Written by Alex Evjen.
This post was written to contribute to the topic of Personal/Real Talk for the What Lola Likes blog by Alex Evjen. All facts, opinions, and professional tips are Alex’s.
To say dating at 35 is different than 19 is an understatement. Try adding two kids, a full-time job, a house and history from a 10 year marriage to the dating game. Having six years of counseling and God in my pocket is comin’ in clutch lately as I explore what it feels and looks like to be in a relationship and love again. So, I figured I would share some wisdom that I have gleaned thus far to help a sista out because God knows I went looking for advice for myself….
- Give GRACE to yourself. Lay that grace on thiiiccckkkk. Mmmm, k? There’s not roadmap for this. Culture says relationships are supposed to go Single —> Dating —> Marriage —> Dead. It’s not supposed to go Single —> Dating —> Marriage —> Divorced —> Single —> Dating —> Marriage —> Dead. Heaven knows how confused I have been. So, give grace to yourself, and look at your journey more like stepping stones. Life isn’t a straight line. You will get to where you need to go unique to you.
- Don’t compare dating pre-marriage to post-marriage. It’s apples and oranges. The last time I said I love you was to a man whose children I birthed and I swore vows until death. Saying “I love you” before marriage doesn’t hold a candle to saying it as a wife. So, saying it now is a BD! It’s ok if it takes a long time. You understand the weight of the words.
- If you are a parent, your priorities have changed since you last dated. Your kids and your job (how your provide for your kids) rank before anyone you date. This will be hard for people without kids to understand, but there are people who get it. It also means that dating only happens when you don’t have your kids or you have a good babysitting budget. So, finding a patient, empathetic partner is key. If your partner demands to be put before them while dating I would be cautious.
- Marriage isn’t a mystery anymore. You know exactly what makes a great partner and a terrible one. That’s a HUGE plus in the dating game. In many ways, you have a chance for deeper love than you have ever known because you know yourself better than you have ever known after surviving divorce. This will help you look for better compatibility. So, don’t settle on the qualities you know you need. Be patient!
- Take a lot of time for yourself to heal, but there’s only so much healing you can do alone. Some healing can only be done in a relationship. Learning to trust again is a big part of that. It’s scary as hell, but the right partner won’t scare easily and will be gracious and understanding of your healing process. I have never experienced such empathy until now. 🥰 It’s a beautiful thing.
- After having sex with the same person for years, then taking time to heal and be alone and then stepping out into the dating world…Well…Let’s just say this is where tip #1 really comes into play. Grace and openness mixed with some healthy truth seems to me what I needed. I also took a great sexuality class by @morgan that helped heal some wounds in the area of sexuality. I recommend this class! That’s all I will say about that.
- Make sure you bring friends into your process, but choose wisely. It’s a hard, messy process, and most won’t be able to relate. Your good friends will know that and seek to listen and understand. They will also want what is best for you and keep your bar high in moments you are tempted to lower it.
- You are enough. It’s okay to want, but you truly have all you NEED. There’s a difference between the two. Get to a place where you know this truth before you date. It will make rejections turn into not-meant-to-be’s.
That’s it for now. There’s so much more to say. The journey is beautiful. Embrace and surrender to it.
Keeping authenticity and integrity a priority through the past 10 years as an influencer, blogger and creator, Alex Evjen has brought her audience along through the woes of divorce and into a new journey of redefining her future. She is a single mom of two kids living in Chandler, Arizona and more about relationships than the bottom line any day of the week. Alex also happens to be one of Business Insider and InStyle Magazine’s Top Pinners, has helped countless brands such as Target, Home Depot, and Anthropologie create digital content that keeps consumers wanting more and making products fly off the shelves and is now the Creative Director for Roadtrippers overseeing film and photo production.