Post-Divorce Dating – 5 Steps to the Right Mindset

Mindset, a term coined by Carol Dweck, highlights two ways in which people view their abilities and efforts: fixed mindset or growth mindset. To learn something with a growth mindset, swimming for example, you start by imagining you have the ability to swim flawlessly. Then you put your effort into taking steps to learn specific skills needed for swimming. Dating post-divorce involves a similar process of imagining the future and putting effort into taking small steps.

In the limiting fixed mindset, we believe that we are born with certain abilities and personality traits. We believe that no effort on our part will change these things. You haven’t met the right person yet and believe you never will. You’re convinced you don’t have the right qualities to meet someone, no matter how hard you try. This fixed mindset thinking gets in the way of dating after divorce. When you view yourself this way, you lose your confidence for dating.

In the more positive growth mindset, we believe we can build and nurture our given talents. We believe we can do anything with enough effort. You know you’ll find the right person if you just keep at it. You possess more than enough positive qualities to attract a partner. In the growth mindset, the failed relationship becomes a springboard for change.

Even if you think with a fixed mindset, according to Dweck you can cultivate a growth mindset at any age. Of course you’re nervous about dating after a divorce. Try nurturing a growth mindset by taking as many of these small steps as you can:

* Step 1. What do you tell yourself about your successes in life? When you see effort as a key factor, you tell yourself to keep at it because your efforts contribute to success. You decide to go to that party or join an on-line dating site. Effort leads to success.

* Step 2. Remember the time you failed at something at work or in school? You’re more than just one experience and you can learn from your flops. Knowing you can change your approach and try something different next time allows you to dive back in. You analyze your last date and figure out what to do differently. You decide you talked about yourself too much or not enough. Learn from mistakes.

* Step 3. Having difficulty imagining success? Consider your dating life a constructive learning experience that you’ll go through step-by-step. First you’ll figure out how to meet people and then you’ll work at socializing in a relaxed way. Visualize yourself smiling while having an enjoyable dinner with a new person. Adopt a positive attitude toward the future.

* Step 4. Are you open to criticism? Friends and loved ones can help us grow. What do they think you might do differently? What do they think you do well? Be daring and ask a date that didn’t work out what they liked and didn’t like about you. Seek out feedback.

* Step 5. Avoiding something because you think you can’t do it? You’ve got nothing to lose. You’ll never find your dream-date if you don’t get out there. Use Steps 1 to 4 to help you take the plunge.

If you still can’t put that first toe in the water, read more dating tips, seek encouragement from friends or find a dating coach to give you the push you need.

Copyright 2010 Judith Tutin PhD