Do: Consider why you want to date again
Before you get back in the dating game, you need to honestly ask yourself what you want in your new relationship. Moving on might be difficult especially if you had been married for a while. Call it baggage or being used to a particular type of life – whatever the case, it’s time to re-evaluate what you want.
“I often advise clients who have gone through a divorce to take a step back and reassess their priorities,” says Violet Lim, CEO and Co-Founder of the Lunch Actually Group. “A lot of times, in a relationship, we end up being moulded into someone more suitable for our partners, which may not necessarily be our authentic selves. So a break-up is actually a good opportunity to see what’s important to you, which may put you on the right path to your next relationship.”
The key here, Violet explains, is that, ultimately, being in a relationship is not about making yourself complete. Instead, you need to be complete by yourself first before getting into a relationship.
Do: Be open to possibilities
If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t dismiss the idea of others joining in your search for a partner and, especially if you’re feeling down, don’t go through this journey alone.
“There’s no shame in asking for support. If you’re feeling frustrated, scared or just stuck, seek support from friends and family and ask for a shoulder to lean on,” says Anisa Hassan, Founder & CEO of Joompa, an online dating service for Muslim singles in Southeast Asia. She was also formerly the Managing Director of It’s Just Lunch Asia. “And when you’re presented with the possibilities to meet new people, be sure to take that bull by the horns and don’t ever over think or over futurise the outcome. After all, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!”
Do: Be confident
Aside from empowering you, confidence in itself is a very sexy trait and it’ll pique the interest of more men, therefore widening your dating pool.
Jean Shashi, a psychotherapist and director at Relationship Matters, has the following advice: “Attend to your self-confidence. A self-confident woman can be very attractive. It can also help to maintain a good relationship in the future.
“Surrounding yourself with encouraging people will be helpful for rebuilding self-esteem,” she adds. “Consistently affirming yourself of your strengths and acknowledging your good efforts and intentions can also be helpful.”
Don't: Get into rebound relationships
One mistake women make after a break-up is finding a replacement for their ex and settling for the next available man. Don’t panic; there’s no need to rush into anything so try to stay calm.
“A lot of divorced women express anxiety and fear about dating again, especially in their late 30s, 40s or 50s; they may have subscribed to the notion that they have passed their prime,” says Anisa.
“As such, they give off the impression that they have no time to waste and would want to settle down quickly with the next person who shows some interest in them. When men feel your anxiety, they will head for the opposite direction in double quick time.”
Don't: Think about the past
You’re trying to plan a future with a new partner, so why hold on to the past? Not getting over the breakdown of your marriage could be the biggest hurdle to you moving on. Violet reveals that, sometimes, you may not even realise how your past is stopping you from finding someone new, even though you think you’re over it.
“Stop comparing and truly let go of the past. That means, stop thinking about your past, stop talking about it and stop comparing your past with someone new,” says Violet. “Accept that, to start new, you must be ready to turn over the leaf and give any new person a fair chance. Don’t let your past experiences cloud your judgment.”
Anisa adds: “Going on dates again is all about fresh starts. So don’t be dragging your past into your present.”
Don't: Get too intense
When you do get a date, don’t feel like you need to rush to get to know him and assess his potential as a partner immediately. Violet suggests to keep the conversation light and talk about your common interests and hobbies, your passion in life, or swap travel tales. But stay clear from discussing topics such as politics, religion and sex.
“Also, always show your most positive side on your first date. No one wants to go out with someone who’s negative and always complaining about everything and anything,” Violet advises. “Ultimately, dates are supposed to be fun. Do not put too much pressure on yourself, thinking that this has to lead to something serious right away. Think of it as meeting and getting to know a new friend.”