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17 Common Mistakes Ex-Spouses Make When They Begin Dating

17 Common Mistakes Ex-Spouses Make When They Begin Dating

Let’s play an association game.

Think of something you dread.

What came to mind? A trip to the dentist? Dating after marriage?

Both stereotypically are considered unpleasant. However, dating after marriage doesn’t have to be.

1. Don’t be oblivious to the world around you.

You might think getting informed about local, national, or international affairs of the day and what’s going on in the world of sports have nothing to do with your romantic life, but the truth is: they do.

When you are newly dating, struggling to invent conversation topics that don’t have to do with your children or ex may be a challenge.

Being familiar with current events will enable you to break the ice—and the silence—if the conversation on your date becomes stilted.

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2. Don’t talk about your ex spouse.

An episode of the old TV series Eight is Enough featured the oldest son attempting to date after divorce.

After an evening of hearing about his ex spouse, the woman headed for the proverbial hills, and he never saw her again.

3. Don’t just talk about yourself.

Since the point of dating is to get to know each other, many people erroneously think they should talk about themselves, so the other person gets to know them.

They certainly will learn about you. They will “learn,” correctly or otherwise, that you are “I” centered.

It it okay to talk about yourself; if your date is interested in you, and asks about you, of course, answer the questions. However, people appreciate being asked about themselves too.

4. Don’t just talk about your children.

Again, the point of dating is to get to know each other, not each other’s children.

If someone asks about your children, it’s great they are interested. However, you don’t want to give the impression that if your relationship becomes long-term, your children will be more important to you than they are. Put in-depth conversations about your children on the back-burner until you know each other better.

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5. Don’t wear your wedding ring on the date.

If you are thinking that this should go without saying, I agree. However, I know a man who wore his wedding ring on his date. She is the one who told him to take it off.

I understand that removing a ring you may have worn for years could be emotionally difficult. On the other hand, if you are not ready to remove your ring, perhaps you are not ready to date.

6. Don’t bring your children on your date.

I know a woman who did this too. People are busier than they used to be. Struggling to spend time with your children, spend time with your date(s), and work in or out of the home is time-consuming.

It would be great if you could save time and see your children and your date together. Don’t. As mentioned in Point #4, you don’t want to give the impression that your children will be more important than your partner if your relationship becomes long-term.

7. Don’t meet at each other’s homes on the first date.

Even if the date doesn’t turn out to be serial date-killer Ted Bundy, you could send out messages your don’t want to send out, not this soon. There are plenty of public, well-lit places you can meet.

8. Don’t have sex on the first date.

I don’t know everyone, but I don’t know anyone who hasn’t regretted it.

9. Don’t try and replicate your ex spouse.

Cloning may be legal for animals, but it doesn’t apply to dating. Don’t look to replace the same person you married. There are reasons it didn’t work out. Figure out what they are before you try again.

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10. Don’t use your date as a transitional object.

“Rebounds” are better suited to basketball than dating.

11. Don’t bring your problems on the date.

Your date wants to go out with you, not a “sad sack” or a “wet blanket.”

12. Don’t order lobster.

I have nothing against lobster. As a matter of fact, I love lobster. However, if your date is paying, you will give the impression that you are high maintenance. If you are paying, you will give the impression that you have a high bank account balance or you are trying too hard to impress.

13. Don’t waste the other person’s time.

If you are looking for the next person to swap rings with, and your date isn’t, you might not want to be taking up each other’s precious time.

I recommend having this conversation about whether or not you are looking for long-term sooner than later.

14. Don’t expect your date to change once you’ve spent more time together.

You may be initially enamored, but don’t be initially blinded. Or, you will be blind-sided down the road.

15. Don’t mix-up your dates.

No joke, I knew a woman who dated six men simultaneously. She expressed a concern that she would answer the phone before checking the caller ID, and wouldn’t recognize the voice of the caller. Check the caller ID before answering the phone.

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There was a Seinfeld episode where Jerry couldn’t remember the name of the date he was with. He kept calling her “you.”

Get an app like Evernote. Put each of the names of your dates in a different note with their interests. Check the note before the date, so you remember what their interests are. This serves two purposes. You can ask about their interests, so you seem interested in them. Also, if you are dating more than one person, you won’t mix up their hobbies, jobs, and children, for example.

16. Don’t forget that “Beauty is only skin-deep.”

Model Christie Brinkley and the late actress Elizabeth Taylor are women known for their physical beauty, but they have each been divorced multiple times. Aesthetic appeal does not equal compatibility.

17. Don’t forget to reflect on past marital mishaps before you take the dating plunge.

You don’t want them to reoccur. They say “history repeats itself.” Don’t let that apply to your previous marital mistakes.

Divorce isn’t the only reason marriages end. Whether you are newly divorced or newly widowed, dating can be difficult, awkward at best. It doesn’t have to be—not if you follow these tips.

Featured photo credit: Drink At The BFI by Gary Knight via Flickr via flickr.com

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Janice Wald

Teacher, Author, Blogger, Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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