3 helpful exercises to make dating after divorce successful
There’s no dithering around these facts from the American Psychological Association:
- In Western cultures, more than 90 percent of people marry by age 50.
- 40 – 50% of U.S. marriages end in divorce.
Underneath these numbers, however, are millions of painful personal stories. We know this because several readers and clients have explained their situations to us.
For example, one client — who we’ll call Jay — came to us after a recent divorce had ended a 15-year marriage.
“The whole landscape just feels different. Online dating? That’s new. But beyond that, the entire sensibility around dating is different from the last time I had to do it.”
Quick spoiler alert: Jay joined our program last year and did phenomenally!
The common theme when guys discuss the idea of dating after divorce is apprehension. They’ve been “out of the game” too long, and the mere idea of starting over calls up waves of emotional complexities.
If you’re post-divorce and wondering how to get your self-confidence up so you can get back out there again, this post is for you.
Now, let’s dive into three of our top mindset exercises that help divorced guys get ready to date.
Analyzing the Past
In our Core Confidence System, there’s a major milestone at Level 3 (taking personal responsibility).
When a man’s confidence is down at at Level 1 (apathy) or 2 (resentment), he has a hard time dating successfully.
- filled with self-doubt,
- is quick to feel frustration and anger, and
- has difficulty noticing and/or acting on signs from women.
He may also…
- have lingering negative thoughts towards his ex-wife,
- feel reluctant to meet new people, or
- be convinced that the dating pool doesn’t have enough eligible single women he would even want to get into a new relationship with.
These are all understandable, yet unhelpful, thoughts that can block a guy at several points:
- from getting on dating apps or actively meeting women in person,
- to setting up a first date with someone new,
- to progressing beyond that into an eventual long-term relationship.
Through the restorative powers of time and intention, guys in Levels 1 and 2 can ascend to Level 3. At this point, your vibe becomes more attractive because you’re not stressed or “in your own head.”
Another benefit: You can look back with objectivity.
The pain has receded to the point where you can accurately assess the situation, without being too hard on yourself or your ex, and also without sugarcoating the facts.
Here’s a great example of a Reddit User at Level 3 assessing the reason for his divorce:
Analyzing the Present
When you’ve accurately assessed the past, then you can look at your part in it. You can ask yourself,
“What will I do differently now as I reenter the dating scene?”
Where would you like to grow and develop? We can all grow and develop.
Need a starting point? Try applying the concepts of “The Language of Becoming” by renowned therapist Dr. Ellen Wachtel.
The idea is to use language towards yourself that acknowledges that you’re becoming different every day; you’re becoming something new.
No one is static.
So what are you becoming? What direction would you like to “become” in?
Here are some ideas borrowed from other men who are rebuilding their self-confidence after divorce:
- “I am becoming wiser about making choices.”
- “I am becoming better at holding myself in high regard.”
- “With time and attention, I am becoming stronger at setting healthy boundaries.”
- “I am becoming better at leading the lifestyle I want.”
Analyzing the Future
Many men fall into the trap of looking at dating after divorce as a “rebuilding” phase.
Why is this a trap?
The term “rebuild” puts too much emphasis on the past and implies redoing a modus operandi that’s already been done, repeating the same mistakes all over again.
That’s not what we want!
A small mindset shift can avoid this trap.
Instead of “rebuilding,” think of dating as “building stronger.”
See the difference? The former mindset tries to look ahead by redoing the past; whereas the latter uses the past as a benchmark to exceed.
Makes sense, right?
Why not build atop the foundation of the character and strength you developed as a result of your divorce and the resolve you now have to build your self-confidence to date again?
When to Apply these “Dating after Divorce” Exercises
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to help guys recover after divorce.
In our experience, however, the above mindset exercises have resonated with divorced men as doable, healthy dating starting points.
Also, they are not strictly limited to previously-married men; they’re applicable to anyone who’s trying to recover from a relationship breakup.
As one of recent surveys showed, difficulties in recovering from a previous relationship is a significant reason why many guys have trouble dating.
So, whether it’s a marriage of 15 years or a whirlwind romance of a few months, it’s the break up’s impact on your psyche that’s important.
If you’re struggling to “get out there again,” these exercises are for you.
If you’re looking for more ways to boost your confidence and skills as you return to dating after divorce, our free ebook on tapping into your own uniquely attractive vibe can help tremendously.
And if you’re ready to get the support you need to get back out there with gusto (gently, of course!), we would be honored to help you do that. Explore what it’s like to work together in our dating coaching program here, and if all looks good to you, apply to talk with us about it.