Guest Post: Dating After Divorce

Monday, January 05th, 2015

Rebecca Perkins by Saturday Night's AlrightWhen we said our wedding vows or made our commitments to our partners we never imagined that one day we’d be facing separation and divorce. We never imagined having to date again. That was my experience anyway. Yet, after the ending of a 20 year marriage, I picked up the pieces again, licked my wounds. I decided that I did want to date again however weird and uncomfortable it might feel to do so in the beginning.

I’ve experienced the highs and the lows, the laughter and the tears and I’m glad I did because I met someone new and we’re very happy together thank you very much! How different (and lovely) my life now feels.

So what did I learn and what words of wisdom can I share with you if you’re feeling awkward, unsure, or frankly terrified? Here are a handful of things I came to realise whilst dating after my divorce.

  • Decide what you want to get out of online dating. If you’re looking for a partner be honest with yourself and make that clear in your profile. If you’re looking for friendship and a bit of fun say that too. There is no point in falling for someone who’s looking for different things to you. It’s just not going to work and you’ll end up hurt and disillusioned.
  • Know your values, even before you’ve completed your first online dating profile. What’s important to you? What do you look for in life and in a relationship. This isn’t about a list of requirements expected of a potential date by the way! This is about you and what you hold dear.
  • Enjoy yourself, have fun! Some people treat their dating as another career! Lighten up, enjoy the process. Don’t take it or yourself too seriously and you’ll meet some great people along the way.
  • Take nothing personally. This is really important. You can read all the horror stories online….remember good stories tend not to sell as well as bad ones! You’ll be approached by people who’ve not really read your profile, you’ll be contacted by people who are rude, you’ll be liked and winked at all the time. Take nothing personally. You get to choose who you’d like to respond to or approach. Remember too that many you contact won’t respond (if good manners are one of your core values this will be a challenge!) Simply move on!
  • Have the right positive attitude before spending your time on dating websites. If you go into it with a heavy, bruised heart with negative inner dialogue you’re going to struggle. At the same time don’t go into it naively imagining that you’ll meet your ideal match immediately. These things take time.
  • Write a compelling and irresistible profile. So many profiles are bland and boring so it’s actually easy to stand out from the crowd and it’ll make all the difference to your experience.
  • Be truthful at all times. If you’re 50 don’t say you’re 40. If you smoke and get no exercise don’t say that you’re into healthy living. It might seem obvious but you’d be amazed! Honesty is one of my core values and the foundation for a good relationship.
  • If you’re nervous about meeting up, spend time emailing and letter writing. It’s what my partner and I did and it was wonderful to see our relationship develop as we asked questions of each other ranging from the lighthearted to the more penetrating.
  • Be open minded. You never know what you might learn about yourself and life by dating someone you’d not have looked at in your past relationships! There is a richness added to life when we step out of our comfort zones.
  • Invest in some excellent photographs of you looking relaxed, happy and at ease. It will make all the difference…..NO selfies.

Biography

Rebecca is the author of Best Knickers Always: 50 Lessons for Midlife and founder of RebPerkins.com She is a personal performance coach working with women to navigate the transition of midlife. She has much to say on midlife and has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and BBC Radio London. She writes regularly on a variety of topics for the Huffington Post. She was one of the judges at the UK Dating Awards 2014 held in London.

Rebecca is currently working on an exciting project helping clients create their Irresistible Dating Profile, she’s teamed up with the UK’s only dating profile photographer Saturday Night’s Alright.

As a coach she is challenging and fun, motivating and inspiring. Midlife has taught her to be open-minded, to take more risks, to enjoy the simple things and to live each and everyday with the question, ‘If not now, when?’ She lives in London and enjoys supporting and being surrounded by her children, spending time with her man (who she met online naturally) and celebrating life after 50.

If you want to read more from Rebecca sign up to her Monday Morning Food for Thought emails for a weekly dose of inspiration.

Photo credit: Saturday Night’s Alright.