Who hasn’t gone through some kind of a rough breakup? It can be really hard, we can all agree to that.
But for how long should it be that hard? A year, a month, a day?
I mean, it’s only hard as much as you think it is. People often romanticize their ex-partners and idealize their pictures.
Here is the truth: you can start dating again. And probably much faster than you’ve thought.
The very fact you are here means that you are actually ready to get back in the game. Which is great!
So, how do you start?
The last time you dated someone was so long ago that you forgot how it actually feels like to talk to people.
You are older, got some extra imperfections on your body, some scars that are still healing, and a bag of expectations for your future, potential partner.
Not going to lie, it’s more complicated than it was before.
Or is it?
Here’s the reality:
We live in the 21st century- everything is simplified.
What? The last time you dated someone was before the appearance of the internet?
Wake up! Let’s take the US as one great example. There are like 40 million people who have online dating accounts.
No matter if you are old-fashioned, or if you have sworn never to install these apps, think again.
Thousands, maybe even millions of people meet through online dating websites, such as Match.com, eHarmony, Tinder, etc. on a daily basis.
Long story short, I will try to help you figure out how to start dating again. It doesn’t have to be through a dating site, of course, but using it would definitely help you get back that confidence just by talking to random people.
And always keep in mind this fact: dating is like swimming or riding a bike, you can never forget it.
So, here comes the most interesting step!
Experiment With Something New!
Get out of that comfort zone you’ve been drowning in for so long. Online dating is growing really popular nowadays.
People are more interested in chit-chatting through their mobile phones, rather than anything else.
Almost everyone is afraid of making that first step in the real world, that’s for sure.
Online dating websites will make everything less personal, so even if you get embarrassed or something (which I highly doubt), it doesn’t matter. No one will ever know!
As soon as you know it, that chit-chatting will grow into something bigger.
Think about it. Everyone who joins a dating website is there with one thing in mind – dating, relationship, or just having a bit of spicier fun (if you know what I mean. If not, visit benaughty.com).
There is a study conducted by eHarmony which says that people who met their partners online have a lot happier marriages than those who met “offline”.
What do you have to lose? Just open a profile, and right of the bat, I bet, you will get a message that will intrigue you, more than you know.
Here is one extra tip for you, try with 2-3 different apps. The more, the merrier.
There are sites where both sides can start the conversation, even without previous “matching”, for example, Match.
You can start the conversation, or you can ignore it. It’s up to you.
Keep in mind that around 67% of people end up going on a date with their online sweethearts. Those are some good odds, right?
The good part of online dating are filters – you define what you are looking for.
I mean, you probably have a picture of an ideal dating partner, but just in case, let’s approach this one more seriously:
Create A List Of Things You Are Searching For
It might sound childish and foolish. You probably have a precise list in your mind and know it by heart – just make sure you put it on a piece of paper.
Making a list helps in many things, for example, organizing your thoughts and getting clear on what you are aiming for.
Simply tell yourself:
- I want a girl with an IQ over 80… for once!
- I want a girl who is well-organized…
It can be anything you want.
- I want a girl with big boobs.
So, you might ask yourself why would you write these things on a paper?
The answer is simple: some things “sound” different on a piece of paper.
Actually, you will be able to perceive all of your demands objectively.
But note this: never use negative statements.
So, instead of saying “I don’t want some jerk who sits home whole day and plays Dota 2 for 10 hours”, you can express that positively with “I want a man, a real man, who can take the responsibility, work hard to please me, be my slave…” whatever.
Why should you avoid negative thinking?
It’s pretty much self-explanatory.
Reduce negativity to reduce stress. Reduce stress, and you will be more chill.
Being more chill means being more attractive. Being more attractive means boosting your self-confidence.
Okay, so after becoming more active on the dating field, this list might expand a bit.
You know, you might start finding some of these things important:
- Wittiness, humor
- Common interests, e. g. traveling
- Kids (whether he/she wants them)
And this should not worry you. It’s normal to become pickier over time.
Actually, imagine if the only thing you want in your early 40s is those big boobs that were on the list 20-25 years ago. That would be wrong.
So, don’t despair, a wider list just means you know your worth and real values, and know what you are looking for.
Mindset Of Having Fun
Great job! You’ve scheduled your first date after a long time. What now?
The one thing you don’t want to do is overthink. Have you ever spent hours of imagining all the situations and dialogues, just to come to the date and get completely paralyzed because the date isn’t going precisely by your plan?
I bet you did. So rather than doing this, go with the mindset of having fun. Dates are fun, at least they are supposed to be.
So, ladies, when a guy asks: “Tell me more about yourself”, keep in mind that they are not your job interviewers and that you don’t need to overthink.
The reason he is asking is probably to make you talk and relax.
So, don’t panic. Speak about what you ate this morning, make a joke, tell him you have 8 kids and watch the reaction. Just have fun!
Just go with the mindset that you don’t have to see your date ever again if you don’t want to and everything will go much more smoothly. You will step into the world of fun dates.
And remember that if he asks you to marry him on the first date (most certainly happened to someone) – run as fast as you can.
It’s rare to go on a date and immediately find “the one”. Prepare for the search, and think of it as if a fun activity. After all, date (no matter if good or bad) is all about having fun, right?
Don’t be afraid to suggest something unusual for a date – like hiking, playing golf, bowling, etc.
Make Some Routine Changes
As the years pass by, we tend to meet fewer and fewer new people. You have a routine that you follow, day in and day out, and it’s only reasonable not to meet anyone new.
That’s why it’s sometimes good to change your routine. Like, try going to the gym. Not only that you will get into great shape, but increase the possibilities of meeting new people.
About 50% of Americans agree that a gym is a great place for meeting your future partner.
Also, if you’ve ever gone to a gym, remember the feeling of being healthy. Actually, you are feeling healthy, much more energized and alive.
That can all result in boosting your confidence and the quality of interpersonal relationships. Finally, who can refuse a guy/girl in great shape?
The gym is just a placeholder, of course. Just go anywhere you can find a lot of think- alike people. Do you like books? Go to a book night.
Who cares… increase interactions, and enjoy every smile that comes out of that.
Now, you can try this step, but, for the love of God, don’t be like:
I’m untouchable, no one can speak to me, blah blah.
I’m wounded little bird, and I should never ever let anyone touch my little soft heart.
Talk to the hand, you big dude.
Instead, talk to people, enjoy chit-chatting. Simply put:
Be Optimistic About The Future, And Love
I know you have been hurting, everyone has. But that’s not the reason for not believing in love ever again, and shutting down every stranger that approaches.
I can’t expose myself again.
I will probably attract some damaged person… again.
If my 20-year marriage failed, everything will.
Let me tell you the truth – these are all just lame excuses. You are just afraid.
And that’s okay. But why are you afraid of something inevitable. Every love hurts, and most likely, it will hurt again.
As long as you don’t find the one and stop the pain.
(And, let’s be honest, even the true love hurts from time to time.)
Of course you will expose yourself again. It’s either that or staying forever alone. So, what’s worse?
Sure, you might attract a damaged person (damaged by your criteria), but you are smarter now. You can easily say no.
Your 20-year marriage failed? So what? There was a conducted study which says that women are much happier after the divorce.
And men? Ah, they have probably read this guide much before you, and they are back in the game.
- The ultimate hack for you: fake it until you make it!
Have you heard about William James? He was a philosopher with a similar theory.
His was about smiling. Apparently, smiling more, even if fake, will finally make you happier, for real.
Faking and acting like there is love just around the corner, believing in it, will eventually convince you to regain trust in love.
Simple, optimistic, effective.
Give Yourself Some Time
Giving yourself some time doesn’t mean 10 years. God no!
Simply, enjoy the freedom for a while, enjoy it all by yourself. Take a break.
People tend to rush from one relationship to another.
But why? They are afraid of being alone.
We all have that one friend who just jumps from one relationship to another, claims he/she found the true love, forever together, only to see that their “forever” lasted for 2 months.
This might backfire with a bag full of disappointments. So if you want to start dating again, make sure you are ready for it.
I know I said “fake it until you make it”, but that’s not the case here. Moreover, jumping from one relationship to another is known to occur in lonely, hopeless, self-conscious states, and it’s bad.
Dating might awake those unresolved trust issues you had during the past relationship. If wounds are fresh, and you are still angry, that probably means that you are not ready yet.
When are you ready to start dating again, then?
When all the anger and disappointment is behind you.
Second case scenario. You are completely over your past relationship, which is cool.
Anyway, you need to make the dating part slower. Don’t jump into something big, unless you are, not 100%, but 1.000% sure it’s true.
After all, the best part of falling in love is getting to know someone. Make every moment slow and sweet.
Now, with all of this being said, there comes one must-do. It’s called:
Accept That Things Are Different
Things will never be the same, and that’s the beauty of dating. Always vivid, and ever-changing.
So, dating in your early 30s or 40s are quite different from several decades ago. Not only that you have changed since then and gathered much more experience, but your date has as well.
You both had some routines before, some of which are good for you, some bad. The point is that you will need to adjust a bit and accept that things are now working differently.
20 years ago, people were talking to each other in person, now they do it through dating sites. You will need to adjust and get used to texting.
Don’t be like:
Ah, I installed this app, and it really looks strange, and this is simply not for me.
Try with another app.
You need to adapt to the way people communicate today, and as a survey shows, over 40% of couples meet online.
Does that ring a bell?
No matter how old fashioned you are, there are some changes you might want to make if you want to start dating again. Sure, you can do it the old way as well, but following these modern ways gives much more possibilities.
So, this is the technology part of dating again after a long time. Other than that, there is a personality side of dating after a long time.
The fact is – personalities can’t change significantly, or at all.
So, for example, you might decide to have a one night stand. What happens if you weren’t able to do this before, when you were younger?
Most likely, you will come out of that with an even bigger scar.
Again, don’t fake on your personality traits. “Fake it till you make” won’t work here.
Just stay true to yourself.
And don’t mix things up. Trying something new is a good thing. As long as you don’t try the coke. And as long as it is not contrary to your nature.
Try online dating, adapt to the new way of communicating, etc. But don’t make drastic changes trying to twist your personality for 180 degrees.
You don’t need to get back into the game of dating overnight. These things demand time, a lot of adjusting, and patience.
Master one thing at a time.
You most certainly bother with questions like:
- “Why am I trying to date now, when I’m older and different”
- “I couldn’t find a normal partner when I was younger, how could I with all these imperfections, wrinkles…”
That’s just ageing crisis, and you need only one person to boost your confidence. That person is you.
Just get up and tell yourself that you are one beautiful creature, a beast in the bedroom, the goddess among goddesses, whatever makes you feel good.
Definitely, there are some flaws. But, you know what?
Perfection is boring. I’m not looking for a perfect dating partner, just someone with who I can come along.
Am I asking for much? Definitely not.
Will I get there sometime in the future? Definitely yes!
How do I know? Read the 5th step, you haven’t learned anything!
All in all, experiment with something new and popular, like online dating. Make the list of things you want to see in your next partner. Believe that there’s a new love right around the corner. Go out with different people with the goal to have fun.
Break out of the routine. Start exercising or something!
Don’t rush into new things and accept the changes. After all, you are not searching for the same thing you were 25 or 5 years ago. Hell, not even 2 months ago! You are searching for something new, something better.
Embrace it, enjoy, and respect yourself. Go date, and even if it fails sooo hard, it will make you laugh in a few years. Or even days.