How to Handle Post - Divorce Dating When "No" means "No."

How to Handle Post-Divorce Dating When "No" means "No."

Separation is a time to turn inward and to grow as you figure out how to balance dating, rejection and what you want. As awful as it may feel, this is the time to focus on the things that went wrong, to figure out your part in the process, to forgive and to have permission to change. Working this out, while also dating may feel odd. You may be worried, “What if they’re the only date I’ll ever get again?” 

On the flip side, there are the times you're very clear - when you’ve been listening to your heart and your mind and your gut and you know the person asking you out is totally wrong for you. If you haven’t been dating for a while, you may be wondering what to do when someone ignores the words you’re saying. Your life, especially after divorce, is for you to create with clear boundaries and intentions - everyone is allowed to be choosy and that means at times, even being rejected.

Rejection hurts. It taps into every past rejection whether from a lover, parent, friend or boss. It fuels that common feeling that “I’m not enough” and triggers us to react in our not Best Self-ways. But being rejected is also universal and definitely, part of why your relationship ended. To begin with - not being heard, not being seen, not being taken seriously are all forms of being personally rejected. 

To put this in perspective: several decades ago, when someone said, “I’m not interested” it was easier to deal with - not that the disappointment or the pain of the rejection was easier, but the inability to troll someone with technology was more difficult. Writing a snail mail letter took a relatively long time so the feelings were poured into poetry and song (or just dealing with them) instead of stalking someone online searching to see if they’re happy without you in their life. How many times have you stared at an X’s IG account hoping they could feel your pain? What about those favorite Facebook feeds?

As you know, the online world is a curated version of people’s lives, only showing those looking, a near perfect impression of reality. Social Media is seductive and addictive where everyday boredom is overcome with an easy click. Separating truth from fantasy especially during a break up is bad enough on its own; it’s exacerbated with today’s means of communication when we’re not hearing from the person we want. 

Are you ready to return to some semblance of listening to the word, “No” so that you can take back some self-respect and create some personal boundaries? 

It’s tough but true (and kind of feels like High School all over again!): just because you want to date someone doesn’t mean it’s meant to be. Likewise, just because they look happy with someone else, doesn’t mean their life is a movie star ending. Dating post-Divorce is still dating.

Isn’t it time to stop going down the internet rabbit hole? Isn't it time to stop making yourself miserable?

My clients struggle with rejection (NEWS FLASH: so do I!) from Tinder and all those Match type algorithms. Do you relate to getting a delightful dopamine hit when your profile lights up but feel dejected and lost when there’s no date on the horizon? I'm always curious, "When did we become so fragile and needy?" What makes us think that we’re ready to date a great person if we haven’t done our work, able to show up as a worthy partner? (NEWS FLASH: the person you want to date had better be great and you had better be great for them!) 

Part of the inner work is figuring out who you are today so you can wisely choose a new partner for tomorrow. So get in there and do it!

If you're uncomfortable rejecting someone else, try these as you get the hang of setting boundaries:

Online Dating Sites: "Thanks for reaching out. I'm pursuing other 'matches' for a bit and wish you good luck with yours!" (Then Mute, Block or Swipe)

On Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and IG: Mute, Block or Delete

For an Email or a Text:

Dear _______ ,

Thanks for reaching out. I'm sorry, but I'm not interested in your romantically and wish you well. (Sign your name because it's polite!)

If you’re the one being rejected, try these ideas:

Block them. Really and truly, use the technology to BLOCK or DELETE the person who doesn’t want to see you anymore. Simply protect yourself from yourself… tell yourself that "you will find a great partner" and stay off their feeds. Mute, Hide, Delete the connection. Step away from the emotional hit. Stop being a voyeur, a cling-on, and focus your attention on you so you can balance the hit of rejection with the joys of being accepted. 

As you experiment with flirting, dating, and relationships after separation go back to basic dating rules: know thyself, know you’re worthy of a great partner and become a great partner so you can attract and be with your future mate. If you’re still stuck and feeling whipped around emotionally, reach out. I’ll help you get tethered to your Best Self and out there dating again with confidence!