When you’re part of a long-term couple you never think about the dreaded “B” word; BREAK-UP.
But with one out of five relationships ending within two years, the safety we find in being a couple is tenuous at best. At some point any one of us can find ourselves thrust, unwillingly, into the “dating game.” For many of us, the idea of making ourselves "available" in the dating pool is daunting if not downright terrifying. Again? I've got to go through the whole round of meeting someone new again?! Oh God!
What do you do when you're no longer part of a couple? What happens when “we” reverts back to “me?” After you get over the sadness or anger of a break-up, after you've done the necessary period of feeling hurt called "never again", when you feel like it's time you got "back-in-the-saddle" (no pun intended), what's the best thing you can do to prepare for that venture into dating again? How can you gear yourself up for the slightly uncomfortable but highly necessary act of putting yourself on display, with appropriate window dressing, yet once again and enter the dating game?
First of all look at the whole package you present as yourself. Are you the same person you were before the last relationship? Emotionally and mentally you have changed. You’ve matured, lived some, and have a better idea of who you are. That makes you a better, and hopefully wiser, human being.
What about physically? Have you kept your self attractive? Do you like what you see in the mirror or is it time for a change? Sometimes being in a relationship, especially a long-term one, has made us a bit careless in the looks area. You may need a change, even a small one. A new hairstyle, new make-up and clothes can make you feel and look good. If you feel good about you, what you present to others will show in the confident way you handle yourself. It shouldn't end with just some surface changes. Don't forget that a good exercise and nutritional program can also do wonders for attitude and a glowing appearance. Healthy is attractive.
Are you contemplating a bigger change in your looks? A documentary aired a few years ago mentioned that more single women, and an increasing number of single men, were seeking the services of cosmetic surgeons than ever before. They were eager to re-enter the dating game looking as good as they possibly could. Whatever you decide about making changes, just be sure to be reasonable and not do something drastic. Start with small changes; they may be all you need.
Check your mental attitude. Are you still bitter and angry over the break-up? If you are, begin making “attitude adjustments” that will help you put that part of your life in an area that won’t impact your present and future. Learn from the relationship, take away some good memories, and then let it go. It’s called the past for a reason.
Be true to yourself. Ask yourself if you’re really ready to start dating again. Rushing into a relationship simply to avoid being alone is not beneficial to anyone and will likely end in disaster. Now is a good time to think about what you want out of a new relationship. Be completely honest about this. Decide what you want a new person to bring to the relationship table and what you are willing to bring. Be a little selfish and be determined to create a partnership that includes your own needs and wants as well as those of someone else. Know yourself and respect your own ideas and judgments. Don’t sacrifice what you truly want just to be part of a “we” again.
When you’re ready to begin meeting people, decide the best place for you to socialize. Make a list of your interests so you’ll find like-minded people. Explore new places and new interests too.
You don't have to stick with what you know; be a bit bold and daring. Never skied? You might want to try it. Interested in snorkeling or scuba? Take a class. You never know who you may meet.
Friends are great but you may want to avoid the same-old, same-old group you've been with before. Take friends' advice, meet new prospects they may recommend, but make sure you're the only one to make the final decision on a new date. Your friend's buddy may be a "great guy" but he may not be great for you.
All in all the "dating game" doesn't have to be horrible; just remember to please yourself and to have fun. It's your life! Get back out there and go live it.
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Like this article? Check out these other fantastic pieces from twoday magazine:
Why He Won't Commit to a Serious Relationship by Kristen Houghton
Try an Interdependent Relationship in 2012 by Kristen Houghton
© 2012 Kristen Houghton all rights reserved
Houghton is the author of the following top-selling books: No Woman Diets Alone - There's Always a Man Behind Her Eating a Doughnut available on Kindle, Nook, and all e-book venues.
And Then I'll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First available in both paperbook and e-book venues.