Ask Dr. Gilda: Dating Again—After 25 Years!

One newly divorced woman wonders what the ground rules are now that she’s mixing and mingling again.

By Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D.

ear Dr. Gilda,
I am new to the dating scene having just gotten divorced after 25 years. Things are definitely different! I am wondering what your opinion is on how many dates is your benchmark to determine whether a relationship is worth pursuing. I met a
One first kiss will tell you nothing about your future with a guy.
guy who seems to have so much in common with me. We had a great first date, but there was no spark (for me) in the kiss, but everything else was really good. Can the “spark” develop in time? Or is it a lost cause?
– Everything Old Is New Again

Dear Everything Old Is New Again,
One first kiss will tell you nothing about your future with a guy, especially since you’re timid about dating again after the end of your long marriage. The idea that sparks will fly and trumpets will blare is great for the movies, but in reality, heat is created after chemistry is charged. At this early stage, you barely know this man. You say you had a “great first date.” Don’t throw in the towel before you’ve even given the spark an opportunity to ignite. A lot of what you’re feeling now is discomfort on the dating scene after a 25-year marriage. That is normal. Ease into your new status, and before you know it, you’ll feel more comfortable and clear-headed.

You say, “Things are definitely different!” Actually, they’re not. Everyone wants love, and that never changes. People who are older have experienced some bumps and bruises along the way, but they also have gained a lot of wisdom about the world. New things are always scary to everyone.

What you don’t want to do is repeat your old mistakes again with a new partner. Falling into the same patterns could be easy to do, especially for you, because you had 25 habitual years performing the same routines. So before you venture out, repeat this Gilda-Gram: “May my next mistakes be new mistakes.”

Then follow these suggestions:
  1. Give this new guy a chance. You say you have a lot in common. For now, just enjoy all the things you share—no rush, no pressure.
  2. Don’t limit your dating life to one man. Play the field. Learn what you like about some men, and what you don’t like about others. Get plenty of experience in selecting partners who are appropriate for you.
  3. After you’ve invested time with each date, you’ll know when it’s time to leave a friendship vibe and up the ante—or go your separate ways if you two aren’t clicking. Just be sure to give everyone a fair chance.
Dating is like advancing from training wheels to a two-wheeler. You’re just starting out on your new adventure. Perceive this as a wonderful and exciting period in your life, and that’s exactly what you’ll experience.

Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D., gives Instant Advice throughout the world via Skype, email and phone. She is the 30-Second Therapist for Her best-selling books include Don’t Bet on the Prince!, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. Please visit her website at (
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