Dating After Divorce: How to let go of the past

Dating After Divorce: How to let go of the past

Posted by John Aiken, 12 August: Before the advent of internet dating, it was very difficult for divorcees to meet like minded singles. One of the great fears after a marriage break-up is whether you’ll ever meet someone again. And will they really be able to understand and embrace the fact you may have kids and your ex may still play an ongoing role in your life?

All that changed with the arrival of dating sites like FindSomeone. Now the opportunity to fall in love and meet your ideal partner has become so much easier, as the pool of available singles is just a click away. And if the fit isn’t right, you simply move on to your next potential online love interest. It doesn’t matter where you are in New Zealand, there are plenty of other single Kiwis out there ready to get on board!

But a word of caution.

Just because your chances of meeting singles after divorce has become a lot easier with online dating – it doesn’t mean you’re ready to fall in love. One of the big issues you can have after a divorce is carrying around old baggage from the past. If you don’t deal with this, then you’re going to struggle to have a successful love life moving forward.

So before you jump into dating after your divorce, follow these 5 tips to make sure you’ve let go of your baggage:

1 Learn from your relationship mistakes

If you want different you have to do different. That means before you meet a new partner, understand what went wrong in your past relationship and don’t repeat the same pattern. Think about why your ex was wrong for you, how did you contribute to the break-up, what do you want different in your next partner, and how are you going to change things up next time around? Then be disciplined and stay away from the wrong types.

2 Create boundaries with your ex

If you’ve had a marriage break-up then you’re going to likely have some ongoing contact with your ex. You may or may not have kids, and your ex may or may not be heavily involved in your life. Whatever the case, you need to have clear boundaries with them so you are uncomplicated and available to let love in. Consider boundaries around finances, phone calls, family events, pick ups and drop offs, texts, schooling routines, holidays and sharing personal information.

3 Avoid dwelling on the past

One of the most obvious ways someone can tell you’re not over your past is by the way you constantly think and talk about it. Whether it’s to friends, family or to your new partner, you dwell on the past. You may also have photos of the past all around you, keep old gifts and letters, and frequently reminisce about the old days. This must stop if you’re going to move forward with someone new.

4 Live a healthy lifestyle

Taking a healthy approach to life is a wonderful way to break the chains of the past and get some new momentum in your life. That means doing daily exercise, eating a healthy diet, moderating your drinking and getting plenty of sleep. You want to look and feel your best as you let a new person into your life, so it’s time to create a fresh new you!

5 Establish new friends, interests and surroundings

One of the most immediate ways to let go and move on is to separate yourself from the people, activities and surroundings of the past. That means saying goodbye to mixing with your ex’s social network, their family members and distancing yourself from the things you used to do together. It may also mean moving suburbs, leaving your old job, going to a new gym, and/or finding a new passion. Remember old ways don’t open new doors, so create new patterns.


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John Aiken, Findsomeone’s dating and relationship expert, as seen on the hit TV 3 show Married At First Sight. He is a best selling author, appears regularly on TV, radio and in magazines, is a clinical psychologist and runs a private practice in Sydney, is a sought after speaker, and offers intensive couples retreats. (