Divorce And Dating … How They Go Together

By Erika Ettin
Tribune News Service

According to the American Psychological Association, in Western cultures, more than 90 percent of people get married by the time they turn 50 years old.

Forty to 50 percent of married couples in the U.S., however, get divorced. And the divorce rate for second and third marriages is even higher.

According to the Witherspoon Institute, many factors may contribute to a couple’s uncoupling: the age at which you get married, the age difference between spouses, marital history, family history of divorce, children (both had and desired), and sexual history.

Now, I’m not sharing this information to depress you or to make you think twice about getting married or married again. What I am saying is that if you are divorced and looking to date again, you’re in very good company.

What may have been considered taboo before is more commonplace now. In fact, I often have clients who prefer meeting another divorcee so that there is a common life experience on which to build a bond.

Especially if you were married for a very long time, as many of my clients have been, online dating can seem very daunting.

Match.com was founded in the 1990s, as was JDate, so if you were looking for love before that, these sites were not yet an option. Dating today is a lot different than it used to be. As we learned from Aziz Ansari’s book “Modern Romance,” we used to look in our own radius for a partner.

Ansari references a 1932 University of Pennsylvania study that showed that one-third of married couples had previously lived within a five-block radius of each other. And, if you remember, my parents met because they were next-door neighbors!

In these times of technology, dating is not necessarily better or worse, it’s just different. If you’ve recently (or not so recently) divorced and are looking to get back out there, then it’s important to have some perspective on online dating, so please keep these pointers in mind:

1. Remember that it’s just a date.
All you’re committing to when you agree to meet someone is a date. Not marriage, not a ten-course meal. Just a date with some conversation.

2. Be accurate and truthful.
Just as you want your date to have posted recent photos and told the truth about his or her age and height, your date wants the same of you.

3. Don’t create a fantasy in your mind.
Until you meet someone in person, there’s no way of knowing whether you have chemistry or not regardless the number of emails or phone chats exchanged; so get to the in-person meeting sooner rather than later.

4. Don’t badmouth online dating.
It’s one thing to be a bit nervous, but it’s another to project your cynicism on others.
In the end, it takes time to make a connection. Don’t go in expecting to meet the next love of your life in a week or a month. Just like anything important in life, it will take time. You’re not alone.
(Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating.)

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