Getting back into the dating scene after a divorce is a process. You may take some time to learn to be on your own again, or you may just not have the time now being a single parent. Some people don’t wait and jump right back into the game. The problem is that the game has changed pretty significantly over the last few years. If you were married for any length of time and are now dating for the first time in a long time, then things are going to seem really strange.
As with everything else in the world now, dating has gone online. While there had been online dating sites for a long time, it wasn’t something everyone did. Well, welcome to the future of dating. Fire up your cell phone, download one or several of any number of apps, set up your profile and jump right in.
Let’s take a step back. Before you jump in, the rules on dating have changed along with the technology and it is good to have a few guidelines for utilizing technology for getting out there.
Don’t pine for anyone.
Here is the first truth of online dating: the chances of someone you are interested in replying back to you is pretty low. There are a lot of people online and people are possibly getting multiple responses to their ads and profiles. It is unlikely and unnecessary for someone to respond back to everyone who reached out. Don’t sit by the computer trying to analyze what other people are thinking and doing when you have not even talked to them yet. Don’t cause yourself stress and anxiety trying to be a mind reader and absolutely do not read into anything or take anything personally.
Detach yourself from the outcome on first contact
Once you send someone a message or an email, let it go. You may or may not hear back from the person. Online dating is a numbers game. Do not latch on to the first person you see. Send out messages to people who you are interested in, but cast your net wide. The more people you contact the greater your return will be.
Do not invest in anyone too quickly
This applies to anyone regardless of how you meet: do not invest in anyone too soon. Get to know people. It is nearly impossible to get to know someone as you should in only a couple of dates. Don’t cut yourself off from other possibilities too soon. There is no rush here. It takes a while to get to know someone and even longer to trust someone. If you move too quickly you may find yourself in a place you do not want to be and, more importantly, you may miss out on the person you will really want to be with.
People’s social media profiles are their “highlight reels”. If you set your expectation on someone solely on their dating and social media profiles, it is almost guaranteed you are going to disappointed once you meet and get to know the person. Almost nothing is as it first appears. From a person’s looks to their attitude, sense of humor or their seeming never ending vacation of a life they present to the outside world. Do not presume or assume anything about a person. Don’t build someone up in your mind because that will only lead to the person never meeting your expectations and this not fair to you and it is not fair to the other person. Get to know the real person. Take profiles, pictures and descriptions with a grain of salt. Assume too much and you will be disappointed, but if you go in without expectations, you may be pleasantly surprised. Or you may want to run screaming.
Do your research into online dating and the sites you decide to use. These dating sites are a business. They are selling a product. That product is a dream. The dream of successful dating, the dream of getting remarried or dream of a fantasy. Keep your expectations realistic. There is research that shows that about a third of the people on the online dating sites never meet anyone. Be mindful of the world you are entering and keep your feet in the real world. The point of dating is to have fun. Don’t put too much stress on yourself. If the process is not fun, then maybe you are not ready for it.
Life, as time, moves forward regardless of what is going on in our lives. The process of divorce can be a long and drawn out process and in the end, there are a long list of changes and transitions that have to be taken care of. Through it all, the kids continue to have their lives which mostly revolve around school. Back-to-school time can be a very exciting time for kids. They are looking forward to seeing their friends after the summer break. It can also be a very stressful time for kids with not knowing how their new teachers will be or what the work will be like. It can also be a stressful and expensive time for the parent, especially newly divorced parents.
There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself and your kids for getting back to school after a divorce.
Tell the School
It is important to let the school know about this major change in life. Some school systems have programs for kids of divorced families that they may be able to take advantage of. School teachers and counselors are also a great resource for families and kids. They are also very often a great outlet for kids who often feel comfortable talking to teachers and counselors. It is also important for school officials to look out for any related behavioral issues that need to be brought to the attention of the parents. It is possible that kids who are frustrated at home may start to act out in school.
School administrators, teachers and counselors should know some of the details of the divorce, including any custody issues or concerns they have about the kids. In the event that the divorce was contentious and there are ongoing custody issues, the school should know if they are able to release the child to the non-custodial parent.
Create a routine
When there is one parent at home, getting the kids to school and getting them home from school can be extremely difficult when that one parent has to work. Often, morning and afternoon routines vary from day to day based on work schedules and who will be responsible for the kids before and after school. This can create chaos and confusion for everyone involved. The more chaotic things become, the more important it is to have a routine for things. Make a calendar that clearly states what the plan is for each day of the week. This way everyone knows what is going to happen every day and be prepared for it in advance.
It is important to keep an open line of communication with your ex. Both parents may be part of the ballet of getting kids to school and getting them home. There are also things like homework, school functions, sports, after school activities, and parent/teacher meetings that both of you need to be a part of. If there is no proper communication, there will be issues and miscommunication. This can lead to being late for school, a missed pickup, or missing other activities which would cause the children to feel stress and anxiety. Whether you choose to directly communicate or use email or text, make sure the conversation is ongoing. Most importantly, even if you have issues with your ex, unless there are underlying issues of safety related to an ex, there is no reason for the children to be exposed to those issues.
Talk to your kids and listen to them
It is always important to talk to your kids. Even the smallest things can be a major part of their lives. During a major transition like a divorce, it is vital to talk to your kids and listen to what they say. You also have to listen to what they are not saying. They may not know how to communicate what they are feeling and it may come out in different ways, such as acting out or showing signs of stress. Talk to your kids. Also know when you may be over your head and consider the possibility that your kids may need to talk to a therapist. Most importantly, let the kids know they are loved and that they are not the reason for the divorce.
Parents often learn quite a lot about how their children are coping with divorce simply from letting them speak their minds. This will also give divorced parents a better idea for how to mentally, physically and emotionally prepare their children for changes in and out of school.