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It means this: “Love will come to me — it’s a WHEN, not an IF.

I’m in it to win it, not in it for a minute.” At this point, I hope you’ve done the "inside work" necessary to find a healthy relationship.

Contemplating the dating scene, many divorced women feel not just garden-variety nerves, but "actual terror," says Dr. Just remember that your fears are normal—after all, you are dealing with or have dealt with a major betrayal and upheaval—and that you don't have to jump all the way in. Tell a few trusted friends that you're interested in meeting people. "Sit down and craft a statement of what, exactly, you're after. If you feel the same way, she offers this advice: "I suggest you try to reframe it as an adventure, or as an education," she says.

Accept invitations to parties."While it's not unheard of for a woman wounded by a painful divorce to make statements like "all men are jerks" or "all the good ones are taken," that's obviously not a good mindset to have going into dating, says Dr. "That kind of thinking can tank your mood—and cause you to limit your chances of getting out there and finding love." By forcing yourself to keep your negative thoughts in check, you'll soon be in the habit of thinking optimistically, which will in turn make you more ready to date again. You've decided to start dating—isn't that your "intention" right there? "Dating can be a way to sharpen your social skills, too." And, of course, a way to get out of the house and have some fun!

Once you "meet" someone online, it's easy, says Dr.

Kirschner, to build up a fantasy of what he is like based on his profile and the emails you exchange.

"My rule of thumb is to meet in person within two weeks of making online contact." Might as well find out as soon as you can if the chemistry is virtual—or real.

Of course, when you do meet, take basic safety precautions.

"You can see what you might want in a relationship going forward," she says, even if it's not with any of these guys. "Just say, 'I'm enjoying dating you, but I want you to know that for now I'm also seeing others casually.'"Hopefully it's obvious to you that if you have children at home, you shouldn't bring dates around unless it's somewhat serious."Most children just want their parent to be happy, and may be less likely to object than you imagine," she says.Divorce is one of the most traumatic events we go through, and when we reach the proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel," many of us feel that little spring in our step and start to think about dating again.Instead, "it's usually clear when you're not ready," says Susan Pease Gadoua, a therapist and author of .That is, "when the very idea turns you off." But you can decide that you're ready to at least try.

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Dating after divorce can be a minefield for the midlife woman.

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