There are many theories about dating after divorce, and some even suggest that those going through a particularly difficult divorce may need one or two years before they are emotionally ready to make important decisions about their future. While this may be true in some cases, many couples emotionally separate, part amicably, or live apart long before the divorce is final. Deciding whether to date immediately after divorce is a personal decision and everyone should weigh the pros and cons of their situation before moving forward.
A rebound relationship occurs immediately after the breakup of a long-term relationship. Although it is a common assumption that these relationships fail at some point, there is very little evidence to support or refute this conclusion.
Theories suggest that meeting someone new may help:
- Fill the void that losing a spouse often creates
- Distract from negative emotions
- Restore a sense of self-confidence
However, those feeling broken, insecure, and shattered are most likely not emotionally ready to care for another person. Additionally, once these negative emotions regarding the divorce pass, it might become more than obvious that the new relationship is not a good long-term fit.
Taking Time to Heal
Although it may not seem like it at the time, feelings of betrayal, grief, and failure after divorce are normal and temporary. Taking time to process a divorce can benefit those who are hoping to meet someone new in the following ways:
- Resolve feelings of anger: Negative emotional states can affect our moods and conversation. Taking time to heal before dating will allow you to put your best foot forward.
- Learning about yourself: Spending quality time with your loved ones and taking time for yourself can remind you of who you are and what you value and enjoy in life.
- Discovering what you want in a new partner: Reflecting on what did not work in your marriage can point you in the right direction for future relationships.
Whether you are causally dating or beginning a new relationship, doing so as a healed and happy person will set the groundwork for a new, healthy relationship.
Dating When Children are Involved
Since children of divorced parents may still be hurting from the separation of their family, they are most likely not ready to see their parent with someone new. It is always wise to introduce a new romantic prospect as a friend first. Children under the age of five tend to form attachments very quickly, so it is best not to allow dates to spend too much time with your children until you are certain that they will be around on a long-term basis.