Whether your divorce is a distant memory, or you are still in the throes of a legal battle, the question always looms, “When should I start dating?”
While some women will swear off men forever (or at least until they are lonely enough), others are itching to date even before the ink from the judge’s signature dries on the divorce papers.
There are guidelines for how to know when to date, but today I want to talk about not the when, but the what. Specifically, I want to cover the three things you need to know before you date again. Whether you plan on stepping back into the dating scene two years from now or tomorrow, keep these things in mind, and you’ll have a far greater chance of being happy—and be far less likely to kiss another toad.
- Not every Christian is a Christ follower. When I was dating after my divorce, I thought all I needed was to find a nice Christian man and all would be well. I reasoned that since my ex had been far from a Christ follower, being with a Christian would fix all that. Boy, was I wrong! I quickly learned, as many women do, that just because someone labels themselves a Christian or even goes to church twice a week, it doesn’t make him a Christ follower. The only way to know if someone is a true Christ follower is to spend time with him, and his life will show the fruit. You want to see not just pretty flowers and nice restaurants, but all the qualities that God calls for in a Christian man.
- You can’t move forward until you heal from the past. Many of you are more than anxious to move forward and put the past behind you. But I assure you, until you have spent the time metabolizing the relationship and understanding the part you played in its demise, you have not healed. Unless you heal from your old wounds, it won’t take much for a guy to slap an old wound of yours and send you screaming in pain. In order to give any new relationship a fighting chance, you want to go into it whole and healed.
- Your kids are not OK with you dating. If you have children–no matter what their age and no matter how much you talk them into thinking that dating is a good thing–they are confused. Your children need you. They are going through more emotional turmoil than they let on. If you have time to date, you have time to invest in your children. Get your kids on solid ground before you even think about dating. If the thought of that brings you anxiety because you feel you just can’t wait and don’t feel you need to, it may be time to get some help with your perspective.
Divorce isn’t easy. Dating is no picnic either. Give yourself and your future relationships a fighting chance—only allow yourself to be captivated by a God-fearing man and follow God’s plan for your life, and you will inevitably bloom in this new season of your life.
By Kris Reece, Counselor, Divorce Coach, Speaker