Divorced man sitting on his couch greeting his online date.

How to Start Online Dating After Divorce or Loss of a Spouse

13 April 2023

Losing your marriage either by choice or circumstance is a major life event and you need time to heal from your loss and regroup. After healing, you may begin feeling the call to find a new love. And if you desire to have a life partner and prefer to be coupled, then you’ll most likely go online to find someone to date since you probably have friends who met their partners and spouses through an online dating site. So you may be wondering how to start online dating. 

Divorced man sitting on his couch greeting his online date.

As a dating and relationship coach for almost 20 years, and with hundreds of successfully coupled clients, I’ve noticed that most of them found their new partners through an online dating site.

So let me give you some pointers on how to start online dating after a divorce or loss of a spouse: 

First, assess your readiness to move forward.

If you’re divorced, make sure you’re truly ready to move on. It’s best if you’re not fighting with your ex and you have your affairs settled. By settled, I mean you have a separation agreement at the very least with a divorce date set. A finalized divorce is even better. 

The point is you need to close the door on your past marriage. That way you’ll be ready and able to put effort into meeting a new life partner and get love right this time. 

If you’re widowed, have you grieved fully? Are you ready to open your heart to a new person in your life? Your wife or husband was an important part of your life and they will always have a special place in your heart. However, your new partner needs you to be able to focus on them without comparison to your dearly departed. 

Second, do the inner work before jumping to start online dating.

Determine what you want for yourself at this time of your life. What are your goals, top relationship values, and must haves? Know your deal breakers and what would have you say, “no thank you.” This will make it easier for you to gather what you need to know to start online dating and share in your profile who you truly are at this time of your life. 

(The free Motivated to Marry® Quiz at www.mtmquiz.com is a great way to access how ready you are for finding a life partner)

Third, be clear about the reason you’re looking to start online dating and why you’re dating at all.

Are you seeking companionship and desire a long-term, committed relationship or are you looking to get married again? Make sure you communicate this in your profile. Also, this will determine whom you reach out to and whom you’d pass on.

People date for a variety of reasons. I’ve come up with over 25 of them. (Go to www.motivatedtomarrydatingsecrets.com to learn about my online coaching program that includes this document.) And most of these reasons for dating have nothing to do with finding a serious, committed relationship!

Once you know you’re ready to begin dating and have clarity about why you’re dating, you’re ready to learn the ins and outs of starting to date online. So I’m going to share what I tell my clients about how to start online dating.

First, you need to decide which online dating site you’d like to try.

I recommend finding one that is very popular in your geographic area and has a high volume of people in your age range. I also recommend choosing a more established platform that you can access on both your laptop and your phone. And a dating site where you can write more than a 500-word essay if you so choose.

Next, you need to write your essay for your profile. 

When you write your profile essay, be sure to share a bit about who you are, as well as, how you like to spend your time. Yes, it makes a difference if you’re working or retired. There’s a whole process I take my clients through before they write their profile essays. (Go to www.MTMonlinedatingchecklist.com for suggestions on how to write your profile essay.)  

Your photos for your online dating profile are very important.

I recommend you invest in a good photographer who knows how to take photos specifically for online dating sites. Do take the time to pick out flattering clothing and have your hair done, be well-groomed, and ladies, do wear some natural makeup. As a past image consultant, I’ve seen many photos on online dating sites that would make you cringe. Remember, this is to attract your future partner – so put your best smile forward!

Now it’s time to get online and start searching!

When you’re thinking of how to start online dating, remember to embrace your sense of adventure. Know that you’ll be meeting new people and having new experiences if you’re open to this. This will serve you as you start online dating. Expect to meet some nice people and some not-so-nice ones too. The great thing is you get to decide with whom you want to spend your time. You may make some new friends along the way, if not find a love interest. 

On a cautionary note, one of the biggest mistakes newbies make when they’re learning how to start online dating is talking too much about their ex or deceased spouse on their first date.

I recommend you don’t talk about your ex/deceased spouse on your date unless it comes up in conversation. Only then would you briefly share why you split up. (Be careful not to put the full blame on your ex, that would seem like you’re not taking any responsibility for the demise of your marriage, and we all know it takes two! You don’t want to come across as always pointing your finger at others.)

And as a widow/widower, you may just satisfy your date’s curiosity about your partner’s demise and move on. You may share how you lost your spouse and how long you cared for the person if they were sick. (That’ll give you bonus points!) Make sure this isn’t the focus of your conversation, and that it’s only a passing comment to satisfy your date’s curiosity. And by no means, compare your new date to your dearly departed spouse, even if it’s just in your own head! Evaluate each individual you date on their own merits and your current needs. 

So I hope you’ve gotten the tips you need to know how to start online dating as a divorced or widowed person. Take one step at a time and do what you need to do to stay balanced and feel in control of the process.  And if you want to shorten your learning curve, then let’s talk!  My virtual door is always open.

If you’re ready to start dating again, let’s talk. www.talkwithcoachamy.com is a great place for me to get to know you a bit better and for us to have a productive conversation about how to start dating online to get out there to meet people at this time of your life.