I’ve been divorced for three years after being married 17. My marriage almost destroyed me, and I’m fearful to get back out there again. I don’t want to end up in another situation like the one I was in – or worse. And the thought of trying to figure out how to date today at midlife freaks me out. But my daughter is telling me I’m too young to give up.
I’m afraid to try again and lose, or try and not find anything. I could never do 121 first dates like you did. Can I afford to take this risk?
– AL Mountain View, CA
Hey A –
Life is super-risky business and there are no guarantees, but any relationship that is worth having takes courage and vulnerability. I think the real question of love after divorce isn’t “Can I risk it?” but “Am I willing?”
You might not be. Do you love your single life? If you do, you should tell your daughter to worry about her own love life first, because you’re good — you found love after divorce — and that love is YOU. Single is a valid and empowered choice women make all the time, and I back their play as long as it’s just that—a choice.
Do you have a nagging feeling that you’re missing out on a big part of life by not being in a relationship where you can love, enrich, and contribute to each other’s lives in a major way? That without that kind of connection, you’d feel… underutilized? Then it’s worth the risk.
Hey, I’m not going to say finding love after divorce will be easy—although it might be. And I don’t think you should go on 121 first dates—that’s just excessive. (What kind of crazy person would do that??) But I do think you should take the first steps, because what you want and need for your life now is totally different from what you needed when you said “I do” twenty years ago.
Your first step is to figure out what you’re looking for. If you don’t know how to identify what you want, need, and desire in a partner besides things like “cute,” “responsible,” or “not the things that were lacking in my marriage” then consider picking up Finding Your Love, my self-guided tour to figuring out what the hell you want out there so you can find him faster.
Hot tip: If you aren’t clear about what you’re looking for, the universe doesn’t know what to give you, so you get random guys in return. Don’t date randomly. That’s how you end up on 121 of them.
Your second step is to figure out how you’re going to meet him. Do you have a ton of friends who can set you up with people they know? Do you belong to any social clubs like a yacht club, a photography group, or a book club? What about your faith? Could you go church-hopping? Are you willing to date anyone from your work? If the answer to most or all of these questions is “nope,” then I recommend you go online. It really is the place to go to meet people for relationships, and everyone there is online for the same reason, so your odds are much higher on Match or OKC than in, say, the Whole Foods organic chip isle.
That’s where you start. And don’t try this alone. Come get help from me. My Ready for Love telephone workshop was designed for busy women to get the grown-up information they need about dating today. Don’t forget to tap into the network of your single sisters who are on the journey with you, too. We weren’t exactly taught how to do this whole complicated modern dating thing, so your overwhelm is understandable—but it’s also fixable.