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Dating Again: Advice On Getting Back In The Game After Some Time Away

You’ll rarely meet a person in a relationship who misses what is often euphemistically referred to as the “cut and thrust” of the dating game. One of the joys of finding that special someone is that you have just one person you need to please – or two, counting yourself – and you have the rest of your life to learn all about them. But through one way or another, long-term relationships, even marriages, can end – and once you’ve dealt with the heartache of divorce, separation or bereavement, the question arises of whether you want to share your life with someone else – and if so, how to go about it.

In some ways, getting back out there isn’t as fraught as it was first time around – now you know you can find someone, and you don’t have the same irrational fears. In another, it’s definitely tricky, like a professional athlete coming out of retirement. You know the game has moved on in your absence, and you will have to negotiate those changes as you go. Also, you’ll need to reckon with the relationship you’ve just come out of. Below, we look into how you can deal with a return to the dating game after you’ve been out of it for a while.

Get to know yourself and try new things

With the end of a relationship, the urge to rebound can be strong, almost in order to show yourself you can still be loved. But after a long-term relationship has ended, the person you most need to get acquainted with is yourself – you’ve been thinking as a “we” for so long, and you’re now a “me”. Were there things you wanted to do while in that relationship, like travel or take up a sport, and you didn’t because it didn’t fit? Well, now you can do it. Did you rush into a relationship with someone of the opposite sex because of societal expectation, and regret it? Then for sure, you can trial chat lines for gays, but you might want to introduce yourself to clubs and groups to deal with your realization, too. You have the freedom now.

Think privately about what you’d have changed about your prior relationship

If you’ve been through a breakup, it’s the most natural thing in the world to want something different when you start dating again. This is a conversation you need to have with yourself before you get back out there. It’s a cliche, but you do not want to find yourself on a date with someone and start talking about how much of a let-down your ex was. For sure, you can think deep down about how you want someone more reliable, more spontaneous or less judgemental, and seek that out in a new partner, but do not trash your ex in front of that partner. Nothing makes you seem less like you’re over an ex than endlessly talking about them.

Don’t get hung up like before

TV, music and movies are great at portraying the “clouds parting, angels singing” element of a new love, and terrible at showing the “why haven’t they texted right back, oh no, have they decided I’m no good” paranoia that often accompanies the above. Your first big love, when it’s on track, is so good, but getting it on track in the early days is easier said than done. The key thing is, you’ll get there, and if you don’t it won’t be because you’re not capable. So do yourself a favor and be a bit more chill about those early days this time around – you’ll enjoy it a lot more, you’ll present the best version of yourself, and you won’t rush into a bad decision through fear.


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