Sexual Attraction & Post-Divorce Dating
Whether or not you’ve been through a bad breakup, we can all agree that no one gets into a relationship intending to call it quits. But unfortunately people sometimes grow apart to the point where the best thing for them to do is to split.
It really depends on the situation, but just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean your love story is over. You’re just moving on to your next chapter!
And that’s why we have best-selling author and relationship coach, Jennifer Hurvitz, joining Damona today. She will share her personal experience and outline how to return to dating after a big breakup.
DATING DISH (1:45)
What you should know if there’s no sexual attraction for your partner, according to a therapist:
You go on a first date with someone you’ve been chatting with, and it goes great! A few more dates pass by and you eventually decide to take things to the bedroom… only to find out that your sexual connection may not be up to par with your romantic one. Now what??
Well according to a recent CNN article, a lot more goes into physical attraction than we realize. Dr. Justin Lehmiller of the Kinsey Institute notes that physical attractiveness “doesn’t actually top the list for men or women… traits like intelligence, humor, honesty and kindness are often at least as important, if not more.” The article also points out that in hetero relationships, men more often internalize an “either/or” view of women– those who make great wives and mothers and those who are sexually adventurous.
All that being said, can sexual attraction make or break a relationship? Damona observes that in current dating culture, there’s a big difference between “I can do what I want to do and experience pleasure without labels” (which we’re all for), and “I am pursuing pleasure at my own expense and not getting my core needs met.” Damona explains how to build more awareness of this, and why sex actually gets better the more you get to know your partner.
JENNIFER HURVITZ (10:14)
Jennifer Hurvitz is a relationship expert and dating coach. She is the best-selling author of “Midlife Priceless: A Dating Coach’s Guide to *Finally* Doing Relationships Right” and the host of the podcast Doing Relationships Right.
(12:40) The hardest thing about dating after divorce.
There are many aspects that make dating after divorce difficult, from rediscovering your sense of self to becoming intimate with a new person. But Jennifer shares what the biggest hurdle was for her – “I don’t know why I get so emotional and talk about it. But it’s really frightening to do it all again, after you think you’re with this one person forever.”
Part of Jennifer’s journey back into dating was accepting that you don’t have to be the perfect version of yourself in order to put yourself out there. Because realistically, we are never going to be the ABSOLUTE perfect version of ourselves. The only thing you can be prepared to do is put trust in who you are, and take that first leap into the dating pool.
Jennifer also gives tips on how you should go about revealing your relationship history (especially if your history is kind of a complicated one).
Much like Damona discussed with family therapist Jordan Green last week, Jennifer also likes to break down the dating process into four different stages, which she calls D.A.T.E. – Decide, Attract, Trust, and Evolve. “You decide who you want to go out with, you attract (or you realize you’re not attracted to the person). And then basically, you either trust them or you don’t. And then you evolve together.”
Jennifer points out that the Decide phase is crucial, because it is the catalyst for growth in your dating journey. Deciding not only refers to deciding to pursue a specific person, but also speaks to making the choice to date AT ALL (that’s that first leap we referred to before).
Damona and Jennifer also discuss why it’s important to choose your boundaries instead of choosing to “go with the flow” in social situations.
(26:25) Trust & time.
Developing trust is a slippery slope that, in dating, we have to learn to bounce back from. But Jennifer poses a great question – do you trust until someone gives you a reason not to trust them? Or do you go in not trusting and they have to prove themselves?
Jennifer believes that in order to develop trust in any relationship, time has to be a core factor. Because no one can create a really solid foundation overnight, especially if you’re coming out of a situation like a divorce or breakup where you’ve already been burned.
Side note: did you know that in some states, if you’re dating someone who is separated, that person’s partner can sue you?? Jennifer breaks down the legalities of dating someone who is separated and why these laws exist.
Be sure to follow Jennifer on Instagram @DoingRelationshipsRight and check out her book, ‘Midlife Priceless: A Dating Coach’s Guide to *Finally* Doing Relationships Right.’ And, listen to Doing Relationships Right wherever you listen to Dates & Mates.
Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:
IG Message from M – Dear Damona: First off, I love, love, LOVE your podcast! Your energy is amazing! So, I’ve been divorced for 12 years, had off and on relationships that typically ended when the guys cheated or were commitment phobes. I’ve finally met someone, and we’ve been dating for 3 months now. My question to you is when do we know if we’re being too picky, unrealistic, or holding onto an idealized connection that may never materialize? On paper, my boyfriend is great. We enjoy each other’s company, but already things are a bit mundane. The sex isn’t great, but it’s not the focus of our connection (that’s where I’ve messed up in the past). I just really desire someone who stirs my soul, but that hasn’t happened yet with someone who desires a committed relationship (that desire usually only happens with f*ck boys).