The current dating scene can seem like a bit of a nightmare – especially if you’ve been out of the game for a while. Andrea Bain, The Goods‘ resident relationship expert, reminded us that it’s actually supposed to be fun if you’re doing it right. She often gets asked relationship questions from viewers at home. And with her new book Single Girl Problems ready to hit shelves early next year, she knows a thing or two about dating. This time she was sent a letter from a divorcee looking to get out there.
I’m 44 years old and have been divorced for five years. I want to start dating again but have no idea where to begin. It feels like things have changed so much over the years. Help?
Signed, Nervous Divorcee
First of all, if you’re the only one out of your group of friend’s that’s divorced, you might feel extremely alone. It might be tough, but you definitely aren’t the only one going through this difficult time. And whether you’re recently divorced or just looking to get back to dating again, you can use your past dating experiences to benefit you going forward and really help you to find the person you’re looking for because by now, you probably know what you need and what you don’t want. Here are Andrea’s top 5 tips to help you re-enter the dating scene with confidence.
Love your own company
Before you even think about dating or getting married again, you have to fall back in love with yourself. The old adage is true: you can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself first. Maybe you had a terrible divorce or breakup. You need to take the time to get back to yourself and find out who you are. Treat yourself the way you’d like your future mate to treat you. For example, if you want someone to talk to you positively but you’re always putting yourself down, stop the cycle of negative self-talk. If you want someone to look stylish and stay fit, start with yourself first and take yourself shopping and to the gym.
The confidence you’ll gain from treating yourself well is something that people around you will pick up on. Have fun being alone, go to the park, and be comfortable in your own skin before you take the plunge and start dating again. If you love yourself, no one can shake you.
Prepare yourself mentally
Remember that dating should be a fun, rewarding experience regardless of the outcome. Get rid of the negative talk and think positively. Going in with the wrong mentality can ruin a potentially great date. And even if the date does go south, you can learn a lot about dating with each person that you date. Remember to always keep a positive attitude, let your confidence and charm shine through, and always be classy and gracious. It’s just a date. No one is near the altar yet, so relax!
Be open minded about the person you’re selecting to date, and don’t have any expectations. The more expectations you set, the more easily you will become disappointed. Not everyone is going to be a winner, but if it doesn’t work out, you can always become friends. And who knows? Maybe they have friends that they can introduce you to.
Open your mouth
Get in the habit of talking to people. If you were married, you might have pushed away every man who approached you in the past. But now that you’re single it’s time to get chatty. Be open to talking to everyone. Say good morning to people – it doesn’t have to be a huge discussion. Even if it doesn’t directly land you a date, getting used to being social with people will serve you well when that special someone does come along. You’ll be able to handle the interaction in a more relaxed way because of your previous experience chatting with strangers. This is a great way to open up your network of people, and a form of social exercise.
Maybe your social life used to revolve around your spouse, or you’re used to pursuing activities with them that kept you both busy. Now that you’re single and ready to mingle, put yourself out there and sign up for a class or try something new. You never know who you will meet, and if you don’t end up meeting anyone, at least you learned something! The whole experience is about opening yourself up to the world, which will make you more attractive to others who want to get the most out of life.
Have your morning coffee at a local coffee shop. If you’re out and about, your chances of meeting someone are about 100% better than you’d have sitting at home in your fuzzy slippers. Try singles events. Invest your time and money in a singles cruise or weekend getaway. If nothing else, you’ll get a vacation out of the deal and probably make a friend. And if real-life interactions make you clam up, don’t knock online dating until you’ve tried it. The dearth of success stories might be irritating to hear about, but it could just as easily happen to you, if you put yourself out there.
Use your network of friends
Think about your network: your job, your gym, your volunteer center. You might not be besties with these friends, but they have access to a completely different social circle of potential dates. Ask everyone you know. On average we all know about 250 other people. One or two of them are going to know someone else who is single and looking. Just ask and you may be very pleasantly surprised.