It can be daunting to get back into the dating game after a divorce or the break up of a long-term relationship, but it’s often not as scary or difficult as you imagine. Here are some tips to help you take the first steps.
Be Sure You Are Ready
You probably have well meaning friends encouraging you to take the plunge, but only you know when you’re ready to get out there again, so make sure you understand your feelings first.
There is no time limit for finding closure and feeling comfortable enough to take the plunge again. You need to get over your ex enough to feel positive about men in general and be open to the idea that a future relationship need not go wrong like the last one. It’s only once you’ve moved on enough that you can enjoy dating.
Get Out And About
Once you feel ready to go out in the world, that’s exactly what you should do—get out there. Go places where you’re likely to meet people. You don’t even have to go looking for a date, just try making new friends. Be open for conversation and ready for whatever may come up.
Broaden Your Social Circle
It’s likely that your former circle of friends included a lot of married or committed couples, so once you find yourself single, you’ll need to broaden your group of friends to include a few more single friends who are more willing to hang out where single people go and will understand what you are going through. Try to have or make at least one good friend in a similar position to you who you can confide in and be willing to listen to them vent too.
Take your time to learn the ropes again, and learn to enjoy refreshing you memory about what it feels like to date and fall in love. It’s not likely you’ll meet your new “someone” on the first try, so give it time. It’s possible that it could happen, but you’ll be less frustrated if you don’t go into every date expecting to find “the one”. You’re allowed to have a bit of fun as you go, so take your time before you commit to anyone new.
Act As If
You might feel apprehensive when preparing to date again, but that doesn’t always mean you’re not ready. Sometimes you’ll just have to fake it a bit in order to get out there and make progress. Give yourself a little push, paste a smile on your face, and act like you’re going to have fun. If you enter into the experience with a positive attitude, you’re likely to actually have fun in the end.
Accept The Game Has Changed
You’ll need to be willing to admit you may not know all the rules of the dating game anymore, especially if you’ve been in a relationship or marriage for some time. This is where single friends can help. They can help you choose what to wear, give you advice on where to go, what to do, what to say or not say and so on. Or read articles with dating tips here on LoveFromAna.com and on other sites. There’s a lot of dating advice freely available to you. Read everything and then make up your own mind about what is best for you.
Try Online Dating
If you’ve been in a long relationship, chances are, you’re new to online dating. It doesn’t hurt to give it a look to see if it’s something that could work for you. Be sure to read tips on online dating as well as get any advice that you can get from friends. It’s helpful to know what you’re getting into, how to weed out men who are too good to be true, and avoid getting yourself into any sticky situations. It doesn’t hurt to get some help in making your profile as well.
Improve Your Image
If you’ve been miserable because your relationship ended, you may have let yourself go a bit. Perhaps you started comfort eating and stopped exercising or you haven’t bothered to buy yourself anything new to wear for ages. Once you decide to get back to dating, you’re going to want to feel good about your looks. So work on your image until you are happy with yourself again. One caveat – don’t wait to jump back in and date until you lose 40lbs or can run a marathon. Live your life AND improve your image at the same time!
Get Your Home In Order
The same applies to your home if you have let that go. Create a space where you would be happy to welcome new friends so you never need be embarrassed about the state of your home.
You might feel lonely and out of your comfort zone now you’re alone, but don’t be so desperate that you just accept the first man who comes along and is interested in you. That could lead to more heart break if you end up settling for someone who is not good for you. Be selective and even a bit picky. If you’re willing to go on a few dates that don’t work out well you’re more likely to find someone who is right for you in the end. If you’re not completely comfortable with someone, move on and look elsewhere.
Don’t Worry About Bad Dates
Dating means putting yourself out there, and you’ll have dates that don’t work out. Vent to a friend if you like, but don’t give up. Sit back with a glass of wine and laugh about the odd or strange experiences you’re having and learn from them. Don’t assume that everyone you date will have a wonderful character or be a good match for you. Once you accept that bad dates happen to everyone, you’ll enjoy yourself more and make yourself open to the good ones when they do come around.
Dating is not a contest. You should not be measuring yourself by anyone’s standard but your own. Don’t feel guilty if you stay home one weekend in order to give yourself a break sometimes. That doesn’t make you a hermit, it means you’re focusing on yourself as well and giving yourself time to breathe.
it’s very important not to get discouraged if you’re not meeting with success right away. Give yourself time to find the right person and in the meantime, have fun and enjoy the experience. Do your best not to compare with your other single friends and cut yourself some slack.
Leave Your Baggage At Home
You’re unlikely to find someone who wants to hear about your heartbreak and complicated relationships on the first or even subsequent dates. This isn’t the time to bash the opposite sex or talk about the traits you hate. Once you start dating, wipe the slate clean and go into every date with a positive attitude and you’re more likely to meet with success.
Don’t arrive at your date stressed out. Feeling tense is common for anyone on a first date, but you might be more stressed because it’s been some time since you’ve done this. Do whatever you need to do to relax before a date. Maybe take a long bath, soothe yourself with some calming music, or if you’re an active type, go for a walk until you feel peaceful again, just before you need to leave.
Be Willing To Try New Things
Be willing to take a few risks, just not with your safety. (Here are 23 Safe Dating Tips if you need them). The type of risks I mean are those which take you outside your comfort zone in other ways. You may have the opportunity to do some things that you wouldn’t normally try, for example frequenting new restaurants serving different types of food to those you’d normally eat, attempting new activities and visiting new places. Be willing to step outside what you’ve been comfortable with until now.
Don’t Take Dating Too Seriously
Of course you’re looking for someone you click with and possibly a new life partner. In the meantime, take your dating life with a big helping of humor, and aim to have fun. It’s alright to laugh about things that go wrong, people you never expected to meet, or funny things you said or did that didn’t work out well. Keeping a sense of humor will prevent you from getting discouraged.
Don’t Give Up
Feel free to take breaks from time to time, but don’t give up altogether. There is someone there for you if you keep looking. If you’re not sure where and you never seem to come across great men see my book on Amazon How To Find Love: 182 Best Places To Meet Men. Even if you decide to take a break of a few months, stay open to starting over when you’re up to dating again.
Over to you: Have you found love again after divorce or are you still at the dating stage? Do you have any advice to share about dating again after a breakup? Please leave a comment below
Sometimes it is frustrating to start over when you’ve been in a long relationship. It’s what I went through. But I loved meeting the different kind of people.
Sara Silva recently posted…DIY Father’s Day Gift Ideas
Thanks for your comment Silva and for sharing your experience with starting over.
Ana recently posted…Top Ten Lies In Online Dating Profiles
Great tips here! Will pass these on to friends!
(this is very strange – your blog is prompting me to make my comment longer – saying there is not enough words here. You have a length requirement for your comments? Very odd.)
Thanks Marya. It must be my anti-spam thingy kicking in. I think it’s set to something like 10 words so yours was just a bit short. Of course, it’s a waste of time because all the spammers seem to be able to send paragraphs of text about all kinds of stuff that has nothing to do with the post 🙂
Ana recently posted…Top Ten Lies In Online Dating Profiles
Love these tips Ana. Dating after a long marriage is so strange. I remember going through it after 14 years of marriage to my first husband and OMG it was so scary. I dreaded doing the whole dating thing. If I had a friend of someone on my sitelines coaching me along and reminding me not to do some of the stupid things I did, it probably would have went a lot smoother. Luckily it didnt’ take long to find my current husband and I could stop…cause I’m a terrible dater. LOL
Misty Spears recently posted…Are Hemp Seeds Safe for Kids?
Well, it doesn’t seem like you did too badly at the dating thing seeing as you found a wonderful man LOL Thanks for sharing Misty
Ana recently posted…Secrets Of Happy Couples
These are great tips. I would imagine a lot of people after a divorce may take their time to go dating again due to fear. However once they are ready, these are great tips.
Miriam Slozberg recently posted…Spreading the Influence with Kevin Snow
Thanks Miriam. I agree, it’s not easy starting again but if you’ve just got over a break up, it’s worth facing the fear because of the difference finding love makes to the rest of your life.
Ana recently posted…Secrets Of Happy Couples
What a wonderful article! I like these tips a lot and I hope nobody has to go through something as painful as a break-up because it’s very difficult to put in a lot of effort, time, emotions and in fact your life into a relationship and then say goodbye to it. But it should not be forgotten that life should not stop after a break-up. I believe it would help a lot to think positive and try to love yourself more!
Thanks again for sharing these tips and All the best!