We had a very lively discussion on 7/20. It featured professional matchmaker Michelle Braun from Elite Private Search. With several years of seeking and hearing feedback after the date gives here dating insights you just don’t get anywhere.
Meeting Structure and Summary
During our meetings, men like connecting, so our format allows time for small and large group discussions:
- 20 minutes of introductions and dating tips
- 20 minutes of small group discussion
- 40 minutes of large group discussion/more dating tips
- 20 minute wrap up
After intros we talked for 15 minutes about how to start dating after divorce and Michelle shared some of the dos and don’ts of dating. We also had quite a bit of discussion around healing and knowing when to start dating.
Then we broke into small groups of three for about 20 minutes to dig deeper into those two topics – how do you heal and how do you know when to start dating. These two topics are fundamentals of moving past divorce so those topics deserve extra discussion.
We came together as a larger group to talk about more dating topics for about 40 minutes.
Healing, Starting, and Dating Tips
Healing involves getting back in touch with you. During divorce many men get lost in the marriage (stray away from friends and activities that define you). Here were a few “healing” comments shared by other guys:
- Do self-work by looking inward and try to analyze you.
- Reconnect with your early past by visiting a few high school friends and remembering what you liked to do when you were young.
- Forgive and let go of your ex.
- Do fun things.
- Think about how you contributed to the marriage and what you may want to change for the next relationship.
- Write a list of what you like and dislike in your next partner.
You know you’re well on your way to healing when you realise that divorce is an opportunity to re-create you. The Divorce Men’s Network has developed a model to help the healing process called PREVAILsm:
- P – find peace through practicing silence, meditating or listening to calming music
- R – relax by taking up a hobby
- E – exercise is proven to be better at managing emotions than anti-depressant drugs
- V – volunteer because helping others has been proven to make you feel happier
- A – allies is about creating like-minded friends (like the Divorce Men’s Network)
- I – inscribe, write about what you’re feeling as a way to empty your thoughts on paper to get rid of them in your head.
- L – limits is about protecting yourself from emotional damaging situations or set backs.
Each one of these techniques have been scientifically proven to improve your mood and move you closer to happiness.
Starting to date is tricky. It’s a balance of personal need with creating contention, especially if you’re still in the divorce process. I advocate not dating during the divorce process because it creates conflict which can increase the costs and duration of the divorce process. But if you feel like you really have to date, then try to keep your activities private (i.e., don’t go on an on-line dating site).
Second, you know you’re ready when you’ve healed (see above). If you don’t heal first, you bring in negative, unresolved emotions into your next relationship which is not fair to you or to your new partner.
Last, intuitively, you know you’re ready when you are no longer asking “when should I start dating?“. It sounds sarcastic, but what it means is that your mind frame has changed. Instead of ambiguity, hurting and trying to understand, you have mentally shifted to seeking happiness and are eager to learn about someone new.