You’re back on the market after a divorce. Maybe it’s been a long time, and you don’t know how to navigate the many options. Dating apps and online dating have overtaken the in-person meet-cutes at a bar or a blind date set up across all age ranges. The good news is the fundaments of dating have not changed after a divorce. You still want to look for certain qualities of a person, identify your goals and ensure they align with the other person.
Dating after divorce can be difficult, but you’ll get back in the swing of things in no time with practice, confidence, and the belief that you deserve to love and be loved. Here’s everything you need to know about dating after divorce, including the qualities of a person to look out for and what you need to do to make sure you’re ready to start dating.
What are the Good Qualities of a Person to Look For?
Chemistry will only take you so far, so you want to make sure you identify the positive qualities of a person you’re interested in to understand if you’re a long-term match. The qualities of a person to date after a divorce are very similar to those you were looking for before you were married. The difference now is your priorities may have changed.
Instead of looking at the most successful person in the room, a divorced person may lean towards one whose values align with yours and treat you well. Clear communication, authenticity, empathy, and openness to change and compromise will also be good qualities of a person. Follow through, respect, vulnerability, and a good sense of humor are worth more than their weight in gold with a new person.
Identify what is most important to you before you start dating. These could be qualities of a person that your previous partner lacked, new priorities that are important to you in your new life, or qualities of a person you admire. Select which qualities of a person you will not compromise on and stick to them.
Once you’re ready to start dating, communicate your expectations for the qualities of a person and your boundaries, and don’t back down. You may have lost yourself in your old relationship, but don’t make the same mistakes you did before dating after divorce. Your wants and needs are just as valid as your partners, so don’t lose sight.
Qualities to Look for in a Partner Post-Divorce
When you’re thinking about the qualities of a person you want in your life after getting divorced, be honest with yourself. Create a wish list of your ideal partner. Not everyone will exhibit all the characteristics, but identify what qualities of a person are non-negotiable for you. These are the absolute must-haves that you want in a partner. Here are some qualities of a person you may want to look out for if you’re looking for inspiration.
Look for an authentic person. They know who they are and what they want, and they aren’t afraid to ask for it. Your partner should be comfortable in their skin, especially after a divorce. They’ve been around the block, so they understand the importance of being themselves right from the start.
If you and your partner try to be someone else to make the other happy, it’s not sustainable. Instead, be yourself from the start. You can hold the emotional baggage and childhood trauma at the door until you settle in your relationship. You don’t need to bring the crazy out the gate, and the same goes for them. You’re not responsible for the sins of their past.
One important thing to keep in mind when looking at the qualities of a person is not to confuse arrogance with authenticity. If your date always thinks they are the most intelligent person in the room and can’t admit when they’re wrong, that’s not being authentic. That’s arrogant, which could pose a problem in the long run.
Clear, consistent communication is one of the most important qualities of a person. Often, marriages break down because of a lack of communication. You stop listening to your partner, or you stop sharing your needs with them, so identifying communication patterns from the start will help you as you start dating after divorce.
Communicate your expectations with your date from the beginning, and ask them to do the same. If there are areas where you don’t align, discuss how to meet in the middle. If you like to communicate throughout the day, but your partner has a demanding job, you may have to compromise.
Discussing your needs, desires, issues, and more will help foster open and honest communication. Set a precedent from the start to build a solid foundation. Communication patterns change over time, so keep the discussion going to ensure both of your needs are met.
If you’re looking for something serious, you want to find a partner who knows what they want as one of the core qualities of a person you are interested in dating. They don’t have to have it all figured out – after all, divorce can upend all of the best-laid plans – but a clear idea of their career goals and if they’d like to get married or have kids in the future is an excellent place to start.
Discuss their direction and if their goals align with yours. If you want to have children and they don’t, cut your losses. While people can change their minds, please don’t count on it. Future aspirations are essential qualities of a person you want.
Sympathy and empathy go hand in hand, and you want a partner who is in tune with their emotions. These are essential qualities of a person you should look for if you’re interested in building a future with them. If you’re having a bad day, you want your partner to be able to relate to how you’re feeling and vice versa.
They don’t have to understand how you’re feeling all the time, but they need to listen without judgment and let you feel what you are feeling. Those are great qualities of a person. Partners who are more attuned to their feelings are more sensitive and aware of how you’re feeling and what they can do to make it better.
One of the most important qualities of a person is that they follow through with what they say they’re going to do. If you make plans, you want to be confident that they will be there. If you start to plan a future, you can trust that they’re on the journey with you. Follow through goes hand in hand with communication and clear direction.
If your partner lets you down often, listen to what their actions say about them. They may not be the right partner for you, so you need to identify the right qualities of a person that will make you happy and meet your needs.
Flexibility, an openness to change, and a willingness to compromise are great qualities of a person. Relationships are hard work. You’re not going to be happy 100% of the time because you’ll need to compromise.
One of the worst qualities of a person can be stubbornness. They are unwilling to admit that they are wrong. If your date is closed-minded, you’ll quickly lose yourself in the relationship. You will always change to suit their needs, which can be exhausting and lead to resentment. Identify if they are open to change for a healthy relationship.
Your date should respect you and your time. Your date should not dismiss your needs as less important than theirs, and if they do, that’s one of the bad qualities of a person you should avoid.
Your partner can show they respect you in different ways. If you’ve set boundaries, they will adhere to them. If timeliness is important to you, they’re never late for a date. Micro-actions are just as important as what they say, though words are as important.
If your partner respects you, they will not talk down to you or dimmish your viewpoint. Understand your self-work and never settle for less. You deserve nothing less than total respect, and if you’re not getting that, identify that as qualities of a person you don’t like and move on.
Sense of Humor
Humor is not essential to everyone, but it’s one of the fun qualities in a person that can impact your relationship. If sarcasm is your native language, you want a partner who understands it and won’t get their feelings hurt. If you have a silly disposition, you don’t want someone who takes themselves too seriously. Humor can be an essential love language, so consider it when thinking about the qualities of a person you want to date.
Values can be religious beliefs, political stances, or words that rule their life. As you identify the qualities of a person you want to date, values that align with yours should be top of your list. Remember that just because you disagree on select issues doesn’t mean the relationship will not work. That’s where respect comes in.
Values are ideals that are integral to who you are as a person, and you should never compromise if they are essential to you.
Vulnerability is vital as you consider qualities in a partner as it underscores the rest. Your date should feel comfortable being vulnerable, expressing their needs and desires. It can be in life and the bedroom. So often, we put up barriers after a bad breakup, but your partner must know how to be vulnerable.
You can only pretend something doesn’t bother you for so long before it bubbles up, so be vulnerable and honest from the start to avoid arguments.
How to Date After a Divorce?
It may be hard to know where to start when dating after a divorce. Now that you know some qualities of a person to look out for, here are some tips to make the most of it.
Make Sure You’re Ready
It may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure you’re over your ex and ready to move on. So often, you’ll get well-meaning pressure from everyone that it’s time to put yourself out there, but divorce is hard. You have to make sure you’ve processed your emotions. If you have unresolved anger or trust issues, they will bleed into a new relationship.
If you find yourself consistently talking about your ex, have strong feelings – hate, anger, and sadness all count – or still resent them, these are all indications that you’re not ready. If you wouldn’t want these qualities of a person you’re interested in, your potential dates won’t like it either. We all heal at our own pace, so don’t rush the process. Invest in therapy and date when you’re ready.
Your personal life may be drastically different than the last time you were in the market, so be upfront with your dates if you have children, hang-ups, and any other issues that could impact your relationship. That’s not to say you should lay all your baggage on the table on the first date. Instead, be honest about your needs.
If your partner cheated on you, share that you may need reassurance they are where they say they are until you build trust. If money was an issue, offer to split the bill for the first few dates and split the cost. Be upfront about child custody and child support issues. Laying these insecurities on the table from the start can open the door for honest communication about your needs.
They may have similar needs if they’re divorced, so make sure you don’t dismiss them. Starting your new relationship from an honest place will relieve some of the anxiety you may be feeling of the past repeating itself, whether you are a divorced woman or man.
Avoid Making the Same Mistakes
Identify where you went wrong. It’s easy to blame everything on your partner, especially if they cheated, but dig deeper. Is there anything you did in your previous relationships that you’d like to avoid? Maybe you went into it thinking that you could change them, and they failed to live up to your expectations. Perhaps you weren’t open about money issues, which caused strain on your relationship.
Whatever the core issues were in your relationship, you want to identify what they were to avoid making the same mistakes the next time around. You want to have a healthy relationship. Differences in qualities of a person don’t necessarily mean that you’ll always have problems, but you need to make sure you gel together and respect one another.
Take It Slow
For many people, being married is comfortable. You have your person, and you know what to expect. After getting divorced, it can be tempting to fill that void and rush to the altar again but avoid the temptation. Instead, you want to take it slowly.
Enjoy the dating pool and avoid getting in a rebound relationship because it will mask the pain you’re already feeling with the newness of a relationship. You’ll start using it as a crutch instead of dealing with your emotions, and those are bad qualities of a person with who you want to build a future.
Once you are ready to get into a relationship, you want to integrate your lives slowly, especially if you have kids. It can be hard to blend friends and families. After a divorce, your loved ones will be protective of you, so expect some resistance. Be patient, and don’t try to rush anything. Divorce has ripple effects in your life.
Let People Know Where You Are
Once upon a time, the internet was a scary place. They taught us never to meet up with someone we met online because it was dangerous. Now we’re getting in cars with people we don’t know, and strangers fill the dating world. As a safety precaution, it’s important to let someone know where you are before going on a date. You can have your location turned on for others to see or send them a text with the meet-up location.
Until you get comfortable with your date, letting others know where you are is a common courtesy that can help put everyone’s mind at ease. Also, make sure you charge your phone fully, and you have your ID, credit cards, and cash if you need to make a quick exit. It’s better to have safety plans in place and never need them than find yourself in a situation where you don’t feel safe and don’t know what to do.
Trust Your Gut
If all else fails, trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t right. Don’t just shrug off red flags because you’re desperate to move on. That will only cause more heartbreak down the line.
You may have damaged confidence after the divorce, so you may not trust your instinct. That’s completely normal, and your self-esteem will rebuild over time. If you’re not ready to trust your gut, set clear boundaries. Are there behaviors that you won’t tolerate in a relationship? Make it clear. If your partner does not respect your boundaries, they do not respect you. Your gut instinct will come back in time, and you’ll be able to identify if a date has potential or if you should move on.
Put Yourself First
So often, we lose ourselves in relationships, so you must put yourself first as you start dating after divorce. It’s okay to be selfish if there’s something vital to you. Communicate your expectations with your date, and if they are reasonable but your date can’t meet them, it’s time to move on.
When you’re dating after divorce, do things that make you happy. It would be best if you were okay being alone before you are ready to be in a relationship again, so get in tune with your passions. Pick up a new hobby or return to ones that you previously loved. The best thing you can do to foster a healthy relationship is love yourself first.