How to Get Back into Dating After A Long Marriage

Getting back into the dating scene after any relationship might prove to be a difficult task for the most of us. It may seem like a daunting phase in one’s life, but we think it doesn’t have to be. Here at Seventy Thirty we have devised a series of stages utilising our expert knowledge in dating field and relationships, furthermore our understanding that dating isn’t always crimson and clover. Our phases are set out to see you through the good, the bad and the ugly, and ensures to help you get back on the dating bandwagon in the best position possible. 

1)   Ambiguity and The Power of Reflection and Time

After a break-up we may not know how to feel or what to do. We may feel conflicted as we might not get the full story or real intentions behind it, often leading us to feel as though we are going through a cascade of emotions with no substantial evidence to feel as such. We might turn to our nearest and dearest for consolation or to help us make sense of what has gone on. We may even find we are using defence mechanisms to cope. In truth there isn’t one right way to handle the aftermath of a long marriage. It is okay to feel conflicted, hurt, guilty or even gratuitous that the marriage is over.

The power of giving yourself time in order to reflect and understand what has gone on will allow you to heal and consider your thoughts in line with the situation and others who are involved. Whilst considering these, we will look upon defensive mechanisms to help balance our psychological wellbeing and help us to feel better as a method of coping. Ultimately, these will need to be addressed as they can be detrimental but for now, we shouldn’t feel all too negative or even be apprehensive at this phase of getting past our past as Jeffery Bernstein Ph.D discusses.

Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C discusses being able to express your emotions and understand your feelings will help when we are in the process of recovery. It is beneficial to yourself and others surrounding you to be conscious of your thoughts and feelings and understand what causes them. The best way to do as such is to note down what we are thinking about and the feelings that accompany the thoughts. This, furthermore, also allows us to assess the situation as a whole and when we are feeling less vulnerable, rather than in fragments and feeling distressed.

Identifying the triggers of what causes our defence mechanisms to heighten will help in the long run. Sometimes it will be because we are reflecting on the past and some which can be influenced by our over analysing of the events. Whilst these may not have meaning as such now, later down the line you will recall upon these times and reflect upon it to be a learning curve in your life. Eventually Gregg Henriques Ph.D says we will have to process these in the correct way as he discusses in his article ‘Understanding Emotions and How to Process Them’ highlighting if we don’t do these properly it can lead to maladaptive behaviours.

Being able to look into your own ways and how you handle situations from the past will not only help you for future situations, but also when we remember our past when we feel stress, anxious or in a negative state, we will know our strength and level of resilience. This is what will also lead us in to the next phase of getting back into dating.

2)   Self-Love, Compassion and Positivity

This is the selfish phase, where you learn to love you and be all about yourself, for so long you may have been ‘we’ or ‘us’ but now it can be ‘you’ and a confident you at that. Whilst of course it is understandable to feel a little down and out of self-love and esteem throughout this journey, but we need to reframe what we are feeling to remember it isn’t us which is the problem. Sometimes things just do not work out how we expect. Instead, use this phase to determine who you are and to gather what you want from love and life to aid you.

Love and compassion for one’s self does not come easy to the majority of us, by any means. We often present self-deprecating behaviour by discouraging ourselves and others when praise or compliments are received.  Self-deprecating behaviour can make us undermine our value and worth and not accept credit where credit is due. Often or not, we compare ourselves to others and try to place our live’s into categories. This “helps” us to distinguish who we are and helps us to understand where we feel we fit in, however, we don’t belong to a group, we all have our own identities and are able to make valuable decisions ourselves. You don’t need to rely upon others to make them for you are your own person.

We have also included positivity in one of the earlier stages as looking at the glass half full  can help to us to improve our self-affirmations, even though it may take time to feel more assertive in being kinder to yourself, it is important stand your internal ground and essentially put mind over matter by assuring yourself you say what you mean. You are a confident, strong and beautiful person, you have overcome so many things in your life and no one can take those things away, especially not yourself.

If it is more doubting your abilities and as to whether something better than what is current will come along that is holding you back, believing and being positive will make it happen. As such Elite Daily posted an article where they noted focusing on the bigger picture and embodying what you want, can help and provide a more positive and meaningful experience and also it will also feel more rewarding to yourself when it eventually comes along too. 

3)   Getting Out There – The Big, The Bold and The Beautiful

As mentioned in the above phases it is important to take the time to reflect and embrace who you are to feel comfortable in your own skin. Without feeling comfortable with who you are and what you have gone through to get you to this point in time, you will not be able to go further. One of the most valuable things in life we can do is have a positive belief in ourselves and what we want from life. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) teaches us it does take time to accept what has come before and what may be causing us trouble, but when we are committed to helping ourselves and to what we want, it makes it better and more focused, so much so it can become a new style and a way we look at our lives. 

Maria Del Russo for Refinery29 discusses in her article why it is important to her stay positive whilst dating  despite how difficult she feels it may be. Maria notes how easily she slips into feeling cynical about the dating experience, but she stays optimistic because she knows there is someone out there for everyone, even if it may take time and patience. Previously, we have mentioned not comparing yourself to others but rather feeling comfortable in your own skin, and at this stage it is most vital to not compare yourself to others out there in any regard. Instead, take the leap of faith even though easing yourself back into the dating game can be somewhat nerve racking but being comfortable in our own skin has also shown to be one of the most attractive qualities in a person, even over physical appearance. Embracing yourself, whether good or bad is an authentic quality according to Bon Vita it can also enhance chemistry between two people as you are more likely to “take the leap of faith”.

4)   Managing Expectations and Not Letting the Past Dictate Your Future

There is a reason we insist on managing one’s expectations when it comes to dating. As when getting back into the dating game it can be daunting as it is a big world out there with many people. However, we know there is someone out there compatible for everyone. With the acceptance of our past and ourselves, we are able to determine what we are looking for in a potential partner. Although, we now know our self-worth, we should never have exclusively high expectations from the offset as these can set us back in finding what we are looking for. Being able to see past first impressions of a person is a valuable characteristic in life and love. 

We all know how unnerving it is to meet someone for the first time, or even make the first move, so don’t over analyse it as that can influence the way we feel and think about people in the grander scheme of dating. Having positive and realistic cognitive understanding of your expectations in dating will set you apart from the other people out there. Being openminded and considerate for what may have gone before for some people is also beneficial, as some people may not have the same positive and understand experience as yourself. 

Nevertheless, everyone deserves love no matter what has gone before. Your virtues are untold, so don’t give up on love, don’t discourage encouragement, don’t feel as though you are alone, and give yourself time to get comfortable and build your confidence to get back out there. We have faith in you, as you will too!
                                                    Happy Dating!