I get this question all the time from my clients going through the divorce process. Obviously, I am not allowed to give legal advice in a blog, and anyway by now it should be clear that this really isn’t a legal blog. So, from a non-legal perspective, here are my thoughts– after your divorce is finalized, unless you want some “me” time, what is the point in waiting? The sooner you get back out there, the better. It is not going to be easy at first– just accept that it is a skill that you need to work on. You will make mistakes in the beginning, and that is totally normal.
Keeping up with dating in the 21st century after you’ve been out of the loop for a while is going to take some time. If you choose to do internet dating, navigating the various websites, creating an online profile, and communicating with strangers, is all weird when you first start the process. Even if you rely on set-ups, blind dates are hard at first. Eventually, however, you will get the hang of it, and soon you will find yourself being able to share stories with other friends that will make everyone laugh. Have fun with it, and never view it as a waste of time. It is a learning process– and it will morph over time, as will you. The one thing to really keep in mind is that you don’t want to lose sight of the point in this social experiment. Ultimately, the goal is to find a suitable life partner, and it is simply a very competitive market out there.
Often I hear divorced parents say they’d rather wait until the kids are off to college before they seriously start to date, and I can certainly understand that the thought of trying to date around a custody schedule is a logistical challenge many might be inclined to avoid, or the idea of trying to blend two families is something so complicated, that it may seem easier to just not deal with this at all. But as I see it, there are huge opportunity losses to putting off dating– if I thought it was challenging to find a good person in my 30’s, I can’t imagine how much harder it would be in my 40’s or 50’s. The sad reality is that the older you get, the less marketable you become– kind of like cars with too many miles on them. So, if you want to maximize your chances of finding someone else, I think you need to get back out there sooner rather than later. As long as you use good judgments, the kids will be fine, and you will be too.