How to date after a divorce

How to date after a divorce

If you’ve recently gotten divorced, you’re not alone.


In fact, the Australian Institute of Family Studies reported that over 50,000 couples got divorced in 2021 alone. That’s more than 100,000 people!


Although divorce can be painful and even intimidating, we like to think that each of those people were granted a new start and, hopefully, a new lease on life.


If you’re re-entering the world of sex and dating after a divorce, we like to think that you’re standing on the precipice of a journey that can be filled with growth, discovery, fulfilment, excitement, and the opportunity to redefine what intimacy and connection means to you. We don’t want to sound hokey—we’re just seriously optimistic about this!


So get comfy and dig in, because we’re about to dish on everything you need to know about dating after a divorce.




Before anything else, it’s really important to acknowledge the emotions that can come with divorce. It’s normal to experience a range of feelings, including anger, relief, loneliness, sadness, happiness, and everything in between. You might feel envious of your former spouse if you see them with a new partner, you might feel turned off at the thought of ever being with anyone again, and you might even feel like you’re grieving the loss of the relationship. As long as you’re processing your emotions in a healthy way, there’s really no ‘wrong’ way to feel.


Give yourself time to feel your emotions as deeply as you want, and seek support from your family, friends, and a mental health professional if you need. Feeling these emotions and allowing yourself to heal is an integral part of ‘getting back out there’, so don’t put a time limit on this process. Let yourself have as much time as you need.


As you begin to navigate the world of sex and dating post-divorce, it’s also important to take stock of your own needs, desires, and boundaries. Think about yourself and what you want out of a relationship—make a list, if you need to! Reflect on what worked and didn't work in your previous marriage, and use that insight to inform your approach to dating. Of course, we don’t recommend holding all potential partners to standards that are unachievable or far too specific, but if you’ve realised that you need a spouse who doesn’t travel for work or who wants to start a family, it’s important to let these needs inform your future dating endeavours.


We say this a lot at NORMAL, but it’s true: communication is key. Whether you’re looking for a new long-term relationship or just seeking a friendly hook-up, be open and honest about your expectations so that new partners aren’t left in the dark. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and be upfront about your wants, because transparency and honesty like this can go a long way in establishing trust and respect in a future relationship—and trust is something that’s really important in this journey.


One of the biggest challenges you may face when dating after a divorce is allowing yourself to trust again, especially if there was an element of dishonesty or deception in your marriage. Of course, it’s natural to be wary of opening up to someone new after experiencing heartbreak, but it's also important to remember that not all relationships are the same and that your new partner may have totally different standards and beliefs than your former spouse. We recommend moving forward with an open mind and an open heart—but still, take the time to get to know someone on a deeper level before fully investing in the relationship.


Sex after divorce can also be a complicated and sensitive topic. It’s normal to feel a bit insecure and uncertain about having sex with a new partner, especially if you had only been intimate with one person for a long time. Be patient with yourself as you explore what brings you enjoyment and pleasure, and remember to always communicate your needs and desires to your partner—and to hear their needs and desires as well.


Don’t forget to prioritise your sexual health and wellness when re-entering the dating scene. Always practise safer sex and get regular sexual health check-ups. Taking care of your sexual health is an important and essential part of self-care, and can help ensure both you and your partners have enjoyable and safe sexual experiences.


As you start out on this new chapter, it's so important to keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to sex and dating after divorce. Take time to explore what feels right for you, and don't be afraid to seek support and guidance along the way from friends, family, online or in-person support groups, and a mental health professional. 


With patience, self-awareness, and an open heart, we truly believe that you can rediscover intimacy and connection post-divorce and beyond.

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