I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of emails lately from readers who express a fear of dating after divorce. Having experienced it myself, I can say firsthand that I don’t blame them! Dating after divorce is terrifying for anyone. Fear of dating, especially after divorce is very common, normal and understandable. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a great experience!
Here are a few of the emails I’ve received in regards to fear of dating:
I am a 56-year old woman, divorced for two years and I have yet to date. I am afraid of rejection so I don’t reach. I am very active, involved with my community and out and about, but my confidence and self-esteem are extremely low. Have any helpful hints to help me take the plunge??
I am an RN and I am in pretty good shape physically and keep myself well groomed. I am petrified to go on the dating scene and yet I am sick of feeling loneliness. How after 30 years do I get the confidence to do that again? I hate the dating sites but don’t know how to meet someone. I joined a hiking club but no luck. I would appreciate any advice.
I feel that all of the men I talk to want just sex; they don’t want to get to know me. I seriously feel like a piece of meat.
I want to offer some advice for those who fear dating after divorce, and it’s pretty simple. I have three words to say to you:
Dating. Isn’t. Personal.
What??!! How can getting together with someone in a one-on-one situation not be personal??? It doesn’t get any more personal than that, right? Here’s why I say that dating isn’t personal.
Let’s say you go out with someone once or twice or even a few times, and the person decides he or she doesn’t want it to go any further. It’s not really personal, because that person doesn’t know you well enough for it to be truly personal. He or she has only scratched the surface of you, and if they didn’t like it, then why does it even matter? It doesn’t! Sure, it might feel disappointing if you wanted to keep dating, but why would you want to date someone who isn’t head over heels for you, anyhow? You wouldn’t. And, it might be a little bit surprising or a little bit of an ego deflator, but toss those thoughts in the trash. Dating means leaving your ego at the door.
Dating is a process. It is scary, and to meet someone that will mean something to you, you have to display vulnerability, which isn’t always easy. But remember that all you need is ONE person. Just one.
I’ve always felt like going on a first date is a bit like a job interview. In both cases, two people decide to meet to accomplish a few objectives: learn more about the other person, see if there’s chemistry between them, and determine if they wish to get together again.
There are also similarities in the outcome of a job interview and a date. After the interview, let’s say the company doesn’t call back to schedule a second interview or extend a job offer, and the applicant receives a rejection email. The person might feel surprised, angry, frustrated, or resentful of the company’s decision. Those same feelings might apply when someone goes out on a first date and the other person doesn’t want to go out again.
But there’s one big difference between not getting a second interview and not getting a second date: in dating, the rejection feels personal, and again, it shouldn’t!
Here are 5 reasons why rejection in dating isn’t personal:
1. He or she might not be emotionally ready for a relationship.
That is something you can’t control and that can be attributed to bad timing.
2. The person might have low self-esteem and think you aren’t interested.
Dating someone with low self-esteem is a bad idea, so consider yourself lucky if that’s the reason he or she didn’t call you back.
3. He or she might have commitment issues.
Totally out of your control, if someone doesn’t want to commit to a relationship, do you really want to continue dating that person?
4. Something might be going on in his or her life.
You have no idea what else is going on in the person’s life. Everyone has some pain, and maybe getting involved with you (or anyone) just doesn’t feel doable right now.
5. He or she just didn’t feel a connection.
That’s OK! Remember, it’s not personal.
The thing is, I’m not going to tell someone who has a fear of dating after divorce that it’s going to easy, and fun all the time. Dating is like a roller coaster, with ups that are filled with hope and happiness and warmth and laughter and excitement and heart stopping moments, and times things go rapidly downhill, with disappointment, anger, frustration and hopelessness that only losers are out there in the dating pool.
But I truly feel like the best attitude to take to alleviate fear in dating after divorce is to:
1. Not take it that seriously.
2. Try to see something good in every date.
3. Be open-minded.
4. Have a nothing-to-lose attitude.
5. And most importantly, LOVE yourself the way you are and if he or she doesn’t like it, be OK with that.
You’re going to do great!