Married life is great if you’re happy but of course, it’s not the same type of love as when you first met. So, it’s not unusual for your married friends to be curious and eager to chat about your dating life simply because it’s interesting (or so they think) and exciting compared to a date night with their partners.
There is definitely a clear difference in the conversations around dating when I talk with a divorced person vs. a married person. The divorced person already knows or has a gist of the reality you face whereas the married person has ideas about it that are either rooted in fantasy or perhaps, horror!
At the end of it all, your married friends want to see you happy and loved—whether it’s self-love from you or coupled love with someone else. Truly, at the bottom of all their curious and nosy questions, there is a love that radiates to you hoping for your happiness. Remember—these were the people who most likely saw you at your very worst in your marriage: unhappy and brokenhearted.
Okay—so the first date out the door or one with someone you’re really excited to meet can genuinely be very exciting! However, most of the dating scene is not so exciting. Your friends think you’re going out there and meeting eligible person after eligible person, getting sexy for each first date, when really you’re approaching each first date as a mild experiment.
Your friends don’t realize that as you head out the door for that first encounter, you’re hoping:
It really is a process, and most of us will kiss, talk or share coffee with a whole lot of toads (female or male) before we find someone that piques our interest and we can talk about with glee.
Your married friends think you should ditch the drama-filled, ex-wife/husband having candidates, and find yourself a young date. Why? Because it’s sexy and thrilling and hell, the younger they are—the less baggage. Cue Demi Moore with Ashton Kutcher. Cue exciting thoughts and fantasies from people who can’t sleep around (unless they’re in an open marriage.)
The reality is, some of us will date younger partners, but not many of us will:
There’s nothing wrong with a little fun or a lot of fun, but the reality is if you are a divorced parent seeking a younger partner, the divide shows up pretty quickly and it’s usually not a tenable situation.
Cue squashed fantasy.
Sure, you’ll have some sexy dates after divorce, but your married friends think it’s like TV-level hot passion sprung from two adults who need to be revived after their bad marriages.
Yes—that is true, but the real deal is that dating after divorce involves incredible amounts of juggling!
The biggest juggle of all is schedules—especially if you’re a divorced parent! The amount of back and forth and coordinating between your schedule and your date’s takes circus-like coordination. Let’s not forget babysitters that may need to be called. Activities that must be in question. It’s really complicated sometimes.
Then, add the complexities of work and family commitments. When we are younger, we had less responsibilities and more time to devote to “hunting out” a proper partner. The balancing act cuts into some of the sexiness but of course—never let that aspect die!
Your married friends mean well: remember what I said in my intro … they want to see you loved and happy again! But, this means that they will mention any and every single divorced person they know to you with the thought that maybe your “divorce journeys” will make you suitable mates. I’ve had so many people offer their divorced cousins, neighbors and spurned family members, ad nausem.
The reality is it’s extremely awkward and uncomfortable to have to tell friends that you don’t want their help unless by chance you want to get set up with their divorced mailman.
Just because you’re both divorced, doesn’t mean you would make a love match and in some cases, it’s hard to get involved with someone your friend might know. And I’m not talking about a person your friend genuinely thinks is a good fit for you—I am talking about the many people who will mention random “anybody’s” to you in a rushed attempt to get you coupled.
If you trust your friend’s judgment, by all means, go for it, but don’t be afraid to say no to the person’s cousin’s friend’s divorced accountant.
Dating is definitely a mixed bag after divorce. Everyone has a different experience. Some may find it more fun than others and some may find it easy and others not. It is challenging to get out there after such a big relationship in your life has ended, and so you should be proud if you have even ventured to get out there again. It takes a lot of courage to begin again and start anew. The reality is just because you lost in the first round, doesn’t mean you should give up in round two. Keep putting your best self out there!