There is a group of women in my life who teach me daily what the meaning of strength, courage and resilience is. They are women who have been badly hurt and yet, they move forward with grace and beauty even during their most difficult of days. These are women who’ve learned through their pain how to look for the right partner in life. The one that will bring out the best in them and the one whom they too, will do the same for. The following suggestions are ones that are meant to help newly dating young women, as well as those who are back in the dating world after grieving the loss of their marriage.

  1. Make sure you feel emotionally ready to date. If you’re returning to the dating world after a divorce, make sure that you have healed and worked through the issues that led to the breakdown of your marriage so that you enter the dating world with a fresh, confident, and excited perspective. Remember that you’re not only looking to find the right person…You want to BE the right person. The beautiful and G-dly highest self that you were meant to be.
  2. Four non-negotiable rules: a) physical attraction; b) mutual respect; c) you want to be best friends with him; d) you share the same vision for your future family.
  3. LISTEN…I mean, REALLY listen, to what your kishkes and that little voice within are saying about this man sitting across from you (If something feels off, even if you can’t put your finger on what it is, don’t ignore it).
  4. Observe his behaviour with strangers, friends and family alike (especially his mother). Is he kind? Impatient? Respectful? Rude? And do some good research about him. Ask a lot of questions. You’re not being nosy. You’re being responsible.
  5. Introduce him to your friends and family and be open to hearing their thoughts, perceptions and concerns. Be willing to hear what the people who care about you most have to say about him.
  6. Don’t ignore red flags like rage, manipulative behaviours or trash talking about his family or other people. If he tries pressuring you into doing anything you’re uncomfortable doing, that is a BIG red flag. If he has a stressful day, takes it out on you and then apologizes for it, he will keep doing that. NO, HE WILL NOT CHANGE. Stress after marriage only increases, especially when kids are added to the equation.
  7. Be honest and straightforward about your secrets and expect the same from him. Keeping deep dark secrets that can affect a potential spouse is a recipe for disaster. They always come back to bite and haunt you.
  8. The Gemara (Eruvin) says “בשלושה דברים אדם ניכר בכוסו בכיסו ובכעסו The true personality of a man can be revealed by how he handles alcohol (Is he loud, boisterous and funny? Is he chilled out and philosophical? Or is he mean and abusive towards you? Purim’s coming up…A perfect time to observe); How he handles money (Is he generous? Is he cheap? Is he a spendthrift? Is he responsible?) and how he handles anger (Does he talk about it in a calm and respectful way? Does he rage and call you names? Does he give you the silent treatment?).
  9. Make sure that you are his top priority, even above his family. Make sure that if he ever had to, he’d always be by your side, supporting and defending you.
  10. Someone once said that he married his wife because he liked the way she resolved arguments. And then they got divorced, because she managed the relationship the same way she resolved arguments, in a cold and calculating manner. Sometimes what seems like a good trait should be examined further.
  11. You may want to move forward fast because you’re very attracted to him. DATE. A LOT. Do different things together. Spend Shabbat together. Or a holiday. Don’t rush. Get to know him and what drives him. Then DATE some more. Date for a while. Don’t succumb to societal pressures. You and he control your timeline. No one else!
  12. And finally: You are strong, beautiful and worthy of being loved. Remind yourself of that every single day and before every single date.