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A Nervous Single’s Guide to Dating After a Long Break

Dating
If you haven’t dated in a long time, getting back into circulation can seem overwhelming. Maybe you’ve been in a long-term relationship that recently ended, or you’ve been single and busy with other priorities. Either way, you’re bound to wonder if things have changed while you’ve been away, and whether you’ll be able to adapt.

Like most obstacles to romance, feeling a bit rusty can be overcome if you’re willing to make an effort.

Try these tips for reviving your love life.

Things to Do Before You Start Dating:

1. Consider your priorities. As long as your expectations are constructive and realistic, it’s beneficial to have a checklist for the qualities you’re looking for in someone to date. Focus on the traits that matter, like kindness and integrity. Remember that money or good looks may not last or guarantee happiness.

2. Drop the baggage. Let go of your past. Setting aside resentments and disappointments will allow you to move on.

3. Get a makeover. Maybe you’re happy with your appearance or maybe you’re concerned that you’ve been neglecting your grooming a little. While inner beauty matters most, a flattering haircut or a new and more up-to-date pair of specs could boost your confidence.

4. Tell your friends. Let your friends know that you’re ready to mingle. You’ll need their support, and they may even want to introduce you to someone.

5. Enjoy being single. You need to be happy and fulfilled on your own in order to contribute to a relationship. Continue learning and growing while you’re searching for romance.

Things to Do Once You Start Dating:

1. Pursue your interests. One of the most effective ways to meet compatible singles is to go the places that you enjoy. That way, you’ll have at least one shared passion with those you meet. Attend community theatre or join a hiking group - whatever floats your boat.

2. Go online. Dating sites have been mainstream for years now. Perhaps you’ll find someone you have chemistry with or you may just gain valuable practice. Stay safe, though!

3. Pace yourself. You might be tempted to make up for lost time and rush into a relationship too soon. Give yourself time to get to know each other.

4. Communicate openly. Be honest about who you are and what your ideal relationship looks like. Resolve conflicts with respect, and search for common ground on issues like the number of times to call each other daily.

5. Listen closely. Pay attention to your date. Show them that you’re interested in what they have to say. Make eye contact and ask relevant questions. Follow up on something they’ve said to help develop a connection.

6. Be flexible. There are many advantages to being single, but you can wind up so set in your ways that it’s difficult to accommodate another person. Before you wind up in an argument over the correct way to cook a risotto, experiment with breaking out of your comfort zone.

7. Try again. You may need to date for a few months or more before you find someone you want to continue seeing. Enjoy the process and give yourself credit for taking risks.

Changing your relationship status is a major transition in life - especially as we're getting older. Be patient with yourself and have fun meeting other singles. Taking some time out in between romances can be an opportunity to discover what you want and learn how to make smarter decisions.

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