Did you hear the one about the gal who signed the papers on Thursday and had a new boyfriend by Sunday (the day she met the guy)? Was the thrice-divorced man right when he said, “I should stop marrying girls I meet in bars.” When done right, remarriage is a positive for everybody, but a successful remarriage won’t happen if you don’t do the dating part right.
Wait a Year
Divorce can be traumatic, and people have been known to suffer severe PTSD after one. More important (and more likely), you have a new life, new financial situation, new custody arrangements (if children are involved), maybe a new home to set up, and so much more. Take time to settle comfortably into that life, establish a new normal. Maybe a year, maybe only six months, whatever it takes to be sure you are ready. (And don’t hesitate to admit you were wrong and need more time!)
Go to groups and events where you can meet people who share your interests and your values. Do your due diligence — get to know a person before you ask her out or let him ask you out. Don’t trust them with anything private (money, passwords, your kids!) until you’re sure they’ve earned that trust. Don’t date one person at a time; compare them, discuss them over with someone you trust, but never take advice that contradicts what you heart or your gut says. Don’t let anybody push you into anything.
“Traditional values” don’t get much positive press these days, but they’re still around because they work: Your boy/girlfriend will treat you better while dating than after marriage. If s/he drinks a lot during dinner, they’re drinking more when you’re not around. If s/he is always talking about the ex, positively or negatively, they didn’t wait long enough. If it isn’t right, it isn’t, and you’re absolutely free to walk away if you feel it isn’t right — without explanation or justification. And, if s/he ever becomes violent, abusive, threatening in any way, don’t walk away — run!
Soul mates are as mythical as Snow White and Prince Charming. Make a list of things you can’t overlook, then overlook everything else. He’s bald, she has a big nose, he’s not rich, she can’t cook like mama (don’t ever tell her that!), and so on, ad nauseum. When you find the right person, s/he might be surprisingly different from what you expected.
Post-divorce dating doesn’t necessarily lead to remarriage, however, you should assume it might because most people prefer married life. Walker Wright & Associates wants to be your full-service family law firm, but we’ll be fine if we never have to handle another divorce for you.