It can be extremely daunting for the newly single to face the idea of dating again. Divorce can leave you feeling disillusioned and intimidated, and if you were married for a long time, you may feel ill-equipped to make small talk and do the whole “get to know each other” routine yet again. But there are some things to keep in mind that can help you navigate the waters once you’re ready to get back out there.
Do some sleuthing. Though it may sound a little too nosy, some people do a basic search engine run on their new friend to see what comes up. You can also look them up on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. A simple “about” check, if he has his profile set to “public,” can tell you more than enough about the person you just agreed to meet for coffee. Keep in mind that there may be a number of people with the same name, and that not everything you read on the internet is true. But, you know what they say: photos (most often) do not lie.
Though “Googling” someone is acceptable, and looking at their vacation photos publically posted on Facebook is done more often than people admit, running an actual background check on someone, unless he or she has asked you for your bank account number or has otherwise done something questionable is generally considered a “no no.”
Take your time. Recognize that you are rusty at this. If someone seems too good to be true, your first impulse may be to jump into the relationship with both feet. It is scary to get back out there, and finding someone with whom you connect so quickly is a relief. But keep in mind that people tend to be on their best behavior when they first meet. You are likely not getting a good sense of that other person’s true feelings about everything from where he wants to go for dinner to the movie she wants to see, just as you may not be sharing every true thing about you. Slow down. Get to know him — and get to know the newly single you, too. How you want to behave and what needs you want met in a relationship have probably changed quite a bit since you last dated, too.
Do not step backwards. If you are lucky enough to be on good terms with your ex, watch for boundary violations. A newly divorced couple, dating each other again solely out of loneliness and in an attempt to stave off “going out there,” has happened more than once. Sure, recognize what you once liked about each other. Stay respectful of each other. But keep your “dates” with your ex to phone calls or the occasional face-to-face at the occasional coffee shop. If you have to, make a list of why you broke up in the first place, and keep it on your fridge.