Valentines Day, Single and Ready
If You’re Ready To Start Over, Here Are The 9 Must-Dos
Getting divorced does not mean you will never have a mate again. But it can feel that way when Valentine’s Day rolls around and your friends gush about their romantic dates.
Even though your marriage did not work out, there are ways to improve the odds of finding a compatible companion. Many licensed marriage and family therapists say one key to finding a mate with whom you can build a strong and successful relationship is not feeling rushed to pair up by an artificial deadline.
Judy Rader, a licensed marriage and family therapist with the Council for Relationships in the Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania, teaches students in her class Single Dating & Reconnecting to clear their heads and think about their needs as they meet potential mates. “The point is if you pressure yourself to find a mate by a time limit, you are not going to think as clearly as you should and you may settle,” Rader said.
So if you are recently divorced, finding a new mate by this Valentine’s Day probably isn’t realistic. But here are nine tips to keep in mind if the holiday puts you in the mood to start looking for love again.
1. Learn to feel comfortable with being alone.
Ruthy Kaiser, another licensed marriage and family therapist with the Council for Relationships, said to recognize that loneliness drives some people to couple. Don’t rush into a partnership just for the sake of having a mate, she said.
2. Look to different types of relationships to meet your desire for companionship or other needs.
Kaiser said, “Develop a strong support system with friends of the same sex so you have your needs met elsewhere and there’s not this disproportionate need to seek a mate. This allows you to look upon having a partner as a nice addition to your life instead of a necessity.”
3. Remember timing is a factor.
Assess whether you are really ready to date. And if you are, make sure the person you are interested in is ready, too, Kaiser said.
4. Enter a partnership slowly.
Having a successful date is one thing, but you cannot build a solid relationship overnight. Take your time and don’t let a potential mate rush you, either, Kaiser said. Know yourself.
5. Think about what your needs are in a relationship.
Making a list of all the qualities you want in a partner and then identifying the top 10 non-negotiable items can help you clarify what you really desire.
6. Assess the compatibility of your lifestyles.
Radar said to take the time to think about whether you and a potential partner share similar interests, goals, and values. Are you both athletic? Do you want children? Is attending church or dinner with extended family a weekly ritual? Compatibility in all areas is not realistic. But Rader said you should share what is important to you and make sure you and a possible mate can find ways to make peace with differences.
7. Establish bottom lines. There is no room for compromise on some issues. Think about those qualities and behaviors and make sure you look for a potential mate that has them, Radar recommends.
8. Think about how you communicate.
Rader recommends assessing how you and a possible partner resolve differences. Disagreements tear at a relationship so you and your mate need to establish ways to work them out. The approaches should leave both people satisfied they have reached an acceptable compromise.
9. Talk, talk, talk.
Make sure you and your partner talk about the issues that are important to both of you, Rader said. This might include money, intimacy, work, family and even the amount of time you spend together or apart.
About the author: Charlotte Hale is a freelance writer in Wilmington, Del. She has a journalism degree from Boston University and more than 17 years of experience as a writer and editor for newspapers and magazines in Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, London and Amman, Jordan.