house are completed.

The hurt and disruption caused by a divorce can make you question whether there can be life after divorce. How can I pick up the pieces and how good will the quality of life be after a divorce?

Don't Panic

For those of you who might be science fiction fans, you may remember the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. The Guide book was quoted as being very successful because " it has the words DON'T PANIC printed in large friendly letters on its cover". I often wish divorce lawyers doors and divorce books had those large friendly letters. Panic is not productive and while it might be natural, if left to control your life then it can lead to the kind of doomsday thoughts that make life after divorce so difficult.

The simple answer is yes, there is life after divorce. It is somewhat like the question of life after death in that you have to believe in it. Having faith that thing will work out and you can survive and even thrive. Life after divorce is not a spectator sport. Life happens and it is up to you what you want to do about it. In other words, your mindset and beliefs will play a big role in how you adapt and succeed in your life after divorce.

Lets break it down into the factors that most affect us


Losing the person we were once closest to ranks right up there with death of a spouse in terms of stress. However grief is a process not an endpoint. Having worked through the loss of divorce, there are new relationships to be found and they can be as good or even better than those you have had in the past. You can use the divorce to question your needs and fundamentally change for the better so you can have happier relationships in the future.

Loss of friends is another major impact of divorce. Friends may well choose sides or drop out of the picture altogether. While you may feel betrayed and hurt by those former friends, it gives you an opportunity to pick friends that maybe didn't fit with the married version of you. Finding new friends can lead you to new experiences and a renewed sense of purpose and enjoyment.

You're traveling through another dimension -- a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance. That's a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Friendship Zone!

The Friendship Zone

Have you got plenty of opposite sex friends but no one to date? Do you find yourself just friends with the guy or girl you would most wish to date? If so, you may well be stuck in the friendship zone. Like the Twilight Zone, the friendship zone can be a place of mystery and terror. The mystery: "Why haven't they noticed how much I love them?". The terror: "They better never find out I love them, it would ruin our friendship" And so you remain trapped in the fifth dimension forever.

How do you break out?

You have to do the scariest thing of all: make a decision. If you decide to try your luck and tell them your feelings, then you are taking a risk. While there is no guarantee of success, there are many examples of people finding their soul mate while breaking out of the friendship zone. If you decide just to remain friends, you must act on that and go look for dating material elsewhere and not remain stuck. Like the Twilight Zone episodes, your friendship zone experience may have an unexpected twist but you can be certain of thrills and excitement.

An interesting study from the journal Psychological Science presents data that suggests that married women are attracted to single men during the fertile period of their menstrual cycle and conversely attracted to partnered men when least fertile. Single women did not show this cycle of preference.

When coupled women were asked to think about having an affair, they chose partnered men over single men when they were in the fertile part of their menstrual cycle suggesting a subconscious mechanism at work.

Genetic makeup determines attractiveness

They suggest that married women during their fertile period are attracted to men with good genes but less emotional attachment and child-rearing skills. Men with better genetic makeup tend to be poorer partners and parents than men of lower genetic quality and so women may enter a steady relationship with the latter and have an affair with the former.

This theory argues  that females view males with good genes as so desirable, that to pass this high genetic quality along to their kids, they are willing to give up help with the child-rearing and support. Males of lower genetic quality may make up for their poorer quality genes by being supportive and helping in the child rearing. Good genetic quality was perceived by women as men who had strong male characteristics and appearance.

Copyright © 2015 - 2019 New life after divorce