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Ask Dr. Zoe – How Do I Start Dating After Divorce?

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‘Ready to Date Again’ Asked:

After a 20 year marriage failed, almost 10 years of counseling and working on myself, I’m ready to date again. But how do I trust again? How do I get out there to find the “right” guy? I thought it would happen naturally, but it hasn’t.

Dr. Zoe Answered:

Congratulations!! You have done the hard work, and now comes the fun (and a little more work).

“Meeting naturally” is an interesting idea. Plenty of people assume that if they meet purposefully then somehow there is something less natural about their beginning. I call that hogwash. You can naturally meet plenty of people who are not relationship material. And you can purposefully meet your soulmate if you are willing to weed out the junk.

dating tag boardSo, your first task on this dating journey is to get rid of the self-limiting belief that you and Mr. Perfect need to haphazardly bump into each other in the produce aisle, lock eyes, and know that you are destined to love each other forever.

Wise women are completely intentional about their dating. And dating is vastly different these days than it was 30 years ago. Just a little warning—30 years ago, you had a pool of single men all around you in school or the workplace. Now, you are in a different season of your life, and it’s just not likely to happen “naturally.” I highly recommend that you jump into the world of internet dating.

Finding the right guy means weeding through the junk (and there is plenty of that on the internet), but the gems are out there, too. It’s wise to “put yourself out there” as well, by joining groups and organizations related to your interests, where you could possibly meet like-minded people.

The bigger question is how do you learn to trust again? You start by honoring that your fear exists to protect you. The problem is it can easily slip into overdrive. Your job is to pay attention so that it doesn’t sabotage your life.

It’s scary to think that you need to figure out a way to trust a stranger, when you’ve learned that you can’t even trust people whom you’ve loved.

But is it others you need to learn to trust… or yourself?

A good bar for determining whether you are being overreactive is to ask yourself, does this feel more about what’s happening right now or more about my history? This question helps you figure out if you need to check your paranoia or move forward with investigative caution.Single woman tag board

You have worked on yourself for 10 years. You are not the same woman who chose your husband or who was lacking boundaries in other relationships.

You don’t need to trust anyone else—just yourself. Trust that you will seek good counsel. Trust that you will not ignore red flags. Trust that you will be honest with yourself and will walk away a million times over rather than compromise yourself in any way.

Above all, know that if someone proves untrustworthy, you have the skills to care for yourself well, and you will be okay.

Congratulations for getting to this point in your journey. This next chapter is as exciting as it is terrifying. I trust that you will continue to work on yourself, and know that all the work you’ve done to this point will be the vehicle to get you safely where you want to be.

Out of a relationship and want to make sure you are your best self before finding Mr. Right? Give this podcast episode of This Grit and Grace Life a listen: How to Embrace Your Singleness and Thrive With Jessica Hutton – 146

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Dr. Zoe is a licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert who recently jumped out of a perfectly good plane just for the experience.

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