Here you are, embracing your second chapter post-divorce. It’s not easy, it’s not always fun, and fuck, dating is harder than it was in your younger, more supple years. But it doesn’t have to be, especially if you stop doing these 5 things (that you probably don’t want to hear).
1. Not being clear about what you need.
You just want to get yours and have some fun? That’s totally fine! Say it. You really like someone and want to explore a relationship with them and see how it goes? Be honest about that too. If you are down with doing the feather bed jig without a strong commitment but expect them not to have any other sexual partners, you need to make that clear.
Dating is hard. We aren’t mind readers, and if there’s something specific you are looking for in-between carpool, your kids’ lives, taking care of yourself, dealing with you ex, your career, and scrubbing the toilets, there’s very little room to be fucking around with your feelings. Be clear. VERY CLEAR. There’s no time for bullshit. Candid honesty is your new best friend.
2. If someone says they don’t want a relationship, stop thinking you can get them to change their mind.
Maybe they aren’t emotionally ready to be a partner, or perhaps they just don’t want a relationship with you, it doesn’t matter. If someone is telling you they don’t want to be exclusive but you do, you ain’t changing them. And why would you want to even try? You have the freedom to not settle. It’s up to you to walk away if it’s not in line with what you truly want.
3. Stop desperately clutching your phone waiting for a text back.
Sending a text to a potential lover and waiting for a response can make one minute feel like 10 days. Your anxiety level rises, you read the text again to make sure it sounded cute and flirty yet cool and not too over the top. Then, within minutes you start manufacturing reasons why they aren’t getting back to you. Your mind whirls out of control.
Stop the fucking madness. Send the text, do your thing, don’t send another follow up. Go on with your life. They will get back to you or they won’t. Get lost in your own world and take care of yourself. Stop putting so much energy into the text and take your life back. Staring at your phone isn’t going to make a text come in any sooner. Take the advice you would give your friends or teenage kids, and don’t wait around.
4. Stop settling, especially now.
You’ve been through this once and you’ve learned a shit-ton of stuff about you and what you want (and do NOT want) in a partner so your gut, your mind, and your heart is sharp. Now, when you see a red flag, it screams at you. So do yourself a favor and listen. You deserve THE BEST and shouldn’t settle for less. Whatever you do, do not ignore the red flags. Just don’t.
5. Stop thinking you can’t speak the fuck up.
Don’t act and say you are okay with something if you aren’t. Maybe they aren’t pursuing you as hard as you’d like. Maybe you feel like you are always the one paying or traveling to where they are to see them and they are just along for the ride. Sure, you are an independent fucking badass woman, and if you feel like you aren’t being appreciated enough, you aren’t. Find your voice and use it!
Maybe you hate they way they give oral and it would be so much better if they weren’t trying to put in such a performance — whatever it is, you are allowed to speak up and say something.
Do you hear me? Speak the fuck up.
If you’re afraid one conversation is going to be the end of the road for you two, then you are wasting your time and this “thing” you have should have ended, like last week. Do yourself a favor by being honest.
We are still the same person we were before we went through something as traumatic as a divorce. Yes, we are better in some ways, but heartbreak still feels the same, and you are allowed to protect yourself by establishing standards and boundaries. Just because we are older and have been through more, it doesn’t mean we have it all figured out yet, but we have learned a few things during this wild ride.
We know what feels right and what feels wrong and at this point in our lives, there’s no point in putting up with any unnecessary bullshit — especially when it comes to dating. We’ve got rich, full, busy lives without a partner. If we are going to go out on a limb, this person needs to bring something valuable to our lives (even if it’s just good sex) because we have no time to waste on drama and fuckery.
A good rule of thumb I’ve used since dating as a divorced woman is this: If something or someone wouldn’t be good enough for my kids or my besties, then it’s not good enough for me.