Recovering from the changes and challenges of divorce can take time. But, once you are ready to re-enter the dating scene, it is possible to find love again. Dating and forming a loving relationship can be an exciting journey, but not without certain challenges along the way -- self-doubt, children from a prior relationship and seemingly limited dating options. Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and socially is a strong start to heal successfully from the love you once lost and prepare for love in your future.
Process Your Feelings
Divorce can leave you feeling bitter about love and fearful of opening your heart. Before you can rediscover new love, it’s important that you learn to put the past behind you. With any type of loss, time is needed to discover yourself, process grief of past relationships and heal. It may be helpful to discuss your feelings with friends or family. Fear of moving forward is common, and it can be an obstacle to moving forward if unaddressed.
Identify Your Likes and Dislikes
Make a list of your likes and dislikes from prior relationships. Focus on your positive experiences so that you can recreate those feelings in the future. For example, do you prefer someone who gives you space or someone who wants to spend his every waking moment with you? Think about your patterns in previous relationships and evaluate your needs and wants.
Make Yourself Available
Although it’s scary to love again, remember that you don’t have to jump in head first. Slowly make yourself available by embarking on social outings with some of your single friends. Sign up to volunteer with local organizations or join committees within your community to branch out. The more you put yourself in social settings, the more likely you will meet people with similar interests. These friendships may develop into something more over time.
Evaluate the Family Aspect
Rediscovering love after divorce can be complicated if children are involved. Just as you are adjusting to the possibility of a new mate, so are your kids. Gary Neuman, author of "Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way" reports in an article on the Family Education Network that seeing a parent date is an odd scenario for kids. When parents date it sends the message that they will never reunite. Building open dialogue with your children about dating can help ease the transition and reduce negative feelings and reactions to a new significant other. Neuman suggests emphasizing to children that adults need time with other adults; however, always reiterate that the children are the most important people in your life. Encourage your children to express their feelings, too, but don't allow them to dictate your love life, Neuman says. Simply explain your plans and choices so they understand.
Consider Dating Options
The world of dating has changed significantly over the years. Potential mates are now able to connect with matches through singles only organizations, online matchmaking sites and speed dating events. According to a study by Michael J. Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford, more than 21 percent of heterosexual couples and 61 percent of same-sex couples formed relationships online in the U.S. between 2007 and 2009. Millions of potential partners have opted to post profiles and search for love online. If you are open to meeting your mate through modern technology, set up your profile and honestly put your interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes on display. You’ll also have the opportunity to browse through profiles of singles from all over the world to potentially meet your match.