Rebuilding your life after a divorce is a deeply emotional experience. However, you will likely reach a point where you want to open yourself up to sex, dating, and love again.
But as good as dating and enjoying sex again may be for you, guilt, shame, and anxiety about both are likely to creep up. It can feel like you’re alone in your experience with remorse and hesitancy regarding dating and having sex again post-divorce. But you aren’t. In fact, many people feel guilty about resuming sex and dating after a divorce.
Why You May Be Feeling Guilty About Sex and Dating Post-Divorce
Feeling guilty about sex and dating after a divorce is more typical than most people think. You may feel selfish for thinking about yourself when your children are still affected by the trauma of divorce. You may have had a hand in causing the divorce, which makes you feel guilty and like you don’t deserve to find love again. Maybe your relationship was toxic, and your self-esteem and confidence aren’t at a level that permits you to date or pursue sex again. You may just be ashamed of divorce, altogether.
Alternatively, you could still love the person you used to be married to and feel like you aren’t ready to get back out there. Even though you’ve had a reasonable amount of time to heal from the breakup, these feelings are still valid. Any combination of these reasons could be why you feel guilty about sex and dating post-divorce.
It’s normal to feel this way. But it’s important to sit with these emotions and process them because you absolutely deserve to pursue intimacy and romance after a divorce.
Why You Should Get Back Into Sex and Dating Post-Divorce
You should get back into sex and date post-divorce for various reasons. One reason is that sex is proven to be good for your health. Orgasms release oxytocin and endorphins. Sex can be a great exercise that boosts your cardiovascular health. It can better your sleep and decrease your stress, as well.
Getting back into sex and dating post-divorce is good for your mental and emotional health, too. It can help you start putting your needs first again. You can begin learning about, loving, and caring for yourself again in a way you hadn’t before — if ever. In addition, you allow yourself to find profound love with someone else.
Opening yourself up to new connections and romantic experiences despite feeling guilty and uneasy about it can be scary but fulfilling.
How To Navigate Post-Divorce Guilt Around Sex and Dating
If you’re ready to get back into sex and dating after a divorce but aren’t sure how to get past the guilt, we’ve got you covered.
Here are three tips for women or men navigating post-divorce guilt around sex and dating.
Develop a Healthy Co-parenting Relationship
A healthy co-parenting relationship is a critical factor in getting through guilt around sex and dating after a divorce. When children are involved, it’s hard to even think about getting back out there. This can be particularly difficult when things are hostile with the other parent.
On the other hand, when you’re on good terms, communication will be better. This can lead to both of you respecting that your romantic relationship is over and that each of you has a right to find love and happiness again.
Practice positive communication with the other parent. Take the high road every time. Make an effort to stay on the same page and compromise. And consult a therapist or co-parenting specialist if needed.
Openly Communicate With Your children
As mentioned above, many people feel guilty about dating again after a divorce because they’re worried about their children. A divorce can be traumatic for any child. The last thing you want is to make them feel like you’re only thinking about yourself when they’re still hurting.
Having open conversations with your children about the divorce is a good idea. It’s also important to talk with them about you dating again when that time comes. Always keep them in the loop so they don’t feel blindsided when you bring a new partner around.
Set boundaries for sex and dating
Even if you are open with your children about your dating life, it doesn’t mean you have to take things too quickly. You don’t have to jump into sex and dating after a divorce like you’re 21 again. Setting boundaries for sex and dating can help you enjoy the experience on your terms and at your pace.
If you don’t want sex on the first date, stand by that. If you don’t want to have sex at all during the dating stage, don’t. But safe sex should always be a rule if you do decide to move forward with it.
Set your intentions with dating. For example, do you want to casually date and see multiple people at once? Are you open to a committed relationship? Are you dating to marry again? Define what you want from someone before you jump into the dating pool.
Also, be intentional about who you date. Dive into who the person is and what they’re looking for. Don’t ignore red flags. And give people a chance. Even if they aren’t your typical type, there’s no harm in pursuing something entirely new to you.
You don’t have to succumb to the guilt you feel around sex and dating after a divorce. Instead, use the tips above to navigate the negative emotions attached to getting back out there post-divorce so that you can genuinely enjoy the experience.
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