The General Rules: Re-Entry Dating

THE GENERAL RULES – What Every Re-Entry Dater Should Know


Hey Warriors, Another article for you from the archive…enjoy!
So you’re out of the gates and dating again. You’ve been out of the dating scene for ages and are clueless about the rules. What are the boundaries and who’s writing the manual anyway? You need to know.
The general rules for divorce etiquette and “re-entry” dating are like the general rules in life. They are the unwritten codes of conduct that most of us understand, but don’t always abide. For example, if you are feeling fat, don’t talk about how fat you are around someone who is fatter. That sort of thing. We all understand that you don’t wear your slippers to the bus stop or around town, for that matter. You don’t walk up to someone’s front yard and start picking fruit off their trees; you don’t pick your nose or pop a zit while in traffic, and you don’t name your kid “Osama.”
Knowing the dating rules are one thing, applying them is another. Trust me when I say, you can do this. You can! You are a divorce warrior and it is just a date. Besides you are lookin’ hotter than ever! So before you talk yourself out of it, here are a few pointers for that uncomfortable first date all us new recruits have experienced.
Rule #1: What You Should Wear The general rule is to act your age and dress age appropriately. If you need some help, just comb through a clothing store catalog for some ideas. Go to a department store and see what’s on display. Ask for help. Sales associates love a dating mission. Polish your shoes, and bring breath mints. For men, trim all probing facial hair and unibrows. Pull out the tweezers, for goodness sakes. Ladies too! Now go and have fun!
Rule #2: The First Date Should Not Last Longer than Two Meals A general rule is that the first date should not exceed the length of 2 meals. You can pick which meals, but I recommend starting with just coffee. This date is commonly called the “Meet and Greet” date. It is short and sweet, and if you hit it off, it could turn into lunch. And if the date isn’t going anywhere, you can save your money and get on with your day. It is just safer that way.
Rule #3: Always Have a Plan “B” If you learned nothing else from your divorce, you should have learned to always have a Plan B. This is a must! Anyone who has survived a divorce has had to kick Plan B into overdrive at one time or another. Plan B is what paid the mortgage the first month after you were separated. Plan B is what got you through when alcohol was not an option!
So when it comes to dating, always have someone waiting or something to do later. Have a friend call and check in to see if you need rescuing in case the date is a dud. This is why I never recommend dinner for the first date. If you are the one paying, it can get costly. Spending money on people you will never see again or who may not appreciate the dinner is a bad investment. Spend your money wisely and keep the first date short and sweet.
Rule #4: Do Your Club Research. If you are at all like me, your first naked encounter came way before you actually took off your clothes. I’m talking about that first blast of humility you get when you walk into a bar for the first time in ages. Suddenly the Emperor has no clothes and tag, “you’re the Emperor!” A good rule of thumb is if you’ve never heard the music they are playing, then you are probably in the wrong bar. Better places to go are hotel chains that cater to an older crowd for dinner and dancing.
Rule #5: Topics To Avoid If you just raked your ex over the coals, don’t brag about it. That kind of stuff has no place for impressing a potential date. It won’t be funny to them. Chances are either they themselves were, or someone they know was, screwed in a divorce unfairly, and you become an easy target. Avoid talking about your troubles on a first date, period!WHAT THE RE-ENTRY DATER SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR What is ironic is that by the end of our divorce we crave companionship, but the reality is we are not ready for another relationship, even if we think we are. It is a Catch-22.
We want to date, but the chances of being successful depend on how you define success. If that means having sex, then a meaningful relationship isn’t in your plans, and by virtue of your own definition you will probably be successful. But, if successful dating to you means finding your soul mate, then odds of that happening greatly increase when you seek to understand your own shortcomings. Most divorced people learn this after they’ve been doing the dating thing for a while and nothing solidifies. They soon learn that it is important to take time to rediscover themselves first. (See Chapter 8 – Being Rejuvenated)
So fast forward, you have spent time rejuvenating yourself and you are now ready to date. Let’s get you reacquainted to the swing of dating. Just know this, what you thought worked in your 20s may not work for you now. Besides how long ago was that, a decade or two? The whole scene is different now. To get you up to speed, here are some lessons and principles that will help you meet and grow with that special someone.
DON’T RUSH You’ve heard this expression before, but have you ever really paid attention to it? When a relationship is new, everyone is on his or her best behavior and intentions of being a good partner are 110 percent. Moreover, when the sex is good, a new couple can’t get enough of each other. They enjoy each other’s company and want to spend a lot of time together. Pretty soon they know each other’s schedules and calendars and are thrown into an unspoken commitment. Suddenly, when one person needs space and the relationship it halted, the one left behind feels used. These kinds of romances beg for air. When no space is built into the relationship, it is safe to say it began with neediness. If this situation is all too familiar, then my next bit of advice may shock you. This wouldn’t happen if everyone would just settle down and get out of heat!
Many people think “not rushing” means waiting a month or two to have sex. Not so. Not rushing things means waiting to get to know the other person before you have sex. That can take much longer than two months. In today’s dating scene, waiting this long would seem abnormal to most people. That’s because our society is so impatient, and the expectation is that if you haven’t “gotten any” by the third date, there must be something wrong. Avoid this trap. Don’t let your sexual activity exceed your level of commitment.
Relationships need time to flourish and grow. Most new couples have to endure some bumps in the road before a relationship hits its best cruising speed. So don’t panic if you are guilty of rushing and your partner tells you they need some space. Give it to them on a long rope with no anchor and be highly patient. If nothing else, dating after divorce will teach you patience.
IMPLIED/UNSPOKEN COMMITMENTS–It’s a Trap In my book, you are not committed to anyone until you have talked about whether it is a mutual commitment. If you feel like playing the field for a while, then do that and don’t feel guilty. The general rule here is: Make no assumptions when it comes to commitments. Commitments are not implied at this stage in life. This is difficult for the newly divorced because once you have been divorced, you seek comfort in absolutes, and knowing where you stand in your new relationship is one of them. Be careful though, because this can frighten a potential partner who has been single for a long time. You could come across as clingy.
Too often when commitments are implied, a misunderstanding is certain to happen and one person ends up getting hurt. So before you speak to your partner about wanting a commitment, ask yourself, “What do I want?” Do I want to keep it light with Brian and see what happens with Rich, or do I want to jump back into another serious relationship? If the goal is to find yourself, but have companionship along the way, then now is not the right time to be committed to anyone except yourself.
Try not to confuse having sex with someone as the “implied commitment.” That’s the trap for both men and women. Ask yourself this question: “Would you buy a house without researching the market?” Probably not. You’re going to see what else is out there, run a few comparables, see what fits your budget, check out the location, etc. People who don’t invest the time to really define what it is they are looking for in a relationship, wind up settling for that property near the substation. You should have fun during this phase of your life. You finally have that second chance you so boldly worked to achieve. Don’t give up the farm too quickly. Do your relationship research!
RELATIONSHIP END-ITS It is important to understand that not all post-divorce relationships are equal, and the reasons for their ending can seem unclear to us if we are the one dumped.
The Rebounder Sexship Rebound relationships are based on sex and companionship, henceforth, it is a “sexship”. The rebounder is usually the first person we have a pseudo-relationship with after a major break up. If they are clued in, the rebounder will know their status and will proceed with caution. So here’s the tip: Being the rebounder is risky and is best left to people who want to fill a temporary void in someone’s life. The rebounder should realize there is no future in this relationship. It is what it is.
The trouble with being the rebounder is the rebounder may not realize they are one. Naturally, rebounders may not be too understanding when you suddenly tell them you might have unresolved feelings for your ex.
So how do you avoid becoming the rebounder? Ask your partner the simple question, “What would you do if your ex came back tomorrow?” Their answer should be very telling. The only answer you want to hear is this, “That already happened and it didn’t work.”
As a rebounder, to avoid any surprises, it is good to get dialed in right away on where you stand. Your first clue is where you fall on your partner’s post-divorce relationship list. If you are the first person they have dated, chances are you are the rebounder. Wise rebounders give their partners plenty of time and space, and they don’t rush into anything, including sex, if they want the relationship to last.
The Relationship of Convenience Sexship The relationship of convenience is a “sexship” too and is based on one thing, sex. This relationship works well with two people who are comfortable with each other, but don’t ever want a relationship together and they are both clear on that. Relationships of convenience can end when one party is no longer available for the bootie call (see chapter 7…it’s a good chapter) or the enjoyment of sex with that person runs out. If you were involved in what you thought was a relationship and it ended suddenly, perhaps what you were in wasn’t a relationship at all. Maybe it was a “sexship”.
From the Tuelbox Making the Honor Roll at the ‘School of Hard Knocks’ is not easy. Your GPA is based on your post-divorce dating IQ. The more you know about the General Rules the better your chances of acing the test!


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