If you are separated or recently divorced you may be looking for guidance for dating after a divorce. If you are middle aged and were married a long time you may have forgotten what things were like when you dated last, may have have forgotten courtship rules, and may be wondering how things have changed in the world of dating.
I covered these topics in some of my other articles on middle aged dating but this post is about feeling more sensitive to dating rejection than you did prior to divorce.
This is not a subject I have read anything about yet, but rather something I have learned from my own experience as well as from talking to others. One book I read did mention that online dating was so full of rejection that the author eventually stopped doing it all together and decided to stay single for the rest of time.
If you are the dumpee, i.e. you got dumped, or the relationship was fairly mutually ended, you may feel very rejected. Feeling rejected is just one of many negative feelings you will have after separation or divorce in addition to anger, grief and depression.
I have had dates were both of us were fairly newly divorced and you could tell that we were both so sensitive to more pain and rejection that it drove the main portion of the dating process. I don’t remember anything at all like that when I was younger.
Sure I would be sad and angry for awhile after a big breakup but when I met a new person the guards were not up and when it did not work out I pretty much shrugged it off. Now I recoil with a disproportionate amount of pain.
I am reluctant to date anyone who has been divorced for a long time because they have healed and are way more resilient to any rejection. Even the normal stage of attraction called “uncertainty” seems like a torturous process to me.
I realize that, in navigating dating after divorce, I need to get past this sensitivity in order to participate fully in the dating process. I feel like I can’t allow myself to be myself and get rejected so I keep a front up when I do date. Then the person does not really get to know who I am and the point of dating is missed.
Guidance for dating after a divorce: How long will it take to get over this sensitive phase?
It helps to deal with unpleasant situations if you know how long they will last, like when the dentist tells you he will be drilling for 5 minutes not an hour. I read that the first 6 months after separation are the worst; just pain, pain and more pain. This was true for me. The second 6 months are about figuring out who you are again and what you want. I still had lots of pain during this time but it was bearable.
Now in my 15th month post separation I am feeling noticeably stronger and happier. People tell me I look better too. I feel like I still need another 8 months to heal but I guess I won’t know until I get there and everyone is different. I have met people who needed as few as 2 years and some who needed 8 years to heal but that is just a small sampling.