Dating after you get your heart broken is terrifying. Especially if you’ve been out of the dating game for a while. Knowing where to start is daunting and the thought of opening yourself up physically and emotionally to another human can make the strongest of us run for the hills.
It makes sense why this is so difficult: The last time you put yourself out there and opened up your life to someone, it backfired on you big time. It’s only natural that you’re a little hesitant to risk that all over again.
The apprehension, fear, and uncertainty that you feel is completely normal. No matter how many times your friends or family tell you that it’s time to move on or to ‘just get back out there’ it’s normal to feel stuck.
Take your time – I don’t care if your best friend thinks she knows what’s best for you. It’s wonderful that your support system is urging you to get back out there, but only you can know when you’re truly ready to get back into the game.
When my very serious, passionate, and long-term relationship ended, my friends pressured me into going out on a couple dates – way too soon. I felt uncomfortable the whole time and all I could think about was my ex. It wasn’t fair to my date or myself.
After some reflection, I decided to take a little time off for myself and focus on me and my life. During that time, I was able to become more successful in my career and I was able to strengthen my relationships with my friends and family. Because I didn’t rush back into dating, I was able to put myself in a much better position emotionally and mentally in every aspect of my life.
Join some apps – It’s 2019 and the dating game is almost completely online. Which isn’t bad at all. It not only gives you access to people within your location that you would never have gotten the chance to connect with without the use of technology, it also gives you the option to take things slower which may help increase your confidence.
Depending on what you are looking for, Bumble, Hinge, OkCupid, and Coffee Meets Bagel are all great apps to start with. I suggest doing your own research into the type of dating apps out there to see what fits with what you need or want out of your next hookup or relationship.
Go out on dates – At one point or another you are going to actually have to meet up with the people that you match with on the dating apps. This part is scary and can often be a source of anxiety for people that are starting to open themselves up to the possibility of a new relationship and connection.
When I was ready to date again, going out on dates was terrifying. I got so much anxiety and I always found myself being extremely critical of my dates – finding some tiny flaw that was immediately a deal breaker.
I suggest going out on small dates. Get a cup of coffee or ice cream, walk around a park, or get a drink. Start with something that you can easily leave. Don’t commit to a whole meal on the first date. You might find yourself wanting to get out of the meet up before the waiter even brings over the drinks!
Another useful tip about starting to date again is to go out with different people. See what’s out there. Find yourself again and don’t be afraid to go out on a date with someone that isn’t necessarily your type. Focus on forming a new connection with people and don’t put too much pressure on yourself or on them.
Plus, if you have a horrible date, you’ll gain a great story.
Breathe – Take a second and breathe. This is a new chapter of your life and dating again after breaking up with someone you love is never easy. Give yourself time to adjust and realize that healing isn’t linear.
There will be some days where you really miss your ex and there will be other days that you feel empowered and great in your own skin. The point is that you keep trying and you’ll start to feel the latter more and more.
So breath, remind yourself that it’s ok to feel overwhelmed and a little scared to open yourself up and date someone new, and love every second of this new chapter.
Don’t forget to focus on self-care when you start dating again. It can be a large life transition so it’s important to take some time for yourself in the process.
Forgive Yourself – Not a single person in the world is perfect. You will make mistakes, you will feel overwhelmed, and you might feel like kicking yourself for not being able to ‘be normal and move on’.
Remind yourself that you are on a journey to heal and be the happiest you can be in your life. Your past is just that: your past. That doesn’t need more of your attention; your future needs it more.
Forgive yourself, only make new mistakes, be imperfect, be you, move forward, and do everything you can to find happiness in the situations that surround you.