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After a hiatus, you may be excited to start dating again, but it’s also perfectly normal to experience some “pre-launch” anxiety. Getting back into the dating game can be intimidating, but the rewards make it worth it.
Here are 5 tips to get you started:
You may want something entirely different now than you did at another time in your life — that’s OK, too. Don’t allow other people to dictate what they think is best for you.
You may want to date causally, increase your social circle, or just have someone to do things with on the weekend. You may be looking for a committed relationship or even marriage. Going into dating with clarity about what you want allows you to match your interests more closely with those you choose to date. Plus, it tends to make things less complicated.
It’s almost unthinkable not to include online dating as part of your re-boot strategy. Not only can you meet people you would never meet in real life, but you can also use dating sites and apps to help you look for a date in your sweats or pajamas.
People of all ages are finding success online, especially on popular and trusted sites like Match.com, Zoosk, and OurTime. If you’re looking for a well-rounded online dating experience overall, Match would be our #1 choice. As for our other favorites, Zoosk is great for a more casual dating setting, and OurTime is great if you want to use a senior-specific site.
For even more choices, check out our top picks as well as full reviews of each:
Also, don’t overlook the tried-and-true method of meeting someone through family, friends, or other social channels. If you’ve been out of the dating scene for some time, they might not even know you are ready and willing to date again. Many people love to play matchmaker, so share your desires with others. Ask them if they know anyone to introduce you to or set you up with.
It’s easy to do the same things day after day, week after week. If you feel like you never meet anyone new, look for ways to vary your daily activities. You’ll soon be seeing new faces and meeting new people. This requires some effort and creativity, but the pay-off could be big.
Consider joining a health club, visiting the local farmers market, attending business, cultural or community events, or taking a cooking class. You could even try something bolder like starting your own meet-up group or going on a singles cruise. Make eye contact, smile, and talk to people you meet.
Add some variety in your life every week, if not on a daily basis.
It’s good to have a plan. Many people believe opportunities are just supposed to magically happen without any effort. While you do hear of people meeting under what seem to be serendipitous circumstances, more often than not the two people involved have put themselves in situations where they can meet someone new.
Being intentional about dating is entirely different from being desperate. If you have that restless voice inside saying “I’ve got to find someone right now or I will die,” it will come across in your interactions and will be a turn-off. However, being intentional about meeting new people is actually very empowering. You’re not just sitting around hoping something good will happen — you’re putting yourself out there and making something happen.
Through it all, develop and maintain your sense of humor. There is a tendency to overanalyze things in the early stages of dating — lighten up if you can.
If you are overly focused on the outcome of any one date or encounter, it can sap the fun, spontaneity, and joy out of the experience. You have to allow sufficient time to get to know someone and see if a connection develops.
Be present in the moment and realize that even if someone doesn’t turn out to be your love match, you can still enjoy yourself. Physical attraction and chemistry are important, but almost everyone you meet will have some quality you can appreciate. Think of each first date as an opportunity to meet someone new and to increase your confidence.
It’s alright to start out slowly and gradually pick up speed as you re-enter the dating scene, but don’t wait too long to get started. Love, dating, and romance can be some of life’s most enjoyable experiences. Don’t stay on the sidelines — take a chance and get back in the game.