Dating after Divorce

Dating after Divorce

by Jason Deines

in Dating after Divorce, Featured

Christian dating after divorce isn’t something that should be rushed into. There are several factors that can affect when a person is ready to date after divorce.

It was about a year after my divorce that I thought I was ready to date and to my surprise I was so NOT ready. Sitting there with a young lady over a cup of coffee I could feel that it was too early. I still had too many unresolved issues and I did not want to get hurt again.

Signs of not being ready to date after divorce include:

  • Thinking or talking about your ex.
  • Feeling angry towards the opposite sex.
  • Still feeling broken and hurt from your divorce.
  • Being depressed often and feeling sorry for yourself.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Comparing the people you date to your ex.
  • Being overly critical and judgmental.
  • Not knowing what you want and need in a partner.
  • Having bitterness in your heart.

As time passed I found myself going out on several more dates; meeting new people only to come to the same conclusion – I was not ready! So now it has been over 3 years and I know I am ready, the door has been opened and things actually felt right. I read somewhere that on average people of divorce remarry after 3 years but again that is just a number.

It was very difficult for me to meet people at church, mall, gym, on the street, grocery store, or even classes that I signed up for. Dating definitely takes work and it was so much easier when I was younger. I tried several of the online dating sites to get connected with more people and to my surprise it was successful.

I was able to apply what I had learned over the years and from pervious experiences with women and actually build some good, healthy relationships. Not every person you meet is going to be the one but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy their company and get to know them. Obviously the goal is to find a person that you are equally yoked to and pursue a relationship built on trust, loyalty, and eventually love. This takes time and not everyone is who they claim to be so take the time to get to know people before getting serious.

Many of us disregarded red flags and God urging us to run when we married our previous partner. Lets not allow that to happen again. No matter how great looking they may be, smart or how much money they have we must keep our wits about us, we must learn as much as we can before letting our feelings take over. If we allow our feelings to make our decisions we are in big trouble and that is what I am finding out. Feelings deceive and sometimes you need to walk away and let them go.

I took a long time working on my issues, as God revealed them to me. Some I just had to accept but I have a realistic view of who I am and how God views me. We should expect our relationships to be different and better because we have grown a great deal after our divorce. If there is doubt and if there is a nervousness that won’t go away it may be a warning and it may mean breaking things off and letting go. If it was meant to be they will come back and if not then you can be grateful that a huge mistake was avoided.

I found that dating is a hard but there is a lot you can get from it. God uses people to reveal things to us and it is a great learning experience. Try not to fear dating, don’t lead people on, don’t look for someone to save, always be honest, feelings come later, and seek God’s guidance.

2 Corinthians 6:14
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Read “Breaking the Ice with Christian Online Dating”


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Scott Carwile

For someone who is not a pastor, nor trained counselor, you sure have some great Christian insight, Jason. I am going through what you’ve already gone through, and your words were very comforting to me. Besides, the counsel you offer is very wise. Thanks for being there, my brother. Blessings, Scott

2 Jason

Thank you Scott. I don’t think I have ever been told I was wise… I must be getting old :-) I think as we get older and closer to God we want meaningful relationships and hopefully if we have learned from our mistakes, which I made a lot of, we try to avoid making the same ones again. Keep the faith and bless you too.

3 alan

Jason I am wondering if you have had any conviction to “stand for your marriage” if not, why. I would appreciate your perspective and thanks for all the time you put into your site. It has been of help to me!

4 Jason

Hi Alan, I am not sure what you are asking. In my mind there is nothing to stand for. My ex wife made a choice to end the marriage and now is married to someone else. To be with this woman would make me an adulterer if she were to divorce yet again. I know for certain God doesn’t want me to be with her because God would not wish me to sin.

5 Gerry

Hi Jason. I met someone else and fell in love. I was sure it was for real. They are gone now, but the relationship never truly had an end. He ended up in the hospital and won’t/can’t contact me and he’s 2000 miles away but I can’t let go of the love I have for him. I keep hoping a miracle will happen and he will come back, I don’t know how to let him go when I can’t stop thinking about him and the way we were. I do go to the word and am trusting God, but it is so hard.

6 Jason

Gerry,

I know what you are saying… Just remember that if it is meant to be it will be and if it isn’t then there is someone more suitable for you. It may feel one way now but in time God has a way of revealing something better. Hang in there.

7 Stephen

Hi, my wife, of 13 yrs, is divorcing me. I was totally overly dependent on her – it has only been about 7 months now, 5 months in the basement and now 1 month alone in an apartment. I get so lonely, I feel I am going insane – so though I know I have codependency issues that I am working on, I think it is better for me to try date then to go crazy. I know I should have a deeper relationship with the Lord and I am working on that. I am reading a great book ‘love is a choice, the definitive book on letting go of unhealthy relationships’. It is all about overcoming dependency and written from a very Christian perspective – saying that the Lord offers me the perfect relationship for my dependency as I can totally lose myself in him and he will always be there for me. Now I just got to find him.

8 Jason

Stephan,

I hear what you are saying… May I recommend finding group activities. They can help with the loneliness.

9 Mary E

Jason I was married 40 years to a man who had no love for me we had to wonderful children and 6 grands however he consistently cheated with other people of both sexes and because of his inability to seek God for deliverance my life was at risk I divorced him, I suffered both anger and resentment and at the end it hurtful to us both . He is a preacher and I prayed constantly but I finally realized we have free will and I let go, it has taken me over 5 years to heal and now I am happier than ever before lonesome at times but not lonely God has been with me through every wakening hour day and night I am blessed I am not an aids patient and I have survived still in my right mind , looking forward to getting married again one day when I meet the person God has greated and designed for me. Thank you and keep on with this ministry.

10 Father_of_2

Jason,
I “stumbled” onto your web site a couple weeks back. It has been very helpful and extremely informative. I am seeking input on the “dating after divorce” topic. One thing that attracted me to keep reading on your site is the fact that you are real. There seems to be an abundance of those who will just tell you to “keep praying” and “all I can say is just pray about it” to the extent that praying almost seems redundant. They don’t seem to realize that people, like myself, are real and looking for real answers. Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW without a doubt that God can (and does) answer prayers, but I’ve found in my “walk” that it is hard to guide a vessel if its anchored or standing still. (I.e., God can guide you more easily if you are willing to obey and move…that is the whole reason that the word “guide” is used….defined as “a device for steadying or directing the MOTION of something”) I know that there is no set time frame for any one divorced person to use to feel comfortable dating again, but my question is: In your experience, have you noticed any “indicators” that would lead someone to know when that time has come?
Thanks!

11 Jason

Father of 2… I know what you are saying about “keep praying”. I am sorry to say that there came a point in my life after divorce that I got sick of hearing that phrase. I understand the importance of it but I just wish someone would tell me that there just isn’t an answer sometimes and we are going to feel miserable! Because that is just the way it is. We need to pray and walk in faith to get things done. Action is always required in some form.

Inicators:

1. For me I found that when I sat across from a woman and felt like she needed to pay for what “women” had done to me that meant I was not ready :-) I know that sounds bad but I admit I didn’t like women for a spell.

2. Now that I am over not liking women I had to check on how I felt about myself. Did I like who I was? Was I self-confident? I think this one took me the most time. I finally started dating after 4 years because I wanted to find a healthy relationship and that comes with self-confidence. It took me quite a while to get to this point. Plus women are attracted to it.

3. If you find yourself on a date venting about your ex… Probably not ready.

Well I think those are the main things that I looked at. I am still trying to figure it out. I have found that I have new issues to deal with. One of which is jealousy… I never used to be that way but because my wife cheated on me I seem to think other women will too. Heck they might but me wasting time being jealous isn’t going to solve it. Either I trust her or don’t.

I say give it a shot and see how you feel. Remember that you are a commodity so don’t settle. Seek out women that feel the same about themselves.

12 Paula

Thanks for the comments here. I just passed the one year mark from my divorce (we were together 13 years). I know at this point that I am no where near ready to date again. I also appreciated the comments about being equally yoked. This was a huge problem in my marriage. We wanted different things. I heard someone say recently that it takes 1 year to recover from every 4 years you were married. I know this is intended to be a guideline only, but I can definitely see the value in it.

13 Cathie

Hi Jason,

Thanks for your practical, real insights. You have said that you are not a professional but, know what? I am a clinical counselor and have found that I cannot talk about my divorce within the church or with clients or co-workers without feeling the sting of judgment, so I’m holding a lot in. You are providing a way for believers like me to come with all of our pain and not feel judged, thank you for following the Lord’s leading.

To be totally honest, my ex-husband of 30 years left to meet up with a woman he met online. Left me with 4 kids, one grandchild I am helping to raise, he filed for bankruptcy before he took off (rang up incredible credit card debt, some in my name) and quit his job. My pastor or church family did not come to visit once, nobody called, my extended family did not even call unless I called them. Bitter? My bitterness threatened to consume me if it were not for always sensing God’s presence in quiet ways. I found that, through it all, I could not look to people, the church or friends to help. I have stopped going to church and cannot stomach the empty “I am praying for you” platitudes without depth from other believers. But I am trying to make it a point to be a doer to help others and not be a fake Christian. Please forgive me if I still sound a little bitter, healing is coming slowly and I am a work in progress.

I hate what my ex-husband did to me but the Lord gently pulled me out of the ash pile and I can honestly say He is working on bringing good out of me. I do not hate men, I am still a firm believer in commitment, faithfulness, love and caring. I would still treat a man with all the warmth and caring I could muster, but I will never again make anyone but the Lord give me reason and purpose.

Thanks, Jason, blessings to you and to everyone else here…please don’t any of us ever give up or we’ll miss so much good down the road.

Love in Christ,

Cathie

14 Jason

Cathie, I understand what you are saying. I was surprised myself that the church did not have more resources or groups for divorced people. It happens to half the population and is compared to the death of a loved one… you would think that there would be more support. But then I wonder if people would actually go…

Anyhow, my Christian walk is full of highs and lows, going to church and not going, but God is always there encouraging me and reminding me that He loves me. I feel I have been right where you are at. Gosh what I would have given for someone to just hug me and tell me a I am ok instead of offer “I am praying for you”. Of course prayer is good but we need so much more and if prayer is involved I want to be right there in the middle of it hearing the comforting words.

We are all work in progresses…

15 Cathie

Thanks for your encouragement, I did run off a study on watching our reactions and keep it on my desk at work. I think the reason a lot of divorced people may not go to support groups for the divorced is that many of us are single parents who work full-time and are trying to keep up with kids, home repairs, car repairs, cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, .., ZZZzzzzz

Blessings, Cathie

16 Lisa

I have been officially divorced for a little over a year now but separated for three years from a 17-year marriage that ended with drastic and devastating consequences for me and my former spouse. I also felt abandoned by my church and church “friends”. I have been working on healing but have had several other life obstacles thrown in the mix…..losing my house, health problems, betrayal by two “very good friends”. It seems that I am still not healed, even though I have become extremely close to God and rely on him daily, worked with a therapist, read hundreds of books, attended Celebrate Recovery meetings, and became fit and healthy. I am a very attractive women (by typical beauty standards), intelligent, funny, caring and have a good career. I have been on an internet dating site for a few months and had numerous first dates or meetings, as well as, a few fix-ups from friends but I feel absolutely NOTHING for anyone, no spark, no attraction….nada, nothing, zero. What else do I need to do……more time, more therapy, more books??? Feeling very frustrated and would appreciate any insight, Lisa

17 Jason Deines

Lisa, I think time is what you need. Do you feel good about yourself? Love yourself? If you have a healthy self-esteem and are living your own life without the NEED for someone else you will find someone. I was single for several years; went to therapy, read books, sculpted the bod and went out on dates but it did take time to really be ready… Plus you need to remember that the person God has intended for you might not be ready. It might be him not you.

Now’s the perfect time to set a couple goals or start a new hobby. Those kind of things can help bring more people in your life and occupy your mind. I tried to rush things or force them to happen but that isn’t the way to meet the ONE. Also, remember that the spark often fades and when you feel the fireworks for someone in the beginning they usually fade with time. Kind of hard to get that back. Learn what your must haves are in a man, what your strengths and weaknesses are and maybe change up your approach a little. Try to have fun! Remember… I admit to not knowing much and screw up constantly so take my advice with a grain of salt.

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