Preparing for the first date, post divorce, can be traumatic, unfortunately it doesn’t get any better after time. Even the most mature, well balanced people get their share of jitters at the thought of a first date. The key is to be prepared, to know the rules, and to prepare for a fun time.

To many people embark on a first date with the expectation that they must make an instant decision about whether they want to enter into a relationship with this person. This is both unrealistic and stressful. Anxiety is a dangerous thing to take to a date. It changes how you see the other person. It also changes how you behave. It is best to set a few ground rules before entering on the date and then just plan to have fun.

Rule One – Define the Rules of Engagement Before the Date

Both parties will relax if you offer to set some ground rules before the first date. These can include whether the date will end up at someone’s house, or not. More important, the rules will let you know if you are really compatible with the other person. An emotionally healthy person will respect your wishes. Do not feel rejected if they back out of the date after hearing your short, and casual terms of engagement. Instead, congratulate yourself and reward yourself for avoiding what might have been another bad relationship.

Rule Two – Outline the Objectives

Tell the other person that you’d like to see them, and plan to have fun. This may mean that you avoid the ‘interview’ type of coffee house or dinner date. Once you relax the fear of first impressions is gone. Now you and the other person can relax. There is no fear or pressure ‘to perform’. You can be yourself, and face it. You are a great person who has good goals and a firm objective for your future. If you were not, then you wouldn’t be reading this article.

There is another factor at play. When you go to a date planning to have fun, you will. Take the time to discuss some options. Suggest doing something you like. Don’t try to impress the other person by doing something they like, but you hate.

A date shouldn’t be to start a relationship, it should be to determine whether the other person is a good fit for you. Just keep it simple. It might not be a good idea to plan a hiking adventure into the woods, or a three hour concert.

Rule Three – There is no Last Chance at Love

Be yourself, within limits. Men shouldn’t dress like they would if they were going out to visit the guys. Women shouldn’t dress suggestively, or like they are dating a millionaire. Wear makeup if you normally wear it, but if you need to go restock your supply, then avoid the makeup.

Tell yourself that this is not your last chance at love. There is always someone else. It is better to be single than in a bad relationship. Single is not a disease, or a social status. It is a conscious decision to put yourself first and take care of yourself until you find the ‘right person.’

Rule Four – Have an Escape Planned

The best thing about a post divorce date is that you are experienced. There is less temptation to play head games. Hopefully, there is less of a chance that you will be caught up in the feelings of love and miss the red flags. You are more mature. You know that feelings fade, but bad habits loom ever bigger as time goes on.

This is why it is both wise, and mature, to have an escape plan that will leave neither party feeling rejected.

Rule Five – Be Honest and Avoid the Games

Most post divorce singles have reached a new level of maturity. Avoid some of the common games the younger generation play:

1. Wear what you say you are going to wear – spying when the other person arrives is rude
2. Arrive on time – It is a mark of respect and maturity
3. Avoid trying to be mysterious or sexually impressive –control and aggressiveness are not attractive
4. Let men be chivalrous, and women be shy – It can reveal a sweet person – or a fraud
5. Limit the alcohol – there is nothing attractive about a drunk
6. Check the emotional baggage at the door - This isn’t the time to compare evil x-spouses
7. Don’t Complain – this is an instant red flag
8. Don’t list what ‘you’ want or make sure s/he is suitable – this isn’t a job interview
9. Avoid asking if the other person is going to call – Offer your number, and assume they get the hint
10. Don’t abandon your date if you don’t like them. This is rude, and shows bad character on your part.

These rules are not offer an exhaustive list of dating etiquette. They are only meant to help you get out the door and have a great evening. Feel free to reply to this article, ask questions, or make further suggestions. You can find more information on my expert profile, or at my website.

Author's Bio: 

Suzanne James has 10 years experience as an online life coach and using the telephone to facilitate her coaching strategy. She has vast experience helping clients reset their core values, make changes in their communication and relationship styles, and take back control of their lives. There is a wealth of information on her website: