Actress Hilary Duff recently told Redbook that dating after divorce sucks.
The Younger star split from ex-husband Mike Comrie in 2014, the father of her four-year-old son Luca, divorcing two years later. She went on to date trainer Jason Walsh, but the romance fizzled out in November, and she’s since been linked to musician Matthew Koma. She says reentering the dating scene has proven challenging for her. She told the magazine, “I never think being single sucks until I go out in L.A. with my girlfriends and the options are terrible. I really attract the old men!”
While I agree with Duff that dating after divorce definitely comes with a unique set of challenges, it only sucks if you let it.
If you’re divorced and looking to meet someone, here’s how to get the most out of online dating.
1. Make sure you’ve let go of your past relationship and are ready to date again.
If you’re still holding on to a lot of anger, resentment and ugly feelings from your split, you’re going to bring that into your dating life and it won’t be good. It’s not about whether you have baggage or not (we all do), it’s how you deal with it. Make sure you’re in a good place emotionally before you seek to bring someone else into your life.
On the other hand, even if you have dealt with all of the feelings associated with your divorce, you might not feel ready to date and that’s totally okay. Don’t try and force it. Trust that you’ll know when the right time comes to put yourself out there again.
2. Get over the idea that online dating is for “losers.”
It’s not. Everyone is online these days. I can’t help but wonder if Hilary Duff thinks dating and going out in Los Angeles “sucks” because she’s trying to meet people in the wrong places (ie. bars, restaurants) instead of online. If you’re looking to screen singles via their interests, values and relationship goals, online dating is a stress-free way to explore your options.
3. Have a clear idea of what you want out of the experience.
Are you looking to find another serious relationship or meet people you can go on occasional dates with? Be clear about what you want and include it in your profile. There’s no point in falling for someone that only wants something casual or vice versa.
4. Be honest.
No good can from from hiding who you are and what you’re about. Be confident. Instead of using that photo from your 1998 senior prom where your hair “looks amazing,” use current photos that show what you look like now. Also, don’t be afraid to be yourself and showcase your personality in your profile. You’re looking to meet someone who likes you for exactly who you are now.
5. Coffee or drinks is almost always a better option than dinner.
Keep the first date casual and light. Dinner is a big time commitment – especially if you don’t end up hitting it off with the other person. Also, watching a virtual stranger eat or having them watch you? Awkward. Instead, opt for something casual like grabbing a coffee or cocktail. If you don’t feel a connection, just use the exit strategy you have in place (I.e. “I have to be home by X time to relieve the sitter.”)
6. Don’t use dating as a chance to talk about your divorce.
While it’s tempting to go there – especially if you’re both divorced – keep talking about your exes off limits, at least for the first date. Instead, focus on upbeat topics like your interests, passions, goals, places you’ve traveled etc. If you’re nervous about making small talk or verging into awkward territory (divorce talk,) come up with a few questions beforehand. For example, what would be the first place you’d travel if you were given an unlimited airline ticket? What books have changed your life? What’s on your bucket list?
7. Take it easy.
Remember: this isn’t a race. Take it easy and use dating as a way to get to know what you want out of a relationship (because, likely it’s changed since you got married the first time around.) Have fun and meet as many different kinds of people as possible. When a relationship feels right, you’ll know.
That’s it! The process won’t be fast and it won’t be easy, but getting back out there is a must. Unsure which dating websites are credible and optimized for a divorcee? Try these Top 5 Dating Websites – there’s no time like the present!