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From divorce to dating

When a marriage shatters, putting the pieces back together can be a daunting task.

"I was all over the place with two kids, going through a divorce and trying to pick myself up," says Sheila Blagg. "Every day, that is how it is. Every day, you pick yourself up."

Divorce is ugly. But Blagg has created a website that is designed to help divorcees move on, and keep their exes out of the loop as they try to rebuild their lives as singles.

Kathleen is a member of Divorce2Dating. After her divorce, she says: "I lost weight. I was stressed out; it was difficult for me to function. Getting on [the site], I have other people I could talk to about this."

Contrary to what its name may imply, Divorce2Dating isn't just a place for divorcees to hook up. It provides members with a big-picture approach to starting over, offering free time with an attorney or fitness expert and links to financial help and counselors. But perhaps most importantly, the site provides a trusted interactive community of people who are in the same boat.

"I am very protective of the site," says Blagg. "Who is on there, who is giving advice and who is participating in the everyday flow of the site. I keep a very close eye on that."

The site even has an outlet for children, providing a protected chat room where parents can log their children in and let them vent with other kids who are dealing with similar frustrations. Members say that the blogs and chat rooms on Divorce2Dating are more therapeutic than they are toxic.

Lynn tried all of the traditional social networking and dating sites after her divorce. "I talked to a couple of guys, had a couple of drinks with some guys, but they were bums," she recalls. "It really wasn't a great experience. They didn't know what I had been through."

But when she found Fred on Divorce2Dating, Lynn got a second chance at love.

"We got talking through the website and went out on a couple of dates," she says. "And here we are now, a year-and-a-half later, engaged and about to be married."

Blagg says that watching the site grow has been both empowering and touching. She says that the first time she saw people interacting and blogging, she was moved to tears.

"I'm sitting there in front of the computer , thinking [. . .] it's working," she says.

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