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  • Writer's pictureAmy Dixon

The things that no one wants to talk about - Dating after divorce.

Your friends will advise you to 'get back out there', 'go dating' and 'have some fun'. And why not right? If you are single post divorce, occasionally lonely when the kids are away and quite frankly have been celibate for some time owing to break up stress, a difficult ex, home moving or generally failing at being on top of life, then why not?

You could be sat in a Parisian street corner cafe, sipping an expresso and kissing the new love of your life in a little under 3 months from now. True. But sadly the reality is more likely you'll experience, ghosting, insecurity, anger, hurt, incredible damage from previous relationships carried forward as if you were the perpetrator; There's hard lessons in modern dating rules and social media dating etiquette to understand, the modern multiple people rules, there's those who have sex with anyone, anyhow, anywhere with no call back guilt. You are likely to have to develop skills in divorce counselling, anger management, have the self esteem of an ox with all the last minute change in plans owing to all manner of excuses or worst of all being stood up. I'm serious, it happens. In amongst all the wild craziness you are expected to 'have fun', 'enjoy just going on dates again', 'get out there' and keep yourself together.

Quite frankly, those dating after divorce are in a bad way. It can't be helped, divorce is full of peril and leaves you dragging around a carriage full of baggage that you don't even know you had until it raises up inside you like a flood, in a instance that you didn't even know was a trigger. Each subsequent poor relationship or hard lesson takes a notch out of your heart making you even more difficult to love. Sometimes you may even know you have found a goodun but you find yourself sabotaging the relationship or doing things that don't even make you proud owing to that carriage of baggage.

Don't worry - there's a solution. But as ever, you can only do you. Post divorce and pre dating you can take a damn good look at yourself and address the issues that will cause yourself and others heart ache. Addressing and dealing with the guilt, the anger, the damage to your self esteem is paramount. You need to identify what it is that you want by learning yourself all over again. It's highly unlikely that you know yourself after divorce, you will have changed and that's OK.

Here's my top tips for preparing to get back out there.

  • Get some specialist therapy. For those who think it's expensive, swap your wine / beer for it, just for one month and you'll see. And for those who think it's only for the broken, get with it, it's for the bright sparks who know their brain and emotions play a vital role in their lives.

  • Get to know yourself (easily said) but really get to know what makes you tick post divorce, what do you value most? What's important to you?

  • Learn to be comfortable being yourself. It's Ok that you are not what you used to be and it's OK that you are not the classic good time guy or gal. Your insecurities are absolutely part of you, just don't try to cover them over and project them onto others.

  • Work out exactly what you want. Be clear and honest about what you want and I mean, actually write it in your Tinder profile. Being self aware is very attractive and being clear will mean you meet people wanting the same things.

  • Expect this to be a long journey. The people who gush the most at the beginning are the least ready for moving on.

  • Get to know your baggage, understand it and know your triggers. Accepting that these things exist will make your journey less painful and mean you hurt less people along the way. There's no worse feeling of hurting other people.

  • Accept the process and accept that you will meet damaged people along the way. Their actions belong to them, they are not because of you, you didn't cause them to be the way they are and you can't heal them. Only they can do that.

Most of all, good luck. The truth remains, your special 'one' is out there somewhere and you are not going to find them sitting on the sofa. Is there any better feeling than being in love? Go get 'em.

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