You are literally aching for social and sexual contact after your divorce, a wrenching and extremely difficult transition even under the best of circumstances. You probably have the urge to go out and sleep with everyone you can but perhaps you want to take it slowly and learn and savor your new sexual and romantic chapter in life. What to do? How to do it? As with most things in relationships, the solution lies in understanding yourself and what you want and in communicating that to your partners.
- figure out what you really want
- always practice safe sex – always!
- communicate, communicate, communicate
- be ready for some wonderful surprises and some not so great shocks and disappointments
- be fanatically self-observant
- get too far inside your head
- date seriously for at least 6 months
- casually date more than 2-3 people at once
- sleep with more than one person at a time
- say “I love you” until you have thought it through and really believe it
Imagine the one nighter, the short term fling versus dating someone for a bit before having sex. See what seems most appealing to you and then experiment. Have the one nighter, have the short term fling, go out a few times without having sex and self observe. See how you feel after the first kiss, after the first more involved intimacy, and after you slept together. Observe your emotional reactions to each sexual action. Your responses will give you a good indication of what you really want and need at that time. And it will change and evolve over time. That is normal and good so pay attention and go with it.
This cannot be stressed enough. The last thing you need after an emotionally draining divorce is disease or pregnancy. If you are going to have a one night stand always be prepared and carry protection. Carry protection even if you don’t plan on having a one night stand. If you are in a relationship talk about STD's and pregnancy before you get into the sack. Commit to having this discussion preferably well before you are in the throes of sexual activity as this conversation can be a bit of a sexual buzz kill but it is definitely a conversation you need to have. Make sure you don't make that bad judgment with serious long term consequences in a moment of weakness.
Let your partner know what you are looking for. It is very unfair and selfish to be looking for something casual and fun but decidedly not longer term if your dating partner is not looking for the same and, of course, vice versa.
On the positive side, you probably have not had adventurous, vibrant and energetic sex for a while and now you will! You and your new partners are older, more mature, more self confident, more expressive, and usually more open than when you were last single, which for many divorced people was their teens and twenties. Much has changed and all this has led to an environment conducive to more open and to better sex. Enhance this by communicating both nonverbally and verbally during and after sex. Usually both partners want to know what feels good for each other, what they like, what turns them on, etc. Talk about it all, especially afterwards. This will only make the sex better and will bring you closer to each other.
Pay careful attention to the sexual deal breakers: lack of sustained great chemistry or strong attraction, personal hygiene issues like body smell or breath, whether you are comfortable with that person virtually all the time you are together. Some of the not so good moments will undoubtedly include being kissed when you don't want to or your partner trying to go faster sexually than you want. Please just communicate it kindly whatever it is that you want. Sometimes, the sexual connection will be awkward and clumsy and the chemistry you thought was there isn't. Extricate yourself with consideration and respect. When there are red flags early, exit quickly.
As much as I recommend all this self awareness and communication as you re-enter the sexual world, the challenge is to do all that without being too much in your head. You want to enjoy the moment, have fun and experience it all. This is not an easy balance to strike so expect to have setbacks in one or the other. Just like everything in life, dating and having sex improves with practice. So practice, practice, practice. The more you date, the more you have sex, the better at them you will become, both practically in terms of technique as well as emotionally and understanding what you want.
Newly divorced people usually need the time and the space to learn from the divorce, to reflect on the marriage and their part in its unwinding, to learn about themselves and what they want. Stronger and longer romantic connections can distract and deter you from the critical learning process post-divorce. So, my strong recommendation is to focus on short term dating and flings initially after your divorce. You have so much to learn about what you want and this approach will help with that.
You can't really give anyone a chance if you date too many people at once and it is very hard to really get to know any of them of dating too many people. Not to mention very time consuming. You still want time to yourself during the dating process. Enjoy time spent with others but also relish in your “me” time.
You might think you can handle it and you might be able to, but it definitely presents complications on many levels. The most serious of them is that it makes it much more difficult to have a real connection or to give the relationship a real chance.
Love is a wonderful experience and many of us are eager to feel it again but we must be careful not to confuse love with loneliness, lust, or just the need to be loved. Yes, people often confuse this need with the actual thing. Relish in your new relationship, feel the butterflies again, and then really take the time to think about whether or not it is really love.
Don’t be afraid to date, feel good, explore your sexual side, tell a man or woman what you want or need, and most of all fall in love again. Being single again can truly be a fun and exciting experience which is sometimes lost because of fear. Be safe, be fearless and be happy.