About 40 million single people out of the 54 million there are in the US use or have used an online dating service. That’s 40 million profiles to read, at least 40 million pictures to view, and 40 million men and women putting their best foot forward. That’s pretty exciting when you think about it.
But once you get past the profile, the emails and emoticons and have that first phone call, it’s not virtual anymore, it’s the real thing. If you are divorced (and have a decree of nullity, of course) this step can be more tense than normal because you know there will be questions about what happened in the past. But let not your hearts be troubled, my friends. Here are 5 traits every post-divorce dater should possess that will not only make you more attractive, but will help you make better choices as well.
1. Be Joyful. No, I’m not talking about gushing emotions and hugging everyone you meet. I’m talking about simply being someone who enjoys life and is not a victim of what happened in their past. Divorce is a horrible thing to go through, no question, but in the end everyone suffers hurts, not just you. Let your challenges strengthen you, hone your sense of humor and help you appreciate all the blessings you have. This kind of joy is not only attractive, but contagious.
2. Be Forgiving. Let’s move beyond the obvious here, knowing that we need to forgive those who have hurt us. Let’s talk about how forgiving you are right now. Did you get upset this morning when the barista at Starbucks didn’t give you a grande, non-fat, sugar -free, half-caf half decaf, two-pump, vanilla latte on ice just as you had ordered? Could you tell it was a three-pump and got all mad because now there was too much flavor? Hmm.
People who forgive even the little things are easy to be with. They roll with the punches and the people they’re with are relaxed and at ease because they know if they mess up a little bit it’s going to be okay. That’s when good things can happen between two people.
3. Be Confident. I think men and women who have been through a divorce tend to be defensive about the past and have a need for approval. But this shouldn’t be the case.
Just as your challenges should strengthen you, so should they sharpen your desire to do things right this time around. So you know you don’t want to date someone who isn’t Catholic or who has a value system that is different than yours because you’ve tried that already? Good. Stick to it. You found out the hard way that sexual intimacy before marriage is not what you want? Good. Stick to it. Knowing what you want in a relationship not only makes you more attractive, but it helps you eliminate lost time in relationships you don’t want to be in or on dates that never should have happened. Confidence is key to making better choices.
4. Be Generous. Tithing is good, but I’m not talking about that kind of generosity. I mean the kind of generosity that thinks ahead of the game. Be more interested in hearing about your date than you are about telling him your story. When you hear what he has to say, make mental notes of the things he likes or dislikes. Open doors, pull out chairs, get your date a drink instead of waiting to be served. Don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu. And if your date is a talker, let him or her talk. Even if you never date that person again, generosity allows people to be who they are and that’s what you want when you’re getting to know someone.
5. Be Magnanimous: How many times since 1976 have we seen Rocky Balboa get knocked down? And he’s still around! His character is always motivated by love and virtue. He knows he has been created for great things and will not allow negative details to get in the way of what he needs to do. That is magnanimity.
You are no different. Despite your divorce, you were created with a distinct purpose in life and although you may have been knocked down again and again, you’ve still got to get up and fulfill your purpose. Let your knowledge of the fact that God loves you no matter what and the knowledge that you have a mission in life motivate you to practice this virtue of being magnanimous.
People love to be around virtuous people. Let the struggles you have faced in the past bring out the best in you; forgiveness, courage, generosity, charity and magnanimity. I think you will like what happens.