How soon should people DATE after a divorce or breakup?

Ready to Date after a Divorce or Bad Breakup? What NOT to do.

There are many situations leading to unexpected separations and/or loneliness after 5, 10, or 25 years of togetherness or marriage. And I”m not implying these are mutually exclusive, although many marriages survive as much on partner separation as they do on togetherness. Many of us, however, will go through either a bereavement-related loss, a mid-life breakup or a bad divorce somewhere in our 50s or 60s or 70s. In these scenarios, we may find ourselves exploring potential re-partnering and wondering where and when to start.

Typical Scenarios leading to Divorce or Loneliness – and subsequently, to Mid-Life Love-Hunting

Sometimes an unexpected death, a suicide or an illness such as cancer takes away our partner(s). At other times it’s choice, but perhaps not ours but our partner’s decision. No matter what the cause, these can be painful times in life.

For example, typically it is the female and/or younger party in a personal relationship that instigates the breakup. Statistics support this scenario occurs in 7 out of 10 relationship break-down. This often means it is the older partner who is left reeling and alone. A younger partner may run off with someone more aligned to their generation, their culture, their activity levels or music tastes; or the younger of the two may be left alone suddenly when an older partner becomes ill, demented or dies. This is not ALWAYS the case, but common scenarios people face when they find themselves alone in their 50s, 60s and beyond.

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Can the relationship that’s ending or ended be salvaged or repaired?

Death is, sadly, a non-negotiable ending to a love affair or marriage. But for others, it’s a breakup, breakdown or meltdown that leads to being left temporarily alone.

It’s tempting to try to make it work again, and avoid divorce. Sometimes it’s possible. But sadly, more often, partners find it’s impossible to ‘reheat the souffle’.

Divorce and unwanted break-ups (Reasons and Responses)

Often an unwanted later-in-life break-up relates to numerous factors that are not amenable to being repaired through couples counselling or negotiation. And often, by the time the relationship reaches a stage where one wants out, the person wanting OUT has ‘had enough‘ of trying to communicate their needs or have changes occur in their relationship. Hence, any last-ditch change efforts by the rejected partner are ineffective and ‘too little’ and/or ‘too late’ to repair the bond.  

Wiped out by a relationship ending unexpectedly in later life?

Is it time for online dating OR should you try to salvage whatever you can?

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Relationship Wipe Out: Marriage Counselling or Divorce?

  • If it’s just an unhappy marriage with no abuse, then it’s worth giving counselling a try for a few months or longer.
  • Because saving a marriage through counselling is far less costly than a divorce in most scenarios.
  • But in long term relationships fraught with incompatibilities, infidelities, non-equal love and give-take imbalances or other problems, by the time someone leaves – it’s often VERY over and there’s little you can to re-attract your ex.. (But if you want to try, email me and ask about the re-attract an ex kit).

But how do you know if you’re read to date after a divorce or bad breakup after the age of 50?

If the train wrecks and lost loves are behind you….how do you know when you’re really ready to date again? (Part 1 of 2 blogs on Ready to Date After Divorce or after a Bad Breakup).

Train wrecks…lost loves…behind you.  But are you ready to date?

How do you know when you’re ready to date after a death, divorce or break up? Online Dating Timing Tips

If I had just one tip for mid-life love hunters (and internet-daters), it would be this: You may feel uneasy being alone suddenly in your later years. But don’t let loneliness be the driving force for re-partnering. 

  • Loneliness is, of course, what drives most many midlife daters to want to find a partner online, or otherwise.
  • But if you choose to re-partner too soon, or to re-partner ONLY out of loneliness and boredom, it’s fraught with potential disaster scenarios.
  • For example, if you don’t know WHO you are or WHAT your passions are – or you lead a boring life entirely for others – then any new prospective partner may discover life WITH you is ALSO a bit less exciting, than, say, getting a pet..
  • That noted, the loss of a partner DOES leave a tremendous “hole” in your day to day existence.
  • You need something to help fill that gap, something that’s positive, life-affirming and stimulating in a healthy way.
  • If you’re in the right state of mind AND you are certain you’re ready to date, then fine – it’s likely time to start online dating.
  • But if you’re not quite ready – then it’s best to hold off on using online dating sites. Enlarge your friendship social circle and hobby time, instead.  Take the READY TO DATE ONLINE? QUIZ.

Can I meet more people on online dating sites? Take the Ready to Date QUIZ.

You don’t need an OVER-filled life, of course – that’d leave NO time for dating.

  • But you DO need an active life and a good sense of self (self-identity) – separate to others – and separate to any budding partnership – to become a self-fulfilled individual.
  • Inter-dependence is one of the lovely aspects of a relationship in later life – mature sharing and inter-woven lives; but over-dependency (what some call co-dependency) is a no-no.

A good balance of friendships, hobbies, time enjoying nature or pets – and social gatherings – goes a long way to remedy SOME of the feelings of desperation that often accompany loneliness in people who have out-of-balance lives that were overly dependent on ONE person or ONE style of living.  The answer here is DIVERSITY of experience and a focus on close friendships and/or hobbies and family members. Not forever, just as a transitional means of regaining a sense of footing and independence. 

First, learn WHO you are as a newly single person – you can DATE during this time, but it’s better if you see it as a lighter activity rather than a mission to find someone.

That’s because learning yourself – as an INDIVIDUAL rather than as a PARTNER – takes time for most people. It can take from a few years to 5 years or longer to find out WHO you are as a person without a partner – and WHAT will suit you best in another person; e.g. WHAT you’re looking for – or WHOM.

It’s important you know WHO you are, that you have HOBBIES you enjoy and a solid social support circle (friends, family, colleagues, friends at the gym) so that you’re not feeling desperately alone as you search for love.

Why? This allows you to take your time and not want to rush things.

So sure, get online if you want to – to gently and slowly explore what’s out there in terms of friends, companions and potential partners. But be sure you’ve read the book and blogs first, and DON’T get on if you’re still an emotional wreck.

Instead, fill your life with balanced passions (e.g., hobbies, friends, volunteering, learning something new and regular health/fitness/nutrition regimes). 

  • Yes, we are wired to connect with others. And midlife love after a long relationship drought or after leaving a marriage that lacked respect, passion, intimacy and mutual interests – is one of the JOYS of searching for love in later life.
  • But re-partnering in mid-life is better seen as optional, for added happiness, not pivotal for one’s psychological survival or self-esteem.

Don’t let your mindset enter a stage where you feel desperate to fill the bedside of a lost partner.  If you truly believe you’ll find happiness only by “having” a partner — chances are there’s a gap in the quality of your daily lifestyle as well as in your self-esteem. 

  • Mentally healthy people have already-enriched lives.
  • They have supportive social circles, hobbies they are passionate about, positive family relationships (if applicable) and healthy day-to-day outlooks that would continue to exist with or without a partner.
  • If you’re mentally healthy and socially balanced, you’ll be far more ready to explore potential relationships with prospective partners from a sense of self-security, self-respect and resiliency – something you’re definitely going to need for after-50s dating (and after 60s dating and dating online for sexy 70s).

Feeling desperate and alone is NOT a good reason for trying out online dating!  Instead, it should be inspired by a desire to enrich your life with a compatible, loving and respectful partner that you have a lot in common with.

So before beginning searching for a potential partner (“love hunting”), it’s important to be healed, healthy and happy within yourself…as well as with your current lifestyle.  With such a foundation, you can approach mid-life dating from a “yes, it might be nice to date, but it’s not necessary for happiness”perspective — an excellent platform from which to launch a search.

This is important because searches for potential partners tend to require patience and perseverance. Searching also requires a protective ‘tougher skin’ on one’s psyche: a healthy self esteem that is not hinging on one’s relationship status.

Be patient, self-aware and Gentle with yourself – Online Dating is inherently a numbers game that includes a lot of rejection – if you’re not up for it, wait until you are. (TAKE THE ONLINE DATING READINESS QUIZ).


Love hunting — and internet dating in particular — inherently involves a fair share of rejection.  Searching is often rife with near misses or outright mishaps.  Unbridled optimism for finding one’s “perfect, true-love partner” easily and online can lead to repeated disappointments as well as the occasional gem. The ratio is daunting!

And people who feel desperate to “secure” a partner are often more likely to be deluded by others (as well as delude others) in the process.  People can easily end up feeling worse about themselves after a search, or borderline-hopeless, especially if finding a compatible partner takes a far longer time than they had anticipated.  But it often does take significant time to find a suitable, compatible partner with mutual affinity and relationship readiness, especially once we’re over fifty and somewhat ‘set’ in our ways of being…no easy task to merge a lifetime of daily preferences and long-established belief systems with someone else’s!

MORE Online Dating Tips for accessing your readiness as a senior or mid-life dating prospect will be listed in Part 2 of this TRAIN WRECKS article – search for my next blog.

PS: My new online dating tips and mid-life partnering traps-to-avoid book THE LOVE HUNTER’S GUIDE TO MID-LIFE LOVE AND ONLINE DATING – provides additional tips for determining whether you’re “really, really, really, really, really”  ready to date — or if you’d be better off taking additional time to heal from recent relationship upheavals.

Or to adopt a PET instead, of course – for unbounded love, a need to be active outdoors, and constant companionship.

Best pet adoption pages:

PET RESCUE – Search for DOGS

PET RESCUE – Search for CATS

Why DOG and CAT people aren’t the best matches for online dating.


My BOOK highlights three optimal ‘frames of mind’ required for my two best midlife dating objective recommendations:

(a) maximising positive interactions with potential mid-life partners, and

(b) minimising further damage to one’s self-esteem.

Read more in the next blog post or send an email to purchase the LOVE HUNTERS GUIDE TO MIDLIFE RELATIONSHIPS AND ONLINE DATING.


Connie M, MHST, Author

More about me and how I help people over 50, over 60 and in their sexy 70s find love. 

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