Single Again: Dating After Divorce

Guest Blogs, Singleness

God designed relationships to be a place where we’re cared for, provided for and nourished, where we can feel safe and grow. When this is interrupted or destroyed by divorce, the newly solo-again person is forced back into singleness, maybe with children to support as well. Being alone again after years of marriage can be a traumatic time.  Knowing when to date again is an important question and can’t be rushed.  

This week we have a guest blogger, Deryn Van Der Tang. Drawing on her own experiences of divorce and widowhood and sharing the wisdom God has shown her along the way.

My Story

After my divorce, my emotions were raw. I felt rejected, betrayed, like I wasn’t good enough, and that I had broken God’s laws and commandments. 

I’d grown up in a legalistic Christian community and felt guilty that I could not keep my marriage together. I felt I had broken those covenant laws, and this placed a terrible burden on my soul. It took a lot of working through, prayer and emotional healing before I was ready to consider another relationship.

Before even considering dating again as a newly single person, I believe it’s important to work through the grief process and find healing and come to a place of forgiveness and acceptance of the past.  

This is an essential stage, otherwise, we are likely to carry baggage from our past relationship into a new relationship, being triggered and projecting onto our new partner.

Rebound Warnings

We may be feeling desperate to be loved again, to have someone to help us raise the children, someone to help provide for us and to give stability once more. This is natural and understandable. But I’ve learnt one very important lesson about this stage:

We become very vulnerable.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of dating, or even marrying, on the rebound just to have somebody, anybody to take care of us and make us feel happy again. But I’ve seen that there is a greater chance of future dating and/or marriage relationships failing because people don’t take the time to work through the grieving process of their lost relationship.

Work through the pain and our vulnerability

Another thing I warn people about at this stage is that there are many predators who look for vulnerable people to begin an unhealthy relationship with. These are the wolves in sheep’s clothing, unfortunately also to be found in Christian communities!

If there are children involved, it’s even more important to make sure we are a happy and healthy single parent before remarrying, as stepfamilies can be fraught with lots of challenges.

This is why we need to not rush, and work through the pain and our vulnerability. 

Finding Support

So where does this leave us? 

I believe this is a time when we need people who will love and support us through the process. Hopefully we will belong to a loving, non-judgmental family, or church family, to get us to a place of happiness and confidence on our own again before going out into the dating world.

We need good friendships and people in our lives to help support us on our journey towards wholeness.  

From my experience, I have found that divorce recovery or support groups served a very good function in stabilizing me in the first year after my divorce. They helped me see whether there were things I could have done differently, so that if and when I entered a new relationship, I would not make the same mistakes again. 

If these are not accessible to you, home church or cell groups with leaders who will support you can help. Some churches run a singles group that have social events as well. Single parent groups can be found in communities too. (Read 3 Things You Should Do To Avoid A Co-dependent Relationship)

This is a time to reach out to people and ask for help

If your church does not support you, it might be wise to find one that does as this can make a big difference to your emotional and spiritual wellbeing. 

I would also advise people to avoid online relationships as far as possible, but I realise others would disagree with this advice.   

I learned after my divorce that I needed people who would keep me grounded and would pass me a tissue or give me a hug when I needed it. This is a time to reach out to people and ask for help, and not the time to retreat or jump straight back into dating. 

Dating Again

Once I was healed, I felt it would be better for my children and myself if I remarried, but I began the dating process from a position of strength, praying that God would bring the right person into my life.  

I had also built a strong support system to pray me through this new stage in my life. I found that there were many broken people out there that would not make good life partners a second time around and it was only after six years and some bad learning experiences that I married my second husband. (Read How Do I Tell My New Date About My Past?)

Imagine If…

Imagine if we took time out after a divorce to find healing before rushing into a new relationship.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to date again, but there is a journey we need to go on to make dating as positive as possible. (Read 2 Strategies for Surviving The Changing World Of Dating)

In your experience, how good are churches at helping us to date after divorce? Comments welcomed below. 

Originally posted 13/5/2019

Deryn’s Bio
Deryn is a writer, artist, nature and travel lover who is passionate about helping people transform their life experiences. She has been divorced, remarried and widowed and has moved countries four times. She has three adult children and three grandchildren. Deryn runs divorce recovery workshops and writes a blog to help people to find God’s grace and navigate major life transitions.

W:       FB: /Derynsbridge       Insta: @derynvan

My Singleness May Be A Lifelong Calling, But How Do I Know?


There are people who are praying and thinking about the call of lifelong singleness. If we are/a friend is considering this, it’s important to know how to make the right decision. So we must highlight that people who’ve already committed often say that they: Did Think Life Would Be Different, Ultimately Are Given A Choice, and Are Not Trading In Their Happiness.

I’m sitting down and writing this blog for a few different reasons. A while ago I posted a blog about singleness written by my friend Lora Thorley. It was about people who are single but one day wanted to be in a relationship, and explored some issues surrounding this situation. (Read 5 No-Nonsense Tips For Singleness) 

I’ve written many times before about the fact that you can’t put every single person into a single category. I think the Bible makes this very clear. (Read What The Bible Actually Says About Singleness. Part 2) However, one of my other friends said to me that he was shocked I didn’t emphasise chosen lifelong singleness, in a blog which explored the challenges of a single person who wanted to date one day. 

I pointed out that actually, across the website the unique challenges and perspectives of different types of singleness are highlighted, and that there is nothing wrong with focusing on one specific group in a blog. However, it did remind me that it may be time to explore this important area of chosen lifelong singleness again. 

2 Interesting Articles

In the months that followed, I also came across two really interesting articles about Christian women who had committed to life long singleness. Moreover, they had a ceremony and had taken vows which marked the occasion in front of God, family and friends.

Which marked the occasion in front of God, family and friends.

One article talked about a woman who became a ‘consecrated virgin’ within the Catholic church. She was not a nun but was a teacher who lived and worked in the community, like everyone else. This ceremony and decision was part of an established vocation within Catholicism.

The other article was about a vicar within the Church of England. There wasn’t a ‘set’ way to take this vow within Anglicanism, but she had a ceremony and said her own vows.

Important Points

I myself once thought God was calling me to lifelong singleness. And took steps and spent a lot of time making choices and praying prayers that would lead me in this direction (Read Single For Now, Or Single Forever? What’s God’s Plan?). I eventually took a different path. But for those of us who are still on it, and considering committing to this path forever, we need support and need others in the church to be talking about the journey.

Both of these women have important stories, which we need to hear. The key points which stood out to me, and I can resonate with from my experience and from supporting those who are in this position, are what I want to briefly talk about now.

It’s worth highlighting that often, people considering life long singleness:

  • Did Think Life Would Be Different
  • Ultimately Are Given A Choice
  • Are Not Trading In Their Happiness 

Did Think Life Would Be Different

Importantly, in these articles, they both grew up thinking their life would be different. They dated and thought they would get married and have kids eventually. 

The people I work with in this situation often think this is the case too. I think it’s partly because marriage seen as the ‘default position’ in our society, so thinking about lifelong singleness requires more effort in some ways. I personally think marriage and life long singleness should both be active choices and thought through seriously, but we are where we are. 

If you’re thinking about life long singleness, it’s natural for you to have a period of adjustment and deliberation. To rethink what your life may look like, and where God fits in. This will bring up its own excitement and challenges.

This could take years to explore and decide, and that is fine. We wouldn’t suddenly marry someone after knowing them for a few hours, so we don’t need to rush this important decision either. It’s natural to see this as a process, and not as a quick decision, or something you should have always seen coming.

Ultimately Are Given A Choice

The question I get asked a lot is ‘Will God force me to be single forever?’ The answer is, no. 

Some people are terrified of this idea. While it’s important for us to all think about why we may be so fearful, if we do indeed pursue lifelong singleness, it will need to be an active choice. 

Both of these women’s stories made that clear. They chose to do it. They still struggle in areas, they still have problems they need to work through, but God didn’t force them into this kicking and screaming.

This is a calling, just like marriage is a calling. Both have challenges, both have amazing elements to them, and both are a gift from God that only work properly when we enter into it willingly.

Are Not Trading In Their Happiness

Marriage does not automatically result in happiness. Singleness does not automatically result in sadness. Despite this being the overwhelming message from our culture, this idea isn’t true. 

The people in these articles, and people I know who have chosen this path, are content and happy. Yes, life has its up and downs, but they are not fundamentally unhappy because of their relationship status. 

Get out of the mindset that romantic relationships are the only way we find fulfilment

We need to get out of the mindset that romantic relationships are the only way we find fulfilment and the only way we find happiness. Investing in wider friends, family, interests and hobbies is all part of feeling valued and fulfilled. Whether we are married or not. (Read 2 Things You Should Always Do To Build Strong Communities).

Lifelong singleness doesn’t mean unhappiness.

Imagine If…  

People we know, and we ourselves, may be exploring this important decision. We can’t let ourselves or others feel like strangers or outsiders if lifelong singleness is being explored. We are all members of the church family who will be supported no matter what. And will must all try to not to make the ‘non-default’ position look like a bad one. 

Imagine if we reminded people in this position that those considering life long singleness often: Did Think Life Would Be Different, Ultimately Are Given A Choice, Are Not Trading In Their Happiness. 

Do we talk about active life long singleness in church enough? Comments welcomed below. 

Originally posted 18/3/2019

My 5 No-Nonsense Tips For Singleness. Part 2

Guest Blogs, Singleness

In part 1 Lora Thorley, who heads up a ministry for single Christians called ‘Honoured’, shared two of her top tips for singleness. In part 2 she continues to share her valuable insights in a down to earth and honest way. So here it is, in her own words:

As I said in part 1 – being single can suck. But I know that God blesses us in all situations, and will not press pause on our lives just because we’re not coupled up.

So I’m going to keep sharing my 5 no-nonsense tips, so that this truth can become more of a reality in our lives.

#3 Look After Yourself

In my experience self-care and self-love are the keys to a happy single life. It helps remind us that we are valued and precious.

Often in a relationship, another person will make you feel this way by the little things they do to treat you and look after you. If you’re single you might have a great support network around you but you will also need to do things to look after yourself.

For example, every night I make myself an amazing dinner – even if it’s just me eating. If I just cooked beans on toast for myself every night I think it would reinforce the lie that just because I’m alone I’m not worth bothering about.

Instead, I treat myself like the Queen that I am and it helps build self-love and self-esteem – both of which are needed to love others.

Don’t see it as self-indulgent to treat yourself with love

This will look different for different people. It might be treating yourself to a gym membership or organising yourself a birthday party or sending yourself on holiday.

Whatever it looks like, don’t see it as self-indulgent to treat yourself with love – otherwise you’ll just be waiting for someone else to come along and fulfil that role, and who knows how long that could take!

#4 Build A Robust Relationship With Hope

I wonder if you, like me, swing between optimism and cynicism when it comes to your romantic future.

Some days I’m feeling like the right person is just around the corner and I can swim in the warm waters of anticipation and excitement. On other days, and I particularly find this after talking to other single Christians in the same boat, I despair of ever meeting anyone.

However – our hope is in the Lord.

Keep reminding yourself that we don’t hope in vain

So let’s keep looking at the bigger picture. We know there is joy and love in our future because of Jesus. That’s not some kind of abstract religious idea – it’s real joy and real love. We can put our hope in the fact that Jesus has adventures ahead for us.

So keep filling your life with scripture that reminds you of this. Fill your life with people who speak God’s truth over you.

Keep reminding yourself that we don’t hope in vain and although our earthly lives may not run exactly as we expect – God has a plan and a hopeful future in mind for us. (Read Quick Guide: When Saying ‘Being Content With Singleness’ Is & Isn’t Okay)

#5 Slay, Slay Every Day!

Something about being single can make us feel like we’re constantly on the back foot.

You might struggle with loneliness or sadness at times.

You might not have the emotional support which can come from a loving relationship.

You might start to wonder if there’s something wrong with you if you’re still single.

Often the church can seem like it’s made for families and if you’re not part of a couple or family you might feel a bit disconnected.

All this can leave you feeling a bit vulnerable or a bit of a victim at times.

The power of Christ lives in them as much as married people

But part of running Honoured is reminding people that they are not second class citizens in the church. And the power of Christ lives in them as much as married people.

For that reason, we have no excuse not to go for it in life. Step up, step out and take a risk. Whether that is taking on some new challenge or new area of responsibility in your church, going for it in your career, tackling a new project; we’ve got to live with passion and confidence. (Read 5 Cliches Said To Singles, Have You Heard Them All?)

Imagine If…

I could go on and on talking about this subject, but this is just a flavour of what the Honoured movement stands for and what we promote. Imagine if we remembered we were made to thrive, no matter what our relationship status is.

Whether you’re celibate, dating or wish you were dating – there’s a beautiful, exciting, fulfilling life for you to live so there’s no need to press pause – go for it. (Read 4 Trends that characterises singleness in our 20s, 30s and 40s)

Which tip do you think is the hardest/easiest to follow? Comments welcomed below

Originally posted 15/10/2018


Lora’s Bio
Lora is a writer and a teacher living in Nottingham. In 2017 she launched Honoured, a ministry for single Christians based in Nottingham, Manchester and London. She writes blogs for Honoured as well as various other websites and organisations. She’s passionate about empowering single Christians and encouraging others to step into whatever adventure God calls them to, regardless of their relationship status.

My 5 No-Nonsense Tips For Singleness. Part 1

Guest Blogs, Singleness

Today Lora Thorley, who heads up a ministry for single Christians called ‘Honoured’, shares some of her own story with us. She also shares her wisdom, born out of real and personally-lived experiences, that can help anyone who is single and just wants honest and tangible advice.  So here is part 1, in her own words:

I’m going to make a bold statement here.

I wonder if you’ll agree with me.

Being single sucks.

It doesn’t matter how many married people say to me ‘Oh I’d love to be single sometimes – being married is sooooo hard.’

It doesn’t matter how many empowering Instagram posts I read about how we need to be happy with our single life before we meet someone else.

It doesn’t matter how much I love starfishing in bed and choosing what TV to watch without debate.

I still hate being single.

But God Doesn’t Press Pause 

As I run Honoured, a network for single Christians, I meet a lot of single people every week, and to be completely honest, I rarely meet anyone who is totally happy with being single.

Although I know first-hand how tough relationships can be, being part of a couple has always felt more natural to me.

God will bless and use you whatever your circumstances

But the more I walk through different seasons with God, the more I learn that there is joy to be had in any situation. God will bless and use you whatever your circumstances or relationship status and he doesn’t press pause on our lives just because we’re not totally satisfied with our situation.

He still wants us to keep growing and keep faithful.

So with these thoughts in mind, here are the first two of my 5 no-nonsense tips for surviving and thriving in your singleness.

#1. Don’t Feel Guilty About Finding It Hard

The worst thing about being single is the pressure to feel ok about being single. For some reason, us Christians equate it with holiness – like the more satisfied you are with your single life the closer you are to God. 

Personally, I think this is utter nonsense and sets us up for a season of guilt and struggle. It’s natural to feel lonely, and while we know that God is enough for us, we also know that God made us for human companionship, he put within us the capacity for romance and the desire for sexual intimacy. 

None of those things are wrong.

So let’s invite God into the times when we find it really hard. Let’s give ourselves some grace and acknowledge that it can be really difficult to be single sometimes. Let’s give ourselves permission to be sad or lonely and lean on God in those moments. (Read The Worst Advice You Can Hear About Rejection)

#2 Don’t Wait Around Doing Nothing

I’ve just met too many people lately who’ve said they’re being patient and waiting for God to send them the right person. 

I have no doubt that God sometimes does send someone along in this way or that he could if he wanted to. But we never have this attitude to anything else in life, so why do we have it with dating?

We don’t wait around for God to send us a new job without filling in any applications.

Be proactive and push a few doors in the way you would with other areas of life

If you want to meet someone then you need to make some moves. Join an internet dating site or app. At Honoured we independently review these and give advice on online dating. Ask a friend to set you up with someone.

Go to an event for single Christians (Honoured also run some brilliant events)

Be proactive and push a few doors in the way you would with other areas of life.

And pray – not just for the right person to come along. Pray about the process, pray about each date, pray that you might be a blessing to whoever you meet and pray for God’s discernment and guidance. 

Because you might be surprised by someone you never thought you’d be interested in dating!

Imagine If…

In Part 2 I continue to share my next three tips. 

For now, I want you to imagine how much we could help ourselves and each other, if we embraced these tips, and allowed each other to be more honest and active in this area of our lives. (Read What The Bible Actually Says About Singleness)

What other tips would you add? Comments welcomed below

Originally posted 8/10/2018

Lora’s Bio
Lora is a writer and a teacher living in Nottingham. In 2017 she launched Honoured, a ministry for single Christians based in Nottingham, Manchester and London. She writes blogs for Honoured as well as various other websites and organisations. She’s passionate about empowering single Christians and encouraging others to step into whatever adventure God calls them to, regardless of their relationship status.

I’m Single And Hate Dating, What Can I Do?

Finding A Date, Singleness

Many of us are single but want to find someone and build a relationship, but we don’t like looking for dates. We dislike sifting through loads of profiles online, the awkward first few minutes of small talk on a date, and the confusion of deciding if there is or isn’t a spark. It’s important to know 4 ways to avoid it feeling like a chore, and get the excitement back.

I think there’s so much focus on dating being fun and great that we can find it difficult to admit it can also be hard work and exhausting. Finding someone to potentially commit to and being intentional about it isn’t a simple process.

Dating in a way which is just about living for the moment and only thinking about yourself is easy, but purposely looking for someone to build a deep relationship with isn’t. Going out on yet another date, checking the online profile, again, trying to decide if someone is really trustworthy, can seem like it just isn’t getting us where we want to be.

As someone who thinks dating should be enjoyed, and it should lead to the mutually fulfilling relationships we all want, I realise we need to talk about the times when it doesn’t live up to expectation.

First Dates

So how do you find someone? How do you make it seem like less of a chore? How do you begin to look forward to dating again?

Well lining up more and more dates and creating more and more online profiles would make anyone feel overwhelmed. I think there are 4 things we can do instead, so that we  re-discover the excitement of dating again:

  • More Dates Isn’t Always Better
  • Need To Create Anticipation
  • Strip Back The Mask
  • It’s Not A Step To Something Else

More Dates Isn’t Always Better

So often we can fall into the trap of thinking, if I just go on as many dates as possible I will find someone eventually. However, I don’t think it should be about meeting up with just anyone. So taking the time to stop and think about the kind of person we want to connect with is important.

Being active and thinking intentionally about who we say yes to can make dating feel like we’re connecting with people we really want to connect with, rather than just anyone and seeing if we stumble across something.

Thinking about what we want to try and build, who we want to do that with, and saying yes to the right dates, can help us get excited about meeting better-suited people. (Read Lots Of Dates Vs. Selective Dates: Which Is Really Better?)

Need To Create Anticipation

I’m a big believer in meeting up as soon as possible so you don’t just text or email for ages and create a ‘romantic bubble’. We only really get to know people when we hang out with them in person and talk face to face.

However, not talking properly beforehand at all can end in disaster too. Only emailing after reading a profile or sending a text after a mutual friend set you up, can end with us getting dressed up, getting ready, going to meet someone and realising you just aren’t suited after a lot of time and energy has been invested. Phoning each other first and chatting for a bit means you can begin to know each other before you invest too much of yourself.

The date won’t be something you dread, but it’ll be something you look forward to

There is no need to arrange a meeting with someone if you both realise that it’s obviously not going to work beforehand.

Moreover, if you chat a bit and get on, it means you will be excited to meet each other in person. The date won’t be something you dread, but it’ll be something you look forward to because you have had a positive experience already. (Read What should we do on a first date? Part 1)

So arrange one or two phone calls or Skype chats, see if you are excited to meet up and get to know each other more.

Strip Back The Mask

On dates we want to present the best version of ourselves and make the best first impression, that’s natural and understandable. But when people lie or exaggerate too much, it becomes confusing. We don’t get to see the real them or vice versa.

Focusing on real compatibility can make dating less daunting

When we see dating as a chance to meet someone and be authentic, rather than worry about everything we say and do, it will seem less terrifying and more exciting. Focusing on real compatibility can make dating great (Read Are You Thinking About Compatibility In The Right Way?)

It’s Not A Step To Something Else

Dating can be enjoyable. Dating in and of itself can honour God. It’s not just a step to marriage.

Seeing it as something that needs to be rushed through will not help us to see it as exciting. But seeing it as something we are meant to enjoy and learn more about ourselves and others in, will help us to see it as exciting. (Read Who Else Wants Great Relationships? Why Dating Well Still Matters)

Imagine If…

Imagine if we remembered: More Dates Isn’t Always Better, Need To Create Anticipation, Strip Back The Mask, It’s Not A Step To Something Else. We could go from dreading dating, to doing it intentionally with the best chance of making it work, and with lots of excitement.

What else do you think could help build more excitement? Comments Welcomed Below

Originally posted 18/6/2018