Dating after your divorce can be a lot of things: terrifying, exhilarating, humbling, a blast.
One thing it won't be? Simple.
Which is why noted psychologists Sam Buser and Glenn Sternes have set out to provide a road map in their comprehensive book, "The Guys-Only Guide to Getting Over Divorce (and on With Life, Sex and Relationships)" (Bayou Publishing).
After counseling hundreds of men throughout the divorce process, Buser and Sternes decided to write a book that would tackle some of the more common questions they encounter. Written in a Q-and-A format, "Getting Over Divorce" addresses everything from breaking the news to the kids to choosing an attorney to whether to use a dating service.
Dating, the authors acknowledge, is one of the most complicated of post-divorce topics. We chatted with them about some dos and don'ts for men who suddenly find themselves back on the singles scene.
DON'T RUSH BACK IN
"Divorce is one of the most painful experiences in our lives," Buser says. "And the natural tendency is to look to women as an antidote for the pain."
Better to face the pain on your own, the authors say - before you seek out another potential mate.
"As men, we run away from pain through our behavior, alcohol, work," says Sternes. "But you have to experience pain and heal from it, otherwise you're going to be revisited by it."
So how do you know when you're on the road to healing? When you can say yes to the following questions:
Can you consider the possibility of going out with a woman without masses of anger welling up in you?
Have you stopped being preoccupied with thoughts of your previous marriage or the divorce?
Can you tolerate living on your own and being by yourself?
Have you reconnected with people, especially with other men, in some concrete ways? ("You need some other outlet for your feelings so you're not dumping them on your new date," Sternes explains.)
DO REALIZE DATING HAS CHANGED
Unless your marriage began and ended very recently, the dating world has changed quite a bit since you were last on the market - texting, social networking and online dating sites may not have even existed when you last dated.
"People find it very daunting," says Buser.
Familiarize yourself with the new ways of meeting people, the authors say, but don't feel pressured to use technology in which you have no interest. So-called advances, the authors say, can have their downsides too.
"What often happens when you meet in some kind of Internet capacity is you get 'bow tie behavior,' where you only see people on their best behavior," says Buser. "You don't see each other very three-dimensionally."
DO PURSUE YOUR PASSIONS
A person's true character - warts and all - is more likely to reveal itself during some shared pursuits.
"We tend to like interest groups," says Sternes. "Green groups, volunteer organizations, political groups. Where you're helping people and having fun, and if you meet a woman, that's just an extra. Maybe a...