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Dating After Divorce

How to Know If You’re Ready to Date After Divorce

You know what would be amazing? A little stick you could magically dip into your mind, heart, wallet, or family life, to get an all-systems-go green light back into the world of dating. Of course there’s no such test-kit on the market, and no way to know for certain until you try it.
Never fear! One thing is for certain: A playful, curious heart will get you closer to making the call, and serve you well throughout your foray into the world of dating. 

With that in mind, take this short quiz to get some insight into where you’re at on a scale of HARD PASS to SWIPing LEFT. A little inquiry goes a long way!

Are you ready to date?

Choose a number, from the score key below, that best represents your first reaction to each statement. At the end of the quiz, add up your score, and try on the corresponding feedback for size. Adjust accordingly!

Score Key

0-3=Nope

4-5=Not yet, but I’m feeling curious 

6-7=Ready to break out the journal

8-9=I’m pretty sure

10=Hell yeah!

_____ I have a clear objective in mind. 

Being clear on your “end game” saves you and your potential partners time and energy, not to mention confusion and angst!

Here are a few potential “dating objectives” to get you thinking:

  • make friends 
  • casual dating
  • companionship for your favorite activities (karaoke/hiking/trivia partner)
  • conversation
  • sex
  • monogamy
  • committed relationship or marriage

A mix of short and long term objectives is definitely an option. Even if you know you want to be in a long-term, committed relationship, it’s helpful to define dating objective(s) for the short term. Get clear, and don’t assume everyone else has the same objective(s) as you. 

_____I’m ready to clearly communicate my objective(s) to potential dating partners. I’m comfortable with myself and my end goal, so I’m able to be honest about it. 

When you start messaging with someone, you don’t have to open up about your entire life. But, if you’re not clear about what you want, or you’re unable to be honest, hold up, partner!

_____I have the emotional bandwidth to tolerate the inevitable ups/downs, exciting, and bumpy ride of dating, such as:

  • telling someone no
  • *what may feel like* rejection
  • stating your boundaries and respecting the other’s 
  • uncertainty
  • a sense of humor
  • curiosity
  • a positive, hopeful outlook
  • realistic expectations for the process
  • Resilience

A soft heart and strong backbone are essentials to pack for your dating journey. You aren’t going to have success if you don’t have the tolerance to put yourself out there a bit, which brings with it the inevitable risk. You also know you’ve been through a lot, you’re resilient, and connection is worth the risks. Believe in your capacity to navigate the ups and downs, and you’ll be just fine.

_____I’m looking forward to the dating process. I know it will have its challenges, but it’ll also be fun, and I’m going to enjoy myself. 

A positive attitude is critical! Don’t sabotage yourself by going into this with a bunch of negative energy and low expectations. Talk about a sure way to turn yourself off!

_____I’ve given myself the space and time I needed to grieve my divorce. Although it may always be tender, it’s not an open wound.

The wise author Yung Pueblo once wrote, “Throw away the idea that you need to pause your life until you’re fully healed, this is a different way of being attached to perfection.” He also said, “You don’t need a partner to be fully healed, but you also don’t need to be fully healed to have a partner. We can do so much of our inner work alone, but we should understand that this is truly a long term process. We don’t need to remain alone to continue working on letting go of the past.” Consider this as you decide whether you’re ready to date.

_____I’ve considered a variety of implications, such as: 

  • babysitting plan and rates
  • a dating budget, taking into account time and energy, in addition to money
  • clear boundaries; what’s ok and not ok for me; I know my relationship deal breakers

_____I’m excited to talk about lots of topics besides previous relationships. I’m looking forward to building a new relationship, and the last thing I want to do is focus on previous relationships when I’m trying to get to know a new person. 

Free advice, Friend. If all you can think of, or talk about, right now is your previous relationship, may I suggest you’re not ready? Your broken heart will heal. Give it the attention it needs to do so, and you’ll be ready sooner than later.

_____I know my worth and what I have to offer a relationship. I’m not looking to save anyone or to be a savior. 

_____I have a person or community (both is better) who I can confide in about my dating journey, and turn to for supportive and non-judgmental feedback as I navigate the journey. (Yes, the Avail community counts!)

____Your Total Score

Find Your Score

0-40 Points You’re not ready, and you’re not surprised. Hopefully this quiz gives you some direction about where you want to focus next, on your journey to getting ready for another relationship. Be sure you’re taking advantage of the support network here in Avail. You’re not alone and this phase doesn’t last forever. Use this time intentionally, and find your peeps in the process.

41-59 This quiz is wetting your whistle on the topic of dating. You feel curious and are definitely paying attention to the topics raised throughout the quiz. Identify the snags and bring them to the community forum to find out what others are saying. Avail is here to support you, so reach out!

60-75 Get your journal out and start making notes. You’re ready to seriously consider how you want to answer these questions. Pay particular attention to your lowest point statements above, and start there. Whether you come up with clear answers in a day, a week, or a month, you’re on your way! Posting in the Avail community to meet up with others who are in your orbit is a great way to start building your dating support community.

76-85 You’re feeling pretty positive about the lay of the land. Dating land, that is, and that probably means you’re ready to begin drafting a profile and snapping profile pics. Avail has you covered with great tips for both of those tasks, so check out the next article in the dating bundle.

86-100 You’re feeling a full body yes as you take the quiz. So? What are you waiting for? The dating bundle covers all of your next moves in detail. Well, as far as getting ready for that first date goes. 

After that, the moves are all on you. 

By Molly Blue Wilder

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