4 ways to overcome your fears about dating again after a divorce or the end of a relationship.
What are your fears about dating again after divorce or a breakup? Maybe you were married or in a long-term relationship with someone who was emotionally or verbally abusive and you don’t want to ever experience that again? Perhaps you were with a cheater, a liar, someone who put you down or ignored you, and you are having a hard time trusting again.
Why did you stay in a toxic relationship?
You stayed in that relationship for many reasons—if you had kids, you were probably concerned about how a split might affect them. Maybe you had financial fears about being on your own. Or you didn’t leave because of low self-esteem, thinking you’d never find love anyway, so why leave? These are just a few reasons for why people don’t leave toxic relationships.
Maybe, like me, you had given up hope, thinking that as bad as your marriage or relationship was, your friend’s marriages were not much better. Maybe this was as good as it gets…
Whatever the reasons you had for staying in a relationship that wasn’t working, it’s over and now, you are afraid to date again. Makes perfect sense to be afraid. You’ve been through a painful breakup. It’s hard to open your heart to love again. But the benefits of being with the right person are well worth the risk.
4 Ways to Overcome Fears About Dating After a Breakup or Divorce
Let’s explore some of the reasons why you might be afraid to date again, and how you can overcome those fears to date and have the relationship you deserve.
You’re afraid you won’t be able to spot the red flags soon enough.
This is a common fear. I suggest you read everything out there on red flags. I have several posts about the ways to spot a narcissist or an emotionally unavailable partner. Familiarize yourself with the red flags, and you’ll be able to recognize them sooner rather than later.
You’re afraid you’re not worthy of love.
I recently had a client say that her biggest fear was that she was ‘un-dateable’. She is date-able, she’s just afraid because her past experiences with relationships and dating have been negative.
The first person you should date is yourself.
Fall in love with who you are today. Because no matter your past relationship history, you are worthy of love. Everyone is worthy of love. And love is an inside job. If you’re not feeling worthy, it’s because you need to cultivate your self-care and self-love.
Here are some ways to love yourself more:
- Discover what makes you unique by asking your closest friend. They know your true essence. Ask a friend for five things he/she loves about you, and do the same for him/her.
- Begin a daily practice of gratitude. Gratitude lifts you out of feeling bad about yourself and helps you focus on appreciation for what is great in your life.
- Do good in the world, but not at the expense of addressing your own needs first. Contribute to a charitable cause, volunteer. Doing for others creates an inner sense of goodwill.
- Recharge your ‘batteries’ by doing things that you love. A hobby you’ve neglected? Travel that’s been on the back burner?
- Take risks outside of your comfort zone. Each time you take a risk and realize it wasn’t as scary as you thought, you build self-esteem. Speak in public, go out alone to meet new people, eat in a restaurant by yourself…
Slowly but surely, your self-esteem will improve. You’ll realize all the ways you’re lovable and date-able.
You’re afraid there aren’t any good people to date.
There are millions of awesome singles out there. You just have to know how to find them and connect with them. Are you dating online? If not, sign up today. As scary or awful as online dating might seem, it’s statistically the best way for you to meet your match, especially if you’re over 40.
- Are you going to meetups? Join a meetup near you that might attract men and women who share your common interests.
- Break your routine. Does your routine look like this: wake up, go to work, go to the gym, come home, watch Netflix, go to sleep, rinse and repeat? If so, change it up. Go to a new gym. Do fun things on the weekends. Leave your house on a regular basis to increase the chance of meeting new people.
You’re afraid you’ll get hurt again.
Sure, you might get hurt again. But If you don’t open your heart to love, you won’t fall in love again. Anything worth having is worth taking a risk for.
Dating is a journey. It’s one of the best ways to learn about yourself. If you learn from every date, you’ll break your unhealthy relationship patterns. Practice, practice, practice, and you’ll improve your ability to choose a better partner next time.
Fear is one of the biggest deterrents to living your best life. Yes, it’s scary to step out of your comfort zone. But to me, it’s scarier to imagine a life lived in fear, a life without the love you deserve. It keeps you safe, yes. But wouldn’t you like to live your best life and have your best love? You’ll have to take a few risks to get there. And it’s so worthwhile.
What’s your biggest fears about dating and relationships? Please share in the comments below.