Dating after a long-term, relatively successful relationship is tough on your emotions, even if you are anxious to get back out there. You have to put your training wheels back on, but the terrain is completely different than you remember it. And so are you, in theory Lots of well-meaning friends might also coax you into going out with other single people or downloading a bunch of dating apps right away. That definitely works as a distraction, but it won't necessarily lead you to another fulfilling relationship. You're having a knee-jerk reaction to your sadness and not wanting to be alone, she says. You owe it to yourself to have some alone time, according to Dr. Bonior.
Diving into the dating fray after surviving the end of a long relationship is like standing on one foot on an ice floe that is melting faster than the ice in your diet coke on a 90-degree day. You know you’re about to take the plunge, but you’d rather stand on something a bit more solid. Getting back into the mix requires some thinking and a helping hand to pull you off the melting patch of ice and on to firmer ground.
Dating hasn’t changed all that much in the last twenty years. Remember the words of your mother? Be yourself, wear clean underwear in case of an accident, and keep mad money readily available. Well things have changed a bit, but one out of three isn’t too bad. Let’s explore just how to venture back out into the world of dating. Divorce is a life-altering experience much like the death of a loved one.
You have lost something. You’ve lost the way of life you came to know over the years. The security of knowing you’re not alone, whether it’s physically, financially, or emotionally walked out of your life in the same way that an old pair of well worn shoes leaves your closet.
The importance of grieving the loss cannot be stated enough. Spend some time mourning, licking your wounds, and searching your soul to answer the what, where, how, who, and why of life.
You won’t actually answer all the questions, but you’ll come out on the other side knowing yourself better in a new way. During this time make friends and family a circle of support for you. You may find that your old friends, not anxious to choose sides, fall to the wayside. Make new ones and these friends will understand the new you. Live the single life for six months to a year before journeying toward the dating path.
You’ve spent a year of celibacy cloistered in your personal life. You’ll know when you’re ready by the prickling of your thumbs or the restless feelings that if you don’t get out and meet some new people of the opposite sex you’ll go quite mad. You know you won’t meet a soul sitting on the sofa watching yet another bad sitcom, so make a date with yourself to go where people go.
Try browsing at a bookstore, stop for a drink after work at the favorite watering hole where the older crowd is known to hover about, join a chess club, a garden club, a running club, or a gym. The point is to get out there. You’ll meet someone for certain. There you were sipping chai tea as a spring breeze sauntered across the parking lot when a friend finds you swirling the liquid in your mug absent-mindedly. Lucky you! She has the perfect guy for you.
The one that just relocated to the area and just happens to be her new colleague. She hints that he is looking to find someone to show him around town. She asks if she can mention you to him and give him your phone number.
You acquiesce while fingering the pages of the book you’ve been skimming. Fast-forward a few days and the phone rings; it’s the new colleague of your friend. After a complimentary chat giving the basics of each other, you set up a date. The cordless doesn’t hit the cradle before panic rushes in.
Never fear, just follow these steps and you’ll back in the race with new shoes, a new ‘do and a new attitude. BE YOURSELF Mom was right about this one, just be yourself. You may be nervous, but don’t let nerves rule the day. Remember, he’s nervous, too. Act natural, don’t try to be something you’re not, just be you. That’s the best thing of all, anyway. So, take a deep breath, smile and let the chips fall where they may.
LISTEN Be a good listener. Instead of thinking about what you’re going to say as he tells you about the move to a new town, really listen to him. Give him your undivided attention and be sincerely interested in learning about him.
You’ll get your chance to flaunt your stuff by allowing him the same courtesies you expect. RELAX This is the time to remember you’re meeting a virtual stranger and that nerves are served up all around. Let the time you spend with your date progress at an easy and natural pace. Don’t project all the bad traits of your ex on to the person you just met. A barrage of questions regarding his employment, his lifestyle, what kind of car he drives may lead to wondering if you’re only interested in his financial life.
Go in with no expectations of anything more than what it is; a chance to get to know one another. LIVE IN THE MOMENT Living in the moment may sound trite and overused, but it’s the best way to put what dating is into perspective. If you’re too busy worrying about if there’ll be another date or what he’s thinking or what you’re not thinking you’re missing out.
You’re missing out on great conversation or perhaps just mediocre dialogue. You’re missing out on possibilities of discovering that you both love gardens, baseball, or sitting on a porch swing idling on a Sunday.
While you’re together stop fretting about what may or may not be. Just let it play out while you enjoy the present. As said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Make sure that during this initial meeting you’re not making plans for another day, but that you’re living in the here and now. Finding love again after the break up of a long relationship isn’t easy. The most worthwhile things in life take time and patience to cultivate. Be yourself, listen, relax, and live in the moment are intertwined to make a whole.
When you bring all these ideas together in one single meeting you give yourself the best chance of not just meeting someone, but to get to know who they are. You’re also allowing them to know you. You may find the love of your life or you may find a friend, either way, you’ve won. Finding love requires getting out into the mix, just make sure you’re ready, willing and able to put your best food forward. Love doesn’t just conqueror all, love IS all.
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No matter how many sad songs you hear, it’s impossible to prepare for a breakup—especially one that ends a long, serious relationship. Every breakup is rough in its own way, but picking yourself up and “getting back out there” can be especially daunting if it’s been a while since you’ve been single.
You’re older, wiser, and perhaps a bit more cynical about the ways of the heart. Unless you plan to crawl under a rock and let love pass you by (which you don’t, obviously), you’re going to have to dust off your dating skills, fill your heart with hope, and begin again, at least eventually. Take it from me. It’s not going to be a cakewalk, but it’s not impossible, either. Here’s what I’ve learned. Set small goals. When the first, monstrous wave of grief and anger recedes after a breakup, you’ll be left standing on the beach, staring at a vast sea.
Metaphorically speaking, that sea should be full of fish, but it won’t seem that way. It will look empty and bleak. The idea of beginning again, of building up years worth of memories, inside jokes, trust, and plans for the future, can feel like yet another wave threatening to crush you.
Of course the ultimate goal is to grow old with the man of your dreams, but for now, just try aiming for a date with a guy who makes you laugh. Then look for a man who makes you want a second date. Start with small steps, allowing your mind to start imagining the fun stuff again—a first kiss, , saving his address in your preferred food delivery app. These are all the small moments that add up to a loving relationship that is worth striving for.
Relish all the good stories. When speaking with friends who are recently coming out of long-term relationships, it’s been interesting to see how their comments and questions about my dating life do a flip. When they were happy and settled in a relationship, stories of my misadventures in romance (of which I have many) were amusing to them. Now that they’re on the other side, though, my anecdotes are slightly more terrifying. But really—reporting live from the front lines of singledom—it’s not so bad!
I’ve been and . I can tell you with confidence: Not all the good ones are taken! And, to be frank, the horror stories are often more fun to share than the stories about good, quality men. Sure, you might meet a few duds along the way until you meet “the one,” but you’re due for a few stories yourself. Try setting a deadline . . . but it’s OK if you need more time.
Sometimes, we need to set a deadline to give ourselves a push. My friend Megan, for instance, gave herself a very specific timeline to get over her grief. “It was an actual date in my calendar on which I decided I had to throw myself in the dating pool again. And weirdly enough, or not . . . I ended up meeting someone just a week or two before that self-imposed deadline.” While all our calendars might not have that kind of magic, for some, setting aside a hard date is the kind of motivation we need to move forward.
Depending on your personality or your depth of mourning, though, setting an arbitrary date isn’t always a good idea. “After my breakup, I spent a lot of time comparing my own heartbreak timeline to those of others,” Alice shares. “Because of that, I went on several dates to prove I was ready, when I totally wasn’t. I felt like something was wrong with me.” Later, she realized that her desire to date again came back to her organically once she had decided to let go of her benchmarks.
So, know thyself. If you’re motivated by deadlines, consider putting a reasonable date on a calendar. But if the hurt was too deep, or if you think you just need time, remember to be patient with yourself and .
You might get jealous, but let it go. Unless you’re completely off the grid, you’re probably going to fall into the trap of stalking your ex on social media. You know the drill: You ferociously check his Instagram feed to see if he has deleted your memories together.
You’ll secretly deep dive into every female who leaves a trace on his Facebook profile. When he starts dating and posting photos with a new paramour, you feel the anxiety building. If the above doesn’t sound like something you’ve ever done or ever will do, I honestly applaud you. But if it does, you’re not alone. Jealousy and bitterness are dark feelings, but they’re normal after long breakups.
In protecting ourselves and our hearts, we can let some of our uglier qualities run a bit wild, but it’s important to keep them in check. Feel your feelings, but then let them go. And definitely unfriend or unfollow your ex if it’s triggering some unhealthy behavior. You will feel ‘known’ again. There’s a reason are so popular. When we’re hurt and abandoned and adrift, we want to find something stable and grounded as soon as possible.
We want to feel known the way we were before when we had someone that felt as familiar as home and as cozy as a cashmere blanket. But by their very nature, rebounds are not cashmere; they are a poly-blend that looks nice but will never wear the same way.
Big, important relationships are like investment pieces. They take a while to save for, feel monumental to procure, and require care to maintain.
Rather than stretch this metaphor way too far, let me just say: While it may feel like no one will know you like your ex-boyfriend did, that’s OK. You aren’t the same person anymore. You’ve been changed and shaped by your past relationships and by this breakup. You will be known again, but it will be as the person you are now—just as lovable but all the more enlightened.
How To Start Dating Again after a breakup