“Personal ads and today, dating site profiles are dangerous. You have to separate the ones who are lying from the ones who are hallucinating.” ~ Rita Rudner

Okay, I feel like it’s the first ‘back to real life’ day after the holidays. Most of us will head back to work today (except for places around the country who have cancelled school and other events because of the extreme cold.  Wind chill here in Kansas City right this minute is -22!). New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are over, and now we have to start living out those resolutions we made or we need to start thinking about what we want to accomplish in this new year.

For women going through divorce recovery, our list of goals for 2014 might include starting to think about dating again. This point usually doesn’t come for a year or two after your divorce and for some even longer. It’ really, really, REALLY important to get strong and healthy before you even begin to think about new relationships.  It’s tempting just to ease the loneliness by getting involved with someone new, but DON’T DO IT!  Take time to heal, first.

For those of us in midlife, somehow we feel the passage of time more acutely than those who are younger. (I was almost 54 when my divorce was final) I had ridiculous thoughts like, “if I get much older, NO one will want to get in a relationship with me.” That’s absolutely not true and at the expense of sounding like a broken record, you must get yourself emotionally healthy before you even think about another relationship! If you’re not there yet, just file this blog away for future reference. I have dozens of stories of people who got into unhealthy relationships too soon and that’s definitely worse than being alone temporarily.

For some of you, online chatting is a good way to start. But, honestly, you have to be very, very careful. Don’t give out personal, private information that you do not want a stranger else to have. (like your address!) When I first told my adult children that I had met someone online they just rolled their eyes and made me promise not to get in the car with anyone I had met online. They said, “What if he is some serial killer just preying on lonely divorced women?!” (Reassuring, huh?!)  They were kidding (sort of), but they were right to advise me to be cautious, and you definitely should be too. One RADiCAL woman was almost the victim of an elaborate online dating scam with men taking months to gain the confidence of women only to start slowly asking for money (usually to help with an elderly mother). Cross off immediately anyone who asks for money!  Report them to the dating site immediately.

Remember, “personal ads” online need to be taken with a grain of salt. Don’t make plans to even meet someone until you have spent significant time communicating online. Watch for red flags.  Do a background check if you want.  And then, meet in a public place. Don’t go in a car with anyone until you are confident they are who they say they are. And even then, don’t put too much stock in what they write. Slick shysters and silver tongues are everywhere.

But … there are good men out there who are seriously looking for a relationship with someone like you. If you decide to try the online thing, take your time. Have fun. “Listen” between the lines to weed out anyone who is lying or hallucinating. Pay attention to gut uneasiness.  Be careful!   But who knows, you might meet someone amazing like I did.

“The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.” ~ Proverbs 12:22