Dating After Divorce

Are you ready to start dating? Emily and Kevin discuss when you should get back into the dating scene,
the difficulties of dating, and the different ways of dating.
September 27, 2013

Recording: Divorce Talk Radio does not give therapeutic advice. The topics discussed are for informational purposes only. If you are need of therapy or counseling, please consult a licensed professional in your own state.


Emily: Welcome to today’s show, this is Moving Forward. I am your host, Emily McGrath with my co-host Kevin McCarthy. How are you today Kevin?


Kevin: Emily, it is always good to see you here, you know that.


Emily: It’s wonderful having you here. Thank you, and thank you to our listeners for tuning in. Today we are going to be talking about the hot topic of dating…


Kevin: Oh no. No.


Emily: …after divorce, yes. This is I feel one of those topics that are highly talked about, and I feel that when you are coming out of such a hard break up such as a divorce, that you should take time for yourself and really have some self care and really think about who you are as an individual because you were a part of a marriage and a partnership. Really think about who you are and who you want to be and what is the goal for dating. Do you want to me remarried? Do you want to just have a relationship or a partnership? What is your end goal? What is the purpose of dating for you?


Kevin: All good points. Really good points because someone after going through a divorce, now me  too, I’ve been with some women here who’ve been married two or three times and sometimes I have to question it. What are you doing this for? Which you’re bringing up a very valid point.


Emily: What’s the end result, what is your goal?


Kevin: What’s the purpose?


Emily: Why are you wanting to date? I think a lot of people, females specifically, they need that feeling of belonging. Like that they get out of relationships. And dating, not just dating specifically, but being around a man. I don’t know if that makes sense.


Kevin: Well they just don’t want to be alone. Maybe that’s it; they just don’t want to be alone. I know a couple of friends of mine that I date, but we’re just friends. But they have that where, my gosh just take a break from dating for awhile.


Emily: Yes, I feel it’s necessary to have some time where you’re not dating, and you’re not looking for anyone and to be alone. Because that’s how you find out about yourself and who you want to be. I know we’ve talked about self care in a previous show that we did, but just to kind of revisit that a little bit, maybe take a bath, go for a walk, start a good book, do some journaling.  And you can really find out a lot about yourself from just doing those few things. And maybe just journal on what you’re looking for in a mate, or someone that you want to be in a relationship with.


Kevin: And what we learned. We learned so much Emily, is we are not the same person we were when got married.


Emily: Absolutely.


Kevin: So, right there alone you’ve already changed. Second of all in my case too, I’ve been married for almost 17 years. The internet was around, but the last time I dated it was a friend of a friend or through the newspaper. It’s internet dating now. What the heck is this? I go, do I really have to do this? Do I have to get involved with internet dating? I don’t want to go there, you know. But really it is important, just to bounce back to what you were saying, you have to take time for yourself because you are, to put it bluntly messed up in your mind and I say that because you really are. Going through divorce, emotions are high, you don’t know what direction you want to go into. You don’t know how to handle things, you’re just trying to get through the day to day. Stick with getting through the day to day, and then when you’re ready, maybe months after the divorce is finalized, and maybe even at the tail end of the divorce, once you know you can not get back with that person again, but you really have to have that separation of things before you’re ready. You don’t want to affect the person you might be dating or seeing down the road.


Emily: Right and it’s not good for either party if you’re jumping into the dating scene too quickly because you could hurt that other person and you could hurt yourself and get stuck in that same situation that you just got out of. We get caught in relationships, it seems like. And if you don’t help yourself, and heal before you jump into relationships, you can have the same thing over and again. It’s like a cycle.


Kevin: Absolutely.


Emily: And if you don’t help yourself… Another thing I think is important to say is that if you don’t love yourself again and find out who you are and truly honestly love yourself; you can’t truly love someone else.


Kevin: You can’t. You really need to find out who you are now. You need to find out; well you have to be grounded. When I say that, grounded and just your mindsets, I’m always big on talking about a mindset no matter what you’re doing in life. Your mindset is such where, okay your work is in order, you’re going through this divorce and it ended, or that things are sort of planned. So your mind set is set, you’re not just winging anything. Well I feel like going on a date now, let me go hit the internet and join a dating site. No, you got to plan yourself and make sure you’re ready for that.


Emily: Right, and also if you have kids. It’s not a good idea to get involved with someone so quickly because everyone is dealing with the grief of divorce. You’re going through it your kids are, and then throw a new person into it? It’s not fair for anyone involved.


Kevin: Dating with kids is probably a whole other show that we could do here.


Emily: Oh yes.


Kevin: I mean my gosh. But it is such an important factor. You have children, especially if they’re smaller, what are you going to be doing? I’ll use from my standpoint, if I want to be on a date with a woman, is she going to have me over to meet her kids for the first or second time? Well, I’ve been through that and my answer is no. Get to know that guy first before you introduce or get the kids involved. Sometimes you might have to, to a certain point if you’re, whatever. I mean there’s just so much out there with dating with children.


Emily: And you have to be very careful especially if you go online dating. I have experiences with that unfortunately. I’m not a fan of online dating. I was very naive after my divorce, and I thought that would be an easy way to find someone. It’s very easy to pretend to be someone else.


Kevin: But we do have to have that, again, if we want to get back into just having a relationship and going out and dating and see where it goes, we have to have that starting ground. You had a starting ground.


Emily: I did, and I learned the hard way I think which you were involved in.


Kevin: But we all do, you know.


Emily: Yes but


Kevin: Do you maybe want to touch on that story or something?


Emily: You don’t want to bring this individual who you’ve never met to your house.


Kevin: No.


Emily: Which is something I did, nothing happened bad. But Kevin and one of our other dear friends came over and kind of saved me from that, and made sure that I was okay. And I was, and he went on his little merry way and never saw him again which was fine. But you need to be careful of online dating just because you don’t know who these people are, you don’t know if they’re telling you the truth, you don’t know anything.


Kevin: Look, they could give you that song and dance on that page where they tell you their interests, and all of that stuff, who they are, the photo of themselves. It’s when you really have to date them, see them, when they give you the warning on those websites, it’s all very true. And use your common sense. Emily, I still have to scold you about that, although I think I did a number of times. But, you learn. That’s what it is.


Emily: I never did that again.


Kevin: No, never again. It is a big thing to take on.


Emily: Yes, and I think that’s another issue, where do you find people to date? You know, where can you go, what can you do. I suggest going through friends.


Kevin: Yes.


Emily: That’s what I did, I actually went on a blind date which I’ve never done before. And I haven’t dated for ten years.


Kevin: It’s something that all these newfangled things now, internet. How to meet people the right one, the companionship, it’s got to be this. You see eye to eye. Here, Emily goes on a blind date which has been going on probably from day one…


Emily: Yes.


Kevin: And you met this wonderful guy.


Emily: I did. I met my soul mate. I did, I think working with friends is absolutely the best way to find someone because they have your best interests at hand, and they know if it doesn’t work that’s fine, but you’re not going to have a situation where you’re stuck. Or you’re scared, or you’re going to be hurt. Because it’s going to come back to your friend and that is not a good outcome. But, yes. I did go on a blind date and that was the last blind date I’ve been on, the last date I’ve been on, we’re still together, and so…


Kevin: So the success does happen.


Emily: Yes, it does.


Kevin: Sometimes it takes longer; it could take years and who knows where it’s going to go.


Emily: Right.


Kevin: But with you, it was a nice match.


Emily: Yes, it was a great match. And I am grateful for my friend.


Kevin: And sometimes going through a friend of a friend, which I like, is that they’re almost prescreened because they know how you are and they might know how that other person is or it could be a friend of a friend, of a friend. But a least there’s sort of, I’ll use the term prescreened again.


Emily: Right.


Kevin: I would suggest too, before meeting anyone talk on the phone a few times, do some emails.


Emily: That’s exactly what we did. We did that. We talked on the phone quite a bit, I gave him my background. I have a child, this is what’s going on with me and he gave me his background. So, I think that’s important as well like you said. Because then you know before meeting each other that you have compatibility. That is important to be able to have that relationship over the phone before you actually meet.


Kevin: If you can’t talk over the phone, then there might be some problems meeting that person in person.


Emily: It also kind of shows you that they’re willing to do that, talk on the phone before meeting you, I think that’s also a good starting ground. They’re willing to put that effort into it, and not expect the world, so to speak.


Kevin: Something that I always look for too is when a person says they’re going to call you back.


Emily: Yes. Reliability.


Kevin: Reliability. They must follow through with it. I mean wasn’t that a big factor with your boyfriend right now?


Emily: It was, especially since I have a child. Are you going to show up? Are you going to be there, I didn’t not introduce my son to him right away, obviously. That is something I did not do, but once I knew that he was not going anywhere, I did introduce him to my son which went really well.


Kevin: And that was over a period of time, until that time when you were comfortable.


Emily: Yes.


Kevin: That’s what I stress to all the ladies listening too.


Emily: Or men.


Kevin: Yeah, I guess, just a sidebar I’m still a believer in the man and the woman. We’re here for reasons. Somehow I think younger kids especially would be closer toward the mom.


Emily: Yes.


Kevin: And when it comes to the whole dating thing, again the mom might have more jurisdiction over the kids, than maybe the man has. But, you have to make sure… it has to be comfortable, it has to be the right thing before you bring kinds into meeting someone.


Emily: Absolutely


Kevin: There were times, Emily I’m sorry, that I dated. This is even before I got married. I’m seeing these kids, and I love kids and the kids get along with me. But I was like why are you having me see, you didn’t tell me your son was going to be here.


Emily: Yeah.


Kevin: I would have said, “Hey, Jenny, Janie”, you shouldn’t have don’t that.


Emily: Well kids get attached so easily, and I think it’s really hard if the child does get attached to that new person and then it doesn’t work out. Its not just you breaking up with them, it’s your child as well.


Kevin: Then are you going the same to the next guy that comes along?


Emily: Right


Kevin: You, Jenny or Janie. And again that’s a whole other show we could do.


Emily: Then they get desensitized to that, which is not good. It should not be a revolving door, at all.


Kevin: Not for kids, no.


Emily: I didn’t really date that much, if I did I did not introduce them to my child. I think I maybe went on three dates, that’s it. And then I found who I’m with now and obviously I’m not dating anymore. But I think that is key. If you’re going to date a lot, don’t bring the kids into it at all.


I think that you don’t have to date a whole lot to find a good person that you’re looking for, but I think it’s also a good idea to write down the traits that you are looking for, and like I said earlier what is your goal. What is your end goal for this? Are you wanting to get remarried? Which I never thought I would want to get remarried again, but if you find the right person and it just clicks and things are good, then why not. But it’s something you need to think about.


Kevin: And I know we all make mistakes, we’re still making the mistakes. But it’s so much better than it was let’s say two years ago, three years ago. You how to handle situations better, and I’m even at a point now where I’m giving advice to friends who are going through divorce. That’s why Emily is part of Divorce Talk Radio, me as a co host here because we’ve been through all of this. Listen people to what we have to say, please. And feel free to contact Emily here and she’ll let you know about some of the heartaches and things that we all sort of went through. But have that list. Why do you want to date again? There’s one girl who I know that, we’re friends and I tell you, here’s the wrong thing. She’s constantly dating. I hear she meets this nice guy and then it’s like, well what are you doing dating someone else? All right, well maybe to her it’s just a date.


Emily: Maybe she needs that constant feeling of affection or being with someone and like you said earlier doesn’t want to be alone. But that’s a cover up. She’s not going to find what she’s looking for if that’s the case.


Kevin: She wants a nice guy. It’s like, do you know how many nice guys you probably went through but didn’t give that nice guy a chance?


Emily: Right


Kevin: Because something went haywire, you didn’t like it all, you didn’t think the looks were all really there. Then you move onto the guy B, C, D, E, and so forth.


Emily: Maybe she jumped into it too quickly.


Kevin: In this case she’s been divorced for awhile here. but what we’re speaking of and I guess we should tailor this, is that pretty much those who are recently divorced or divorced in a period of time there after, maybe not years afterwards, what we say still holds true.


Emily: Well if you jump into it too quickly, and you’re going through relationships like crazy; take a look at what you’re doing. Why are you going through these relationships so quickly and disposing of it instead of really searching for what you’re looking for?


Kevin: Reflect back on, “Geez, I dated this person and this person and this person, it’s not really working out. What am I doing wrong?” Maybe you are doing something wrong; maybe it’s the wrong people too.


Emily: Maybe you’re looking at the wrong people, maybe it’s a reflection of your divorce and what your marriage was like. Are you going through that cycle again? If that’s true you need to stop dating and really look at your self because being in a relationship is hard. You have to do the work on yourself and heal yourself from the divorce before you can truly be in a good relationship. I never thought I would be in a good relationship, we don’t argue at all. We have discussions. In my marriage, we fought all the time. I never thought I would be in a relationship where I didn’t fight.


Kevin: Isn’t it nice?


Emily: Oh my gosh, it’s heaven. It doesn’t have to be about fighting. It doesn’t discussions are one thing, but arguments are another.


Kevin: And hopefully that’s something that we all learned. My marriage, I don’t even know the word of yelling or screaming or whatever. You still have to learn from what your past is and who that person you were with prior. At this point, you want to try to enjoy life. You’re dating again.


Emily: And make it fun.


Kevin: Make it fun, look forward to the future.


Emily: But also look for the red flags.


Kevin: My gosh. Red flags are always out there and that’s right. And if there’s one too many, even one red flag, all right then there’s a problem. Either go through with the date, or see the person once or twice and then if it’s not working out you move on to the next one. You could date ten people within a year and none of them are just it. That’s where you keep going at.


Emily: Because you don’t want to get into the same situation. You don’t want to settle, you don’t want to get into a relationship, say you get into a relationship, get married, and you feel like you need to get divorced again. You don’t want to have to go through that twice. Once is enough.


Kevin: There’s something too, and again Emily you’ve been sort of out of the dating scene since you met this nice guy. He’s a great guy, love the guy! You’re going to meet someone even if talking on the phone. You’re still talking about your ex. “My ex used to do this. My ex did that to me. My…” I don’t want to hear that. It’s like wait a minute, we’re starting new.  Yes, you’re eventually going to talk about your past relationships.


Emily: It’s not a good idea to vent on the person that you’re dating, because they’re going to be like, “I’m out of here. I don’t want to hear about it. I’m trying to see if you’re the person that I want to be with” or whatever the goal is.


Kevin: Yeah, a companion some to date with. I don’t want to hear your problems, drama. Leave it at the door.


Emily: Yes. I mean you do want to let them know, maybe not right away, of the situation, of the background, “I’m divorced, and I have a child”. Maybe that’s all you need to say at the beginning. But don’t bring your baggage with, no one wants to hear that. Especially on a first date.


Kevin: I think the first couple, the first two or three dates. And hopefully on the telephone Emily, and you tell me about this, you’re the coach, this is where you need to figure things out and this way you can sort of, “Okay, well why did you get divorced?” Okay, I see”. Of course you need to know because you’re curious, because you don’t want to date somebody who’s a complete lunatic.


Emily: Right and I think it’s a different situation when the individual that you’re dating is asking the questions, versus you just volunteering the information. And really notice how you’re talking about your former spouse. I like saying former spouse versus ex, just because I think it’s a nicer term. It’s not so grasp. It’s not such an icky word.


Kevin: And it comes off that you’re also a decent person, that you’re not calling the “B” word, or the whatever word you want to call him or her. Put that aside because you want to see this person, you want to get to know this person so put your best foot forward.


Emily: Right, and that’s where the healing come in and the self care. I teach a lot of that with my coaching and I’ve had a lot of good outcomes with my clients. They can feel a difference, and sometimes you realize you want someone different than you thought you did. After you’ve going through this healing and through the grief, because you have changed your energy level. That’s another thing to consider is working through that pain with somebody to really heal and be a different person so that you can have a better relationship with someone else.


Kevin: Because eventually, if you are not ready to date then just don’t date. Don’t just do it because you want to go out and have a good time and meet a guy or meet a girl.


Emily: Go out with your friends instead.


Kevin: That’s what your friends are there for. And you never know because again it goes back, some of the best people you might meet might be through a friend of a friend. You go to some bar, a night club, maybe out to dinner somewhere; maybe you’re going to see a play. Us older folks here, we’re not into that bar scene anymore. We’re going, whether it be going through church, maybe there’s other groups or organizations you could join. is good for meeting people.


Emily: Right, that is a good one.


Kevin: I met friends through Meetup.


Emily: Have you? I’ve never used that.


Kevin: It’s great but there’s other things to get involved with too, just not dating. There’s a dining out, there are the singles ones that are out there but you should see. I was clueless, Emily until someone told me. Actually this one girl that I dated said, “Kevin why don’t you go to this Meetup”. I go, “Really?” She says, “Yeah, you can meet friends”. Well, okay. There’s another line now. Friends of friends of friends. So that I thought was a wonderful way. It’s just out to have fun.


Emily: You don’t have to go dating to have fun.


Kevin: No. You can meet your friends and go out for a drink, and you know there’s a nice guy or a nice girl maybe he or she


Emily: It turns into something


Kevin: It turns into something. Right.


Emily: And sometimes those are the best relationships because they’re so honest and what’s better than that.


Kevin: That’s right and again but watch those red flags.


Emily: Oh gosh. So I think what our main thing is that were saying today is that you need to make sure you’re ready because if you’re not ready, it could be very bad. You could get hurt again or it could end badly. And just take care of yourself before you start dating. I think that’s key. Otherwise it could end up the same way and you’re just in a cycle like I said earlier. And you don’t want to go through another divorce or another bad breakup. It’s not fun and it’s sometimes hard to recover from if you haven’t done the healing before you get into a relationship.


Kevin: And maybe after that or during that time is when you want to meet some new friends. That’s where this comes in at, or other avenues to explore. Don’t even think about dating.   Get it out of your mind, which at one point I did and let me tell you a lot of it came out of left field. So, just keep yourself busy, you got to live life. And that’s it. That’s what I really learned too, oh my gosh. There’s a whole world out there of things to do.


Emily: Exactly. If you’re a single parent and have kids, spend time with your kids. Reconnect with your kids because after a divorce they’re going to need that time with you because they need to recover as well because it’s such a change. Maybe take a month or two and reconnect with them, find your hobbies are again. Find out who you are as an individual, and you’re going to thank yourself because you’re going to get into a better relationship.


Kevin: Things will smell better, you’ll be breathing better. Even do things around the house to keep occupied. Before you know it, I’m into this gardening things now, I don’t know if you know about this or not but yeah. I really took an interest into the gardening.


Emily: Really? You want to come over to my house?


Kevin: I shouldn’t have said that I should have waited later. Which is great you know, Kevin’s got a little green thumb here.


Emily: Awesome.


Kevin: So again there’s so much interest, there’s so many things to do out there.


Emily: And you’ve recently found that out, so that’s awesome.


Kevin: I’ve always liked it, but boy did I really discover it. I’m saying I liked it, but I really, really like it.


Emily: That’s great.


Kevin: So I’m into that state now, learning all different types of plants and maybe we’ll get Brad and do a show about divorce and plants, I don’t know. Gardening after divorce. The top five things to do and what not to do with Kevin.


Emily: Oh goodness. Is weeding how you take your aggression out? Because I have some weeds.


Kevin: Let me tell you, if you’re married, if you’re not married, whatever the case is; gardening and pulling weeds is a therapeutic thing, even if it’s cutting the grass. If you like doing it, it is nice and something to look forward to. And you take your mind off things. So, yes Emily I’ll still cut your grass, I’ll come on over.


Emily: But the thing I want to say is that even if you get your mind off of it it’s still going to be there. So if you don’t heal yourself, I think that’s one of the main things tonight. You don’t heal yourself, it’s always going to be there.


Kevin: There was one gal that I dated. When I say gal, and my friends know this, when I say gal and chick no disrespect to the females, believe me. I love and cherish them. But this one gal who I dated I knew she just wasn’t ready. I tell her, “Are you really ready for a relationship? Are you really ready to date?” And she wasn’t into it and she apologized. Well, it’s okay. And I chatted with her and we still talk from time to time. She’s still getting over the hump of things. But she learned that she wasn’t ready to date.


Emily: And you know that’s important to learn, sometimes you think you’re ready but you’re really not.


Kevin: No.


Emily: And I think sometimes just getting out there and dating you’ll realize that. “Okay, I’m not ready”. Make sure you give yourself time, and if you realize that you’re not ready, stop dating and do some more searching for yourself. Once you’re ready, you’ll know. You’ll find someone that’s well with you when you’re ready.


Kevin: Especially if you have a good group of friends.


Emily: Exactly.


Kevin: They’re going to be there, they’re going to be supporting you when you talk to them about it. Then maybe eventually you’ll get back on the horse again.


Emily: Exactly.


Kevin: And you do, and you fall down and probably repeat it a two or three times.


Emily: Exactly. I think we covered a lot tonight.


Kevin: I think we did, we could continue and keep on going.


Emily: We could, we might have to have another show on dating.


Kevin: I know, dating and gardening. All of that. But thank you again for having me here as your co-host on Divorce Talk Radio.


Emily: Well thank you Kevin and thank you to our listeners and if you have questions or want to get in touch with me, my email is Thank you for listening, and have a great night.


Kevin: Thank you.

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