Divorce can be rough, but for the divorcee that is ready to start anew on a journey toward companionship, the dating scene can be pretty intimidating. After so many years of being in monogamous matrimony, one can become unaware of how to approach dating in a new era. Beyond learning where to look for potentials and how to initiate conversation on dates, recent divorcees must also become educated on how to care for their sexual health as well.
In order to deliver the real about how to date after a divorce, I had the chance to speak with ASSECT certified sex therapist and relationship expert Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry, Ph.D., MA, LPC, ACST to get her take on how to navigate within the current dating pool. For the recent divorcee who is looking to get his or her groove back, take a look at the conversation with this highly sought after expert to become aware of and prepared for what it will take to find the right one or the one for right now.
Tyomi: What should the recently divorced know about the current dating climate?
Dr. Tiffanie: Whether you’re older or younger, the new dating pool tends to be more digital than ever. You’ll find that potential suitors will text to confirm your date rather than call. Older adults may be surprised by the lack of direct communication and sometimes a little put off by the fact that someone would rather communicate via chats and iMessages as opposed to a good old fashion phone call. Don’t be offended. For many, it’s just the way of the world.
Tyomi: How can a person re-entering the dating pool use social media or dating websites as a tool for successful dating?
Dr. Tiffanie: Dating websites aren’t the way of the future. They are the way of the present. A vast majority of people are exclusively using sites like Match.com, Christian Mingle, Our Time, etc., to find love, companionship, or just someone to spend time with. They may also be surprised to know that not everyone is looking for a happily ever after. Apps like Tinder, for example, are more for those wanting a one-night stand or hook-up rather than someone wanting to spend the rest of their lives together.
Tyomi: What questions should a recent divorcee ask his or her physician about maintaining sexual health while dating?
Dr. Tiffanie: Before entering into any new relationship, knowing your own health status is very important. Be aware of your STI status and even your fertility status before starting something new. This will prepare you to face what could lie ahead. For instance, if you’ve passed your childbearing years, you may steer clear of someone who’s looking to start a family. If you can still have children but are not looking to do so right now, you may want to ask your physician about birth control options.
Tyomi: When is a good time to speak to a new partner about recent STI tests and safer sex options?
Dr. Tiffanie: The appropriate time to begin the conversation about safer sex and STI status is most definitely before you enter into something sexual. This includes oral sex, anal sex, vaginal sex, masturbation, or any type of genital play. It can be incredibly awkward (and will pretty much kill the moment) if you disclose in the heat of the moment that you currently have an STI, such as herpes. And likewise, it is irresponsible to inform someone of something like this after you’ve been sexually involved. The golden rule applies to the bedroom. Be forthcoming and treat your sexual partner the way you would hope to be treated.
Tyomi: How can a person begin a conversation about getting tested together?
Dr. Tiffanie: Start by explaining that the best sexual relationships are those without worry and that the license to explore one another without fear is very important to you. In an effort to build trust and have more freedom within your sexual relationship, you think it’s a good idea that you both get tested. Once you each know your status, you’ll be more relaxed with one another and feel excited about exploring each other’s bodies in the most insatiable of ways.
Tyomi: How have dating practices changed within the last decade?
Dr. Tiffanie: While chivalry isn’t dead, it may very well be on life support. Men, it will go a long way to go the extra mile to make a lady feel like she’s your queen for the evening. And likewise, many women are very much used to taking care of business all on their own. Ladies, it will be to your advantage to allow your date to take the lead. You may find that it feels really nice to sit back, relax and let someone else worry about all the little details.
Tyomi: How can one looking for serious relationships avoid the traps of the hook-up culture?
Dr. Tiffanie: Be upfront and clear about your intentions – while you don’t want to scare someone off by