During the day, Heather Buen, MBA, works as an analyst for a Texas energy company, but to her thousands of social media followers, she’s better known as the Dallas Single Mom. In 2010, the divorced mom of three and freelance journalist launched a blog to share insight about what she knows best – being a single mom.
Since then, the Dallas Single Mom has evolved into a lifestyle blog. According to Heather, “Today, the blog offers a lot of advice for women over 35 about how to re-invent themselves following a transition (such as divorce), deal with empty nest syndrome and get back into the dating scene.”
In her other roles as a public speaker and online consultant, Heather regularly talks with women in transition about her Four Pillars of JOY: Career, Learning and Education, Creativity and Family.
As she explains, “As a caveat, when a woman navigates life after divorce, it really is about creating a starting point around these four priorities in her new found identity/chapter, where she is no longer in a relationship. The goal is to create a fulfilling life for herself – whether she ends up in another relationship or not – where these pillars encompass her life.”
Before ending up with her current partner, Heather’s dating experiences ran the gamut of good and bad, and she learned a lot along the way. She graciously agreed to share her tips for dating after divorce with Connatser Family Law.
Tip No. 1: Find your emotional center.
Heather encourages women to figure out who they are as individuals before dating or entering into another relationship. She also recommends women speak with a licensed therapist for advice.
“It’s important to find your emotional center and get strong emotionally, so you can figure out who you are and what your goals are when it comes to dating. Therapy can really help women overcome fears and gain confidence,” Heather says.
For tips on how to keep emotions in check during divorce, check out this past post: Emotions Run Sky High During Divorce: Here Are 5 Ways to Stay Grounded
Tip No. 2: Place a priority on physical health.
Sure, most women want to look their best when they start dating again, but taking time to refocus on getting back in shape is also good for their overall health. As Heather explains, “Women need to dedicate time for physical health. Working out and eating right is essential, because going through a divorce is very stressful, which can be taxing, both physically and emotionally.”
Tip No. 3: Get your finances in order.
Heather encourages divorced women to plan for the future and get strong financially. “Do you want to start dating to find someone who can support you financially? Did that work out well the first time? I encourage women to work on becoming financially independent, so they can make their own decisions, go out on their own and pursue activities they enjoy,” Heather says.
Tip No. 4: Make time for new hobbies and interests.
Life after divorce is about more than dating and finding a new relationship. According to Heather, “It’s great to have interests of your own, and it’s enjoyable to share common interests and experiences outside of dating with friends and potential dates. Find a new hobby, revisit an old one, and think about places and things you want to discover, then add those interests to your online dating profile.” (See Tip No. 7)
Tip No. 5: Seek professional advice before telling kids you are dating.
Heather often turns to her therapist for tips on communicating with her children. “If you are a parent, a therapist can help you navigate the dating topic with your kids. Young ones don’t understand dating, so the conversation can get awkward. I also encourage women to avoid introducing their kids to every person they date. Wait until you decide that person is likely to be in your life for the long-term.
“In addition, when you first start dating, don’t share all of the details with your kids. Do establish that it is normal and OK for mom to be dating and have a life outside of the family. Explain to children that mom is moving forward, and it’s OK for them to move forward, too,” Heather says.
A family therapist can also help couples figure out the best way to explain divorce to their kids. Learn more in the recent post: Break the News with Care: How to Tell Kids You’re Getting Divorced
Tip No. 6: Speak positively about your ex, his dating life and relationships.
It’s equally important to establish for kids that it’s OK and normal for their dad to be dating. As Heather explains, “Don’t talk badly about your ex because he is dating. Do your best to make it sound perfectly normal. My oldest daughter really loved my ex-husband’s former girlfriend, and I thought that was great.
“She was a nice person and someone new for my daughter to get to know. They really enjoyed doing things together, so I supported that. It was sad for my daughter when they stopped dating, but I was able to be there for her.”
Tip No. 7: Do try dating sites and matchmaking services.
When it comes to online dating, Heather says, “Just try it. Online dating can feel weird and seedy, and it does come with some negativity, but try to keep an open mind. If you don’t like it – take a break for awhile and consider trying again later.”
For women over 35, Heather recommends another approach. As she explains, “Consider matchmaking services. Unlike some dating apps like Tinder – that are more about quantity – matchmaking services are more about quality. Matchmakers can really help you get to know yourself better and typically do a better job at matching you up with someone who fits your personality type.”
Whether you meet someone on a dating website (or app) or through a matchmaker, Heather encourages women to follow standard dating tips and put safety first. Meet in a public place, let people know where you are going and who you are meeting, and check in with a friend at a predetermined time to confirm you are OK.
You’re probably going to have some great dates and some really awful dates along the way, just enjoy the experience. “Dating is a journey, and it’s a good way to discover more about yourself – as an individual and in a relationship. It can also be a great way to have fun and not take yourself too seriously,” Heather says.
About Heather Buen, MBA: Heather Buen talks about her life experiences and offers up ways to help Dallas’ single moms ‘Re-Invent’ their own lives through life transitions. She manages a corporate job, is a freelance journalist, columnist, public speaker, continuing education professor and online consultant. Her Dallas-Fort Worth area lifestyle blog focuses on family travel, single parenting, dating, divorce, inspiration and life ‘re-invention’ mentoring.
About Connatser Family Law: Since founding Connatser Family Law in 2013, Aubrey Connatser and her team have firmly established the next in a line of great Texas divorce and family law firms. To learn more about divorce and child custody in Dallas and Collin Counties, please call (214) 617-1583 to speak confidentially with a knowledgeable and compassionate member of the Connatser Family Law team.