Valentine’s Day is coming up in a couple weeks, and this holiday can be tough for recently divorced guys to stomach.
Sure, it lacks the hoopla of Christmas and Thanksgiving, but this is the day you’re supposed to celebrate love and companionship. If you’re newly single and trying to get back into the dating game, that’s not easy.
However, if you take the proper amount of time to let yourself recover, it is entirely possible to find love again and a new partner to share all of life’s experiences with.
Here are four tips for divorced dads trying to get back into the dating game.
First and foremost, take your time before putting yourself back out there.
A lot of guys think the best way to get over their failed marriage is to find someone to replace their ex as soon as possible, but you need to be extremely wary of rebound relationships.
It’s difficult to determine how long you should wait before dating again, but take at least a few months for self-reflection. Ask yourself what you need to do, and what you need from a partner, in order for a relationship to last.
Once you’ve identified what you want, have come to terms with your breakup and are excited about meeting someone else, it’s probably safe to jump back in the game.
Utilize online dating sites
The great thing about dating in 2016 is the plethora of different ways you can meet people. You no longer have to rely on friends and co-workers to set you up with someone.
There are numerous online dating sites out there, and many of them cater specifically to divorced parents. DatingforParents.com, for instance, is centered on the idea that many single parents have a tough time relating to those without kids themselves.
When filling out an online profile you want to highlight your most positive attributes (while also being honest, of course). Check out this article if you need help putting together a profile.
Have fun with date planning
There is a lot of inherent pressure that comes with dating, but you shouldn’t let that bother with you.
Take the approach that, regardless of whether or not things work out with the person you’re out with, you’re getting to meet a bunch of new people. That experience in and of itself can lead to personal growth.
If you’re tired of the stiff dinner-and-drinks date that most guys go with initially, don’t be afraid to mix it up. Plan something spontaneous and off-the-wall to mix it up. Go skydiving or salsa dancing. Doing something non-traditional is one of the best ways to make a great first impression.
Keep your kids in mind
If you’re a father, you have to consider what the dynamic is going to be like between your children and your new girlfriend.
Proceed with extreme caution before introducing her to your children. The divorce took an emotional toll on them too and you don’t want to introduce them to someone who’s only going to be around for a couple months.
Generally, experts recommend waiting at least six months before introducing someone new.
If you reach the point where you feel it is time to make the introduction, put a lot of thought into how you’re going to do it. Mental health professionals recommend planning the initial meeting at a neutral location along with a short activity and a definitive end. You also need to give your kids a chance to explain how they feel afterwards.
Meeting someone new can be a wonderful thing, but you can’t ignore what affect this new relationship could potentially have on your children.