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Love Letters

Post-divorce, she wants to date again. Or does she?

She went to a bar and met a guy, but she can’t bring herself to respond to his texts.

Submit your questions for Meredith here.

Q. I’m recently divorced after seven years. I’m usually very confident and sure. Since the divorce, though, I’m uncertain about my decisions at work and in my personal life.

I met my ex online, and I heard from some friends that he was on dating sites again. I’m afraid to date online again, but part of me wants to. I’m the primary parent for our 7-year-old daughter, and that doesn’t leave a lot of time to go out. My friends are far away and committed/unavailable. I’ve tried connecting with old friends who are single, just to let them know I’m available, but I’m not getting much of a response.

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I did go to a bar and mostly struck out. But just as I was leaving, a guy who wasn’t my typical type engaged me in conversation and I gave him my number. I’ve been avoiding his messages since. I’m ready to date, I think. I’m not sure why I’m hiding or dragging my feet.

– Hiding in Plain Sight

A. Now is the time to hide, right? During this period of social distancing, it should be easy to remove yourself from the dating scene without feeling guilty about it.

I’m wondering whether having this time at home will make you—and others—more likely to want to go out when it’s over. Six weeks ago, I might have groaned at the thought of leaving the house to meet a new person. Now that sounds like a gift.

I do think you’re ready, and that the part of you that wants to date is going to win this internal struggle. I find it interesting that you went to a bar instead of going back online. Perhaps it’s the online dating process that’s putting you off — all of the downloading, swiping, messaging, and frustration when it hits a wall. You were willing to take a risk at the bar, but when it came to texting, you got turned off by the whole process. It became another task.

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Online dating can feel like work. But if you set boundaries, it might be something you can look forward to. If you swipe and respond to messages for just a half hour a day, as a rule, it’s less likely to overwhelm.

Also remember that the divorce is recent. You’re not racing your ex-husband. Just because he’s on dating sites doesn’t mean he’s figured it out. Take your time with this. Find your new routine, at home and at work. Use this weird period to daydream about what you’ll be looking for when it’s possible to look at all.

– Meredith

READERS RESPOND

I am in the same boat. I tried online dating and went on two dates, and nothing came out of either. I would much prefer to meet someone organically than on dating sites. LEFTYLUCY

It sounds like you need to branch out and make new friends. Being single is easier and more fun when you surround yourself with good people. BOSTONSWEETSA21

In addition to your anxiety, you’re afraid of being hurt. That’s why you’re avoiding the guy at the bar, and that’s why if an “old friend” answers you, you’ll back away from that too. Bottom line: You’re not ready and that’s fine. Get ready at your own pace and on your own terms. ECAB

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You and “your type” divorced. Call the guy from the bar. Good luck. COMMENTOR2

Catch Season 3 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast. Get it at loveletters.show or wherever you listen.