Expat dating: Online dating after divorce
Tips and advice for getting into the online dating game after a divorce.
It doesn't matter if your marriage lasted 20 years or just one, whether the break up was amicable or acrimonious, or whether or not you have kids – getting back out there after a divorce can feel daunting. The most important thing is that you feel ready to do so.
First off, it's normal to feel a little anxious or wary about the prospect. You may also find that things have changed since you were last single and available. Online dating, once considered the last resort for the desperate or socially inept, is now one of the main ways to meet potential partners. It can be particularly good if your social circle consists mainly of other couples, or if you feel you have ‘lost' friends who ‘took sides' after the divorce.
When you're ready to date, there are ways to get yourself out there again:
- Accept as many social invitations as you can. You never know whom you might meet, even if it turns out to be ‘just' a good friend. You can brush up your social skills – and you might have a good time.
- Sign up to an online dating website and make the effort to contact and respond to lots of people. Expatica, for example, has a specialised online dating site for expats.
- Give your confidence a boost with a new haircut, getting in better shape or buying some new, flattering, clothes.
- Seek out single friends to hang out with, rather than happy couples. A network of like-minded single friends can offer each other support and motivation.
- Take opportunities to make new friends, who will introduce your to their friends.
- Worried about what to say on the first date? Jot down a few friendly questions beforehand – but don't interrogate!
- When you meet potential partners, don't make comparisons with your ex. Try to avoid thinking that all men (or women) are the same, for example, not all men cheat. Building up trust may take time but you will have to do it.
- Don't talk about your divorce, the breakdown of your relationship or your ex on the first date. It's boring. Try not to spend hours analysing the past with your friends either – stop going over old ground and negative feelings, it's time to move on. Try to learn from, and then let go of, your baggage.
- Be wary about getting into a rebound relationship. Take your time and commit only when you feel really ready.
You don't have to resign yourself to a single life until your kids are old enough to be independent. Don't assume everyone will be put off by the fact you're a parent. Lots of people are looking specifically for someone with kids, often because they have kids of their own and would like to meet someone coming from the same place.
Don't hide the fact that you've got children but don't go on and on about them either. The last thing you want is to give the impression that you're looking for a substitute father/mother.
There's no need for young children to know that you're dating until you meet someone serious. You might tell older children that you're looking for a new relationship. Be cautious when you introduce them. Children may bond with your new partner and be very upset if you break up, so don't do it too soon. Some children may feel that the new partner is ‘replacing' their other parent or worry that you won't love them as much. You will have to reassure them and show them that you will.
For more tips on online dating, read Expatica's expat dating series: