Dating can be intimidating at the best of times, but after a breakup dating is especially intimidating. How do you know when you are ready? How do you know that someone won’t just hurt you again? The short answer is that you don’t. However, by considering the next 10 pieces of advice, you’ll be in good shape to start dating again when you are ready.
1. Don’t get caught up in timing
I do not believe that there is a specific time period that needs to pass before you can date again. There is no wrong amount of time. However, your intentions behind dating should be considered. For instance, you may have a pattern of seeking validations outside of yourself by serial monogamy or dating again while your heart is still broken. In that case, it may be too soon. Others are ready in a couple of weeks because this is not an unhealthy habit for them: they did the processing they needed and are ready.
So get quiet, slow down, and ask yourself why you want to date again before downloading a single app. Dating can remind you that you are lovable and it can also trash your self-esteem. Making sure your intentions are healthy before diving into dating again can help you weather what may come– good and bad.
2. Date yourself
Before you date anyone else, I highly suggest dating yourself.
Although the term may sound vague and cliche to you now, let me explain.
Getting to know yourself without the influence of someone else is vital to your long-term happiness in your next relationship.
You will not find yourself in someone else. You find yourself in solitude. You find yourself when you learn how to tune into your own internal voice.
Think about it this way: When you find out who you truly are without the people-pleasing, the patterning, the conditioning, and the habits of others, you find your essence. When you are truly who you want to be, you attract people who love who you truly are. Don’t you want your next partner to love you for who you really are, and not a collection of traits you accumulated after years of conditioning and people-pleasing?
Shedding the layers to reveal your true self takes time and it takes being alone. It takes trying new things, seeing what you like and what you do not.
Find what makes you happy and get really specific about what it feels like when you’re happy. Defining exactly what that feeling is like in your body when you are doing something you love means that you will be able to tell when you are with someone who gives you that feeling as well.
You will know when you feel comfortable with someone because you know what it feels like to be comfortable by yourself. You will know what it’s like to have your needs met when you can meet them yourself. You will know when you enjoy an activity together when you know what enjoyment feels like alone.
When you know what it feels like to be happy and enjoying the moment, it makes it easy to tell when someone is adding to that feeling or taking away from it.
You are ready when you have self-evaluated and you feel it in your bones; you are ready to date again! Despite the natural nerves that are coming up for you, you feel ready to enjoy meeting new people.
3. Be clear on your wants
Just because you’ve been processing, you feel unattached from your ex and you feel connected to yourself does not mean you have to force yourself to get back out there yet if you do not want to. That said, be aware of why you don’t want to get back out there: if it is out of fear or a lack of self-belief… girl! Let’s work on those things and get you out there!
4. Ask your friends
Especially when you are just getting your “sea legs” back, easing into the dating scene by getting set up by your friends can help ease your nerves. Online dating can be intimidating (if not, great! Dive in!), so a way to ease into dating again can be to get set up on dates.
Another way to include your friends and make use of their outside perspective is to ask your friends what you should do on dates. Sometimes getting an opinion from a third party can cut through the overthinking and show you options that you might not have considered before.
5. Leaving your comfort zone = growth
This is a fake it till you make it situation. Confidence comes from action, not from thinking. The more you put yourself outside of your comfort zone, the more comfortable you’ll become with the butterflies and nerves.
So, do the things that give you the jitters. You’ll soon prove to yourself how brave and powerful you are. Get comfortable in the discomfort and you’ll grow– and not just in dating!
6. Enjoy yourself
So often, my clients take this process too seriously. Thinking that you need to discern whether someone is “The One” ASAP, and disqualify suitors so you don’t “waste your time” puts so much pressure on you.
Whether someone is or is not The One will be revealed; no stress needed. Relax, be in the moment, and enjoy connecting with someone, whether they turn out to be your person or not. Dating should be fun because life is too short to not enjoy every moment.
And if you find it impossible to have fun with someone –NEWS FLASH– that’s not your person. Move on.
7. Rejection happens to everyone
Dating apps: Hinge, Bumble, Tinder… oh my!
To minimize overwhelm, I recommend focusing on one dating app at a time.
Each time you go into the app, stay open but remain detached from the outcome. You are not for everybody, so don’t take it personally if someone does not respond. Some people are on the apps just for a little confidence boost and have no intention of dating. Reframe those micro-rejections like being ghosted by being thankful for someone not wasting your time anymore.
That said, don’t beat yourself up for being invested and being hurt when you get rejected. Rejection stings regardless of how clearly we can see that we shouldn’t care.
Be honest about what you want. Honesty will never scare away the right people. You’ll never convince someone who is only looking for a hookup that you are their soulmate, so don’t try. Conversely, if you are only feeling like hooking up, it is unethical to not be clear about that in your interactions. Clarity and honesty will always come out on top.
There are MILLIONS of people out there. In a room full of people who would love to be with you, don’t focus on the one person who isn’t sure.
8. Release expectations and need for control
This is related to what I said above about enjoying dating without putting so much pressure on those interactions.
When you go into a first date with expectations and the need to control the date, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. The disappointment either comes immediately when the date does not go the way you wanted, or it comes later when inevitably, you realize that your date is not the person you created in your mind through expectations of them.
For this reason, I highly recommend not going deep down the social media rabbit hole before your date. If you do, you feel like you already understand this person and know who they are. Discovering who a person is naturally through your interactions is much more an accurate representation. After all, social media is a highlight reel where people project their very best, or what they perceive others want them to be, and not who they actually are IRL.
Plus, you won’t have to be careful about revealing that you know they went to Mexico five years ago.
9. Wear what you are comfortable in
No stilettos needed! Wearing what you are comfortable in means that you can focus on being fully yourself and enjoying your first-date.
I recommend finding an outfit you know you look amazing in AND you are comfortable in for your first dates. Repeat that outfit (or maybe cycle through a couple of favorite outfits) every time.
Your date is much more likely to see your attitude than your outfit.
Confidence will beat being trendy every time. Plus, your date will see someone who is comfortable in her skin. You will sit up straighter, be more relaxed and more focused on the date and not on adjusting your clothes.
My point is to be yourself. You can show off the less comfortable, super hawt looks when the first date jitters are no longer a factor. If it is your thing to be dressed to the nines, then DO IT. You do you, boo.
10. Focus on whether you like them, not on whether they like you
Listen up, people pleaser! I know you want everyone to like you. I know. But this is your one, beautiful, irreplaceable life, so focus on whether you like your date and not so much on whether they like you.
It’s a fact that whether they like you or not is largely out of your control. However, it is totally in your control to stop spending time with someone you do not actually like that much.
Slow down, get quiet and ask yourself if you actually enjoy spending time with this person or if you want to be wanted, desired and respected by them just because you want everyone to want, desire and respect you.
You are an incredible, unique, loving, special person. As you date, don’t ever forget that. Yes, they will never find anyone better than you. They may find someone better for them than you, but that has no correlation with your value and awesomeness.
I’m here to remind you anytime you need it. If you loved this guide, tag me on Instagram @heartbreakglowup so we can connect!
Want more? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss what you are looking for!
Go get ‘em, tiger!