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3 Rules for Dating After Divorce

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Marriage – the theory is that we’re in it for life, but roughly half of all first marriages end in divorce in the United States. Second and subsequent marriages have an even higher rate of divorce, which makes us ponder, “Why does the risk of divorce increase with each marriage?” It’s definitely something to think about, especially if you plan on remarrying after your divorce.

Some people ask serial husbands and wives, “Why do you keep getting married when each union you have ends in divorce?” Often, the reply will be something to the effect of, “I love being married. I’m the marrying-type.” For these hopeless romantics, they believe that once you fall in love, marriage is the natural next step.

If someone gets married and divorced twice, they’ve probably established a pattern: The beginning of the relationship is hot and heavy. They fall in love and rush to the alter. Maybe they were blinded by their partner’s exceptional looks or their money. But once the reality of marriage sets in, the couple realized they didn’t have much in common. They realized they were incompatible. They learn that they were so excited about the relationship, they were blindsided and ignored all the red flags.

If a person’s been married twice, they might have had poor judgement, but by the third marriage, it’s time to recognize it and deviate from it for good. Even better, divorced spouses coming off their first marriage should pause and reflect on what went wrong. They should identify the underlying issues and set a firm policy not to repeat the same mistakes while looking for husband or wife number two (who’s hopefully the last).

Signs You Hit the Jackpot

When your marriage ends in divorce, almost guaranteed there will come a time when you want to date again. It could be right after the divorce is final, or it may not be for six months or a year after you’re officially single again. Either way, you’ll eventually get your mind off the divorce and on to potential suitors. If you’re lucky, you may find someone who makes you consider remarrying, or whom you’ll at least want to spend the rest of your life with.

So, what might reel you into the idea of finding your soulmate?

  • The physical intimacy gets better instead of getting worse.
  • The “mental connection” gets stronger, not weaker by the day.
  • You get closer instead of feeling more like roommates.

Seriously thinking about looking for Mr. or Miss. Right again? Here are our top three pieces of advice for dating after untying the knot:

Rule No. 1: Don’t get married because your suitor wants to be married.

If you’re like a lot of newly-divorced individuals, you’re a little gun-shy about re-marriage. However, that’s not going to stop you from meeting plenty of singles who want to get married in the near future. Of course, if you meet the right person, you may go from having zero plans of remarrying to wanting to get married again – you just never know.

While dating however, don’t jump into marriage because the person you like wants to be married. If you’re not feeling it, you should not submit just to make the other person happy. If you compromise, the marriage could be a recipe for disaster.

To remarry, you should really want it. Marriage is tough and you should not enter it unless you do some soul-searching. Realize that if you meet the “right” person, you very well could go from, “I’m never getting married again,” to “I want nothing else in this world than to be married to you,” so be prepared for the unexpected.

Rule No. 2: Understand why your first marriage failed.

You’re a guy who has a penchant for buxom blonds in their mid-twenties – so what if she’s not that smart or from a broken home? Or, you’re a gal who dates men based on the numbers in their bank accounts – you’re not worried about the lack of physical attraction.

Or, you get lonely and you’re in the habit of falling in love too easily. Or, you have mother or father issues and tend to date people who treat you like the mom or dad you never had. All of these ways of finding a mate are superficial and don’t necessarily make for a happy marriage. Regardless of what went wrong in your first marriage, it’s important to understand what worked and what didn’t so you don’t repeat your mistakes.

Common mistakes in first marriages:

  • Marrying for looks alone
  • Marrying because of money
  • Marrying to make one’s parents happy
  • Marrying because of an unplanned pregnancy
  • Marrying out of fear of being alone
  • Marrying out of loving the “idea” of marriage
  • Marrying to make one’s partner happy

Before dating again, think about what didn’t work in your first marriage and make a conscious effort not to let history repeat itself. For example, if you and your spouse grew apart because you had nothing in common, look for someone who shares a lot of the same interests as you. Or, if you wanted to start a family and your spouse didn’t want kids, don’t get into a serious relationship with someone who has no intention of having children.

Rule No. 3: Live in the present.

When you’re dating, you’re going to date people who’ve been in previous relationships, or who have even been married before. If you start to get serious with someone, avoid throwing their past relationships or marriages in their face. In a fight, it may be tempting to bring up your partner’s ex, but it’s a waste of time and counter-productive. Remember, their relationship with that person is over!

Instead of thinking about your partner’s prior relationships or marriage, focus on your firsts together. When you settle on a prospect, you’ll have so many first together; for example, you may travel abroad for the first time together, or you may buy a house together for the first time, or you may adopt a dog together, or you may run a marathon together or take your first cross-country road trip together. The idea is to forget about your partner’s past relationships and instead focus on the present and the life you build together.

You may be your partner’s second husband or wife or their sixth serious relationship, but if you prioritize each other, you can bet you’re saving the best for last.

Related: Don’ts of Online Dating After Divorce


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