Dating Tips for the New Singles
If you’ve been in a long relationship or marriage, the singles scene probably seems surreal to you. In many ways, you have to relearn how to start dating again. That’s okay, though, because you have plenty of online friends like myself willing to gives you tips and suggestions for getting back into the world of dating.
Remember that things haven’t changed that much since you were looking for love and romance the last time around. It’s still men seeking female companionship and women seeking male companionship. Most of the time, people aren’t that complicated, and neither is dating. A woman is going to want to be around a man who makes her feel better about herself, while a man is going to want to be around a woman who does the same for him.
1. Don’t Rush in to Things
There’s no reason to rush things. If you just went through the stormy end of a relationship, you probably aren’t entirely prepared to be open and trusting like you once were.
They say time heals all wounds. I don’t know if that’s true, but I think it usually applies to emotional scars. The more time between you and that other relationship, the more this new life of yours will seem like the real thing.
More important, the less wounded you will be emotionally. You may never trust like you did before, but that doesn’t mean you can trust again. Gaining wisdom is about learning something from life’s failures and not becoming a simple cynic.
You’ll learn to trust again. You’ll be able to love again. But the wise man or woman is going to be a little more cautious this time and not rush into a new marriage or commitment. That person isn’t going to shut himself or herself off from the world, either.
2. Avoid Comparison Shopping
You presumably have had your eyes set on one man or woman for years now. It’s natural to compare everyone you meet to that lost someone. That’s not a good idea and I would suggest you limit your mental comparisons as much as possible.
Maybe you have a thing for blondes and your last wife was a blonde. But if you start dating a brunette who is warm and giving and into you, physical comparisons between your ex and your new girlfriend do you no good.
Or maybe your last guy was a bit of a hell-raiser or a man’s man and your new man is calmer and more intellectual. Some of the buttons your old lover pushed may not get pushed in this relationship, and you might not like that.
Remember, in either case, this new person is completely different. There are going to be things about them that are better, while some will be worse. Most traits will be neither, but just completely different. This new boyfriend or girlfriend might not be right for you, but this new relationships deserves a fair chance to succeed or fail on its own merits.
3. Experiment a Little
Along those same lines, many people tend to date the same “types” over and over. Maybe that’s the guy who goes for blondes or curvy women or whatever. Maybe that’s the guy or girl who goes for a controlling or submissive mate. Maybe that’s someone who likes to hang around drinkers.
This time around, try something new. See what happens when you date someone who treats you different than your last partner treated you. Think outside the box. This is a mulligan, a reboot, a chance to start fresh. So start completely fresh.
Date somebody who isn’t your type and see where that takes you. Your friends might think you’re crazy or going through a mid-life crisis, but don’t listen to them. Or, on the other hand, if your friends want you to date someone you don’t think is your type, give it a try and see. It’s a date, not a marriage.
4. Try Online Dating
Open yourself up to a whole new world of possibilities. If you haven’t been on the dating scene for the last 10 years, you probably haven’t been on an Internet dating site. Join a dating website or a handful of them and see where that takes you.
One, online dating lets you cast a much bigger net than you otherwise would. Most people are going to be limited to the people at their workplace, the singles their friends know and the local bar scene. Posting an Internet profile and browsing through other files increases the scope of your search by a factor of a thousand (and I’m being conservative).
Two, online dating lets you dip your foot into the water and move more slowly than you otherwise would. You’ll be able to chat or IM with the opposite sex, exchange pictures and emails, swap stories and get to know these other people before the first date ever happens. Web dating is like having a penpal you’re eventually going to meet for a date.
If nothing else, joining the online dating community lets you start envisioning yourself interacting with the opposite sex in a romantic kind of way.
5. Know Yourself
Try to take stock of yourself and your needs. Ask yourself what was missing in the last relationship that you would like to have in the next one. Think about your emotional needs and your sexual needs. Know what you want.
This situation gives you a chance to analyze your life up until now and figure out what it is that’s going to make you happy. You’re not a kid anymore, so maybe your relationship decisions should be more informed. Figure out what you want and go out and get it.
6. Be Yourself
Finally, when you do go out there, be proud of yourself and what you have to offer to another person. You’ve been in a long relationship before, so you know what it is to give of yourself. You obviously have a lot of positive qualities and you shouldn’t let anyone or any set of circumstances take that away from you.
When you meet a new romantic partner, be honest and straightforward about your needs and wants. Let them know that you were hurt in your last relationship, but don’t dwell on the past or discuss at length how it all fell apart. Just let them know where you came from, then focus on where you’re headed.
Once you are honest with yourself and others and you have reassessed where you are in life and what your relationship needs are, you’ll have figured out how to start dating again.