Three divorced people describe how a divorce taught them to date again

I have been divorced for over a year now and have remained faithful to my ex. We still love each other, are amicable with each other and continue to live together. I don’t know if my new experience will teach me anything in the long run, but to be honest, I’m glad I stayed for the time being.

From the outside, divorce seems like the best thing for everyone. But that’s not how things work. I’m lucky in that, no matter what decision I made, I could choose to remain open to the possibility of finding love again. This may sound basic and obvious, but a divorce taught me just how much better it can be to stay open to the possibility of finding true love.

When I was still getting over my divorce, I met a fellow Navy wife on a private military website and we chatted for a couple of weeks. We exchanged Snapchat’s, kept in touch on Facebook and even discussed spending our free time together. I was dating men that were distant and unavailable, and I was in my mid-30s. I never considered what it would take to truly, thoroughly love another person and commit to a long-term relationship, so I followed my gut and expressed my interest. Soon after, I spent my weekends with her because I was happy, not because I truly believed I wanted to get to know her.

Although this may sound foolish, I know that I couldn’t have survived the struggles and ups and downs of marriage if I hadn’t sought out a true connection with someone else. In many ways, the closure I got from my divorce allowed me to better prepare for what was to come.

As I approach 40, I’m not sure where I’ll go from here or what I’ll do next, but I know that dating hasn’t been easy or a fun experience so far. Not only is my ex still married, but I also don’t like to date outside of my Navy community. These are not ideal relationships that I believe I’m ready for at this point in my life. I’m just a single 40-year-old woman.

But what I have learned over the past year is that there’s hope that dating can become more appealing if I want it to. To begin with, I try to set the bar as high as possible. My standards for who I date and what I do are very high and I don’t want to settle. I want my dates to be mature, fun and inspirational. I don’t want to be bored or disappointed.

If dating isn’t for me, then I’ll never fall victim to superficiality. I want a real man who treats me with respect, be honest, and is someone that I can lean on. I want to feel safe, not afraid. Because the older I get, the more I realize that I’ve grown into a very open-minded person, someone who can see past preconceived notions and biases. I’m proud of the person I’ve become, and I think I deserve a healthy, happy relationship with someone who treats me with the same respect I’m looking for.

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