Unless you're one of the lucky few, dating after a break up can make you feel vulnerable in a way that you haven't felt for years.
Until recently, you've enjoyed the stability of being in a romantic partnership. Now you're experiencing the ambiguity of not knowing when, where or if you'll meet someone worthwhile. One of your goals should be discovering how to be comfortable both being single and dating again.
The good news is that you're presumably wiser than before. You've probably learned from your past relationship. You've got a fairly good idea about what worked well and what went wrong. You've probably thought about what you want––and what you won't tolerate––in your next relationship. It's likely that you're determined to do things differently in order to avoid repeating past mistakes.
How to start dating again
If you're like most people in your situation, you may wonder how you fit in to the dating scene now that you're older. You may want to know how to date more efficiently so that you're not wasting your time in the wrong places with the wrong people.
This is what you need to know to lay the groundwork for effective and fun dating that is likely to lead to a great, lasting relationship.
1. You are definitely not too old to find love. You're just older than you were last time. Like you, single people in your age range tend to have the wisdom of experience. Men are more interested in a woman's personality. Women are less prone to drama. Many people are still attracted to youthful energy, passion and optimism, which can be displayed at any age.
People of all ages date, fall in love and get into long term, committed relationships and marriages. Wanting to be loved is a primal, human desire and it doesn't go away as we age.
2. Be friendly and outgoing towards everyone. Single people are everywhere and you're more likely to find them when you're fostering connections and friendships.
Use technology to your advantage. Research effective ways to online date and learn how to best use the sites that you are on. Remember that no one was born knowing how to meet people by using online dating sites.
3. Dating behaviors have changed a great deal over the years, so forgive mistakes and misunderstandings. Some people have never dated. They met their exes through friends, work or school and got together in a less formal way.
4. Attraction is simply an opportunity to get to know someone better. It is not a sign that the person to whom you're attracted is "The One."
5. You can't tell how things will turn out after just one date. If you think you can, you are telling yourself a story. Continue dating several people until you find someone simpatico who is equally excited about the prospect of forging a relationship. Take time get to know the person who most interests you, as well as several others before committing to one person. Before you agree to be a couple, don't waste your time by committing to someone who only sees you as one of several options.
6. Courtship requires different skills than growing and maintaining a relationship. Don't assume that someone who is a great date will also be a great mate.
7. Dating isn't efficient. It's about getting to know people and discovering whether you care for each other and if your values, goals and personalities are in alignment. You can't tell if someone is right for the long haul until you've known each other for an extended period of time.
8. Everyone has baggage. It's your job to be accountable for yours. Wait until you've gone out several times before gradually revealing personal details about your life and relationships.
Don't allow your date's baggage to become your problem. You're seeking a potential partner, not a therapy project.
9. Many people date because they are seeking a relationship, but part of dating is discovering if the person you're seeing wants one with you.
10. Some people are dating because they are seeking no-strings-attached companionship. They only want a play-pal or a friend-with-benefits. Most will casually mention it as you're getting acquainted. If you continue to see them after they've told you they aren't interested in a real relationship, they will assume that you are also looking for something casual.
It helps if you see your return to dating as an adventure. You don't know whom you'll meet, but if you adjust and embrace your new situation, it's sure to be entertaining and ultimately rewarding.