One subject which most newly-single people do not think about until a problem arises is that of their own personal standards and values. The two situations which have the potential of causing the most difficulty in this area are if you have been married for a relatively long time, or if you are now in a different geographical location than that with which you have been familiar. If you were married for a long time, you may not be aware of the changes in dating; and if you are in a new location you may not be aware that people in various locales do tend to see the subject of dating differently. It is important to clarify to your values and standards to yourself, and then be able to communicate what you do and do not consider acceptable.
In many locales, the word “dating” is nearly synonymous with “sex.” If you believe that the latter is not intended to be a part of casual dating, you must be willing to assert this and stand by it. Going against your own personal values and standards of behavior for any reason is never a good idea; and it will say a lot about the people you choose to date if they are willing to respect your point of view.
Divorced Dating – Who Pays for What?
Another subject you will likely have to deal with when dating after a divorce is that of “who pays for what.” The concept of each person paying his or her own way varies amongst locales and amongst individuals, but you should make this decision based on what you feel most comfortable with.
A values-issue which far too many people do not recognize as a serious issue until a problem occurs is that of what constitutes a “relationship.” This is something which is absolutely essential to clarify to the people you date, because many will actually see your accepting dates as a commitment in itself. As the main point of dating after a divorce is to reestablish yourself as a single, independent person, it’s a good idea to communicate in advance that going to a movie or out to dinner with someone does not mean you are a couple.
In keeping your own personal values clear to yourself and communicating your standpoint, it is very possible that you may lose out on some prospective dates. This is not a bad thing, however, because you do not need your life to be needlessly complicated by those who do not respect your standards. Dating after a divorce is a large part of gaining a foothold in your life as a newly-single individual; being able to conduct yourself in a manner suitable to your personal values is a very significant part of that process.