When you get together with or marry someone, you are hopefully not thinking that one day you will separate or divorce.
But if indeed that does end up happening, you are seldom, if ever, ready for the turmoil such a life event can unleash.
I married hoping it would last forever.
But some years down the line, when things weren´t working out as planned, marriage counseling, seminars, trial separations, vacations, did not help us.
When we parted ways, I felt a deep sadness for us and for our children.
But, being the one who took the step of leaving, I also felt a burden lift off, and I quickly regained hope.
At 45, I could not imagine that my dream of building a tight family unit was forever dashed.
Because our marriage had been long dead and we had in fact been leading quite separate lives under the same roof, when I walked away, I felt it was simply the physical manifestation of a reality only we were aware of as a couple.
I was ready to take on the world and was certainly not closed to finding a partner again.
In a little under a year, I met the love of my life. We married five years later.
My former husband, on the other hand, was not so ready to date again.
It took him a few years to get his feet wet.
I even told him it would be healthy for him to join a dating site, but he would hear none of that.
He eventually met the woman he is now happily in a relationship with.
So it´s not the same for everyone.
I don´t think there is a timeline that fits all of us.
Not everyone is ready to plunge into the dating pool a year after divorce.
While some are ready to venture out there even before they are legally separated. I would focus more on on logistics and feelings to make that decision. But ultimately nobody know you and your heart better than you do!
As a woman with this experience and the author of a book on finding love again, here are my tips to know whether you are ready to date.
1.- You are living on your own.-
I don´t recommend dating if you are still living with your ex-husband.
Whether it´s for financial reasons or for the kids, it´s just not the best way to start your new love life.
Any potential partner who is serious would most likely not approve of your living arrangements.
Would you, if it were the other way around?
2.- You feel good about yourself.-
You have worked out the pain and anger you may harbor towards your ex.
Your self-esteem is high and you know your worth.
You can´t step out into the dating world when you´re feeling vulnerable.
You need to be ready to face rejection (it will happen!) before you find The One, and not take it personally.
3.- You have foolproof child-care arrangements.-
I once knew a mom who would take her young daughter on her first dates!
I would not recommend this for many many reasons, one of them being that the children don´t need to meet all the guys you ever have coffee or a drink with.
Second, it´s dangerous.
And third, it´s just not fun for anyone.
Make sure there is someone to take great care of your kiddos while you are on a date.
4.- You know what you want/don´t want.-
You need to be certain of the qualities you desire and also the traits you won´t tolerate in a potential life partner.
Only you know what those are.
It´s important to take your time in discovering what some of your non-negotiables are.
This needs to be established with a cold head, not when you are already falling in love.
Keeping dating fun and safe
So, once you know that you are in fact, ready to date again, it´s important to keep the experience enjoyable and safe.
Whether you indulge in online dating or are set up on a blind date by a friend, there are ways to make it a positive experience.
Make sure you always tell a friend where you are. Or, better yet, share your location with them.