Start Dating Again: Your Guide, Gay Men & Womenby Tammy Shaklee, Relationship Expert and H4M FounderJuly 15, 2022
When is the right time to get out there again, so to speak? Have you gone through a breakup? A divorce? Lost a longtime love? Taken a break during the pandemic? Let work override your priorities in finding the right person for you? Or even done the self-proclaimed, "I'm not really dating right now?"
The answer is now. Just because your more intentioned search begins now, it does not mean you will meet your special someone today or even this week. You still have time to work on yourself. And believe it or not, your search can happen at the same time as self-improvement.
I was not the best version of myself when I started my search to find true love again. I was flawed. We all are. But I wanted to meet the partner who would love me just as I am, flaws and all. And I did.
After a long relationship, it can be daunting to consider the time-draining demands of an effective and efficient online dating search. I vote that your online search simply supplements your search in real life. I believe it is time to get back out in public, meet new people, and put yourself in a place for human interaction.
Stop ordering in and getting everything delivered. Get out, shop, buy, stay, and enjoy. Stop online shopping and go window shopping. Go have conversations while enjoying your meal at the bar, the community counter, or a table outside where you can smile at other singles doing the same. Guess what, it will more than likely lead to meeting another to share the next meal with.
The first date after a break can be a little nerve-wracking. Not just for you but for them too. What a great ice breaker to admit you were a little nervous preparing to meet up. Singles like singles who can be honest and even laugh at themselves.
From all my one-on-one focus group interviews, singles consistently agreed on these basic rules for having a first date with a real potential long-term partner:
A first date should ideally be no more than two hours.
A first date should mean no more than two drinks (for those who drink).
A first date should be lighthearted, with fun or delightful topics, and have a balance of asking and sharing information.
Ideally, you should walk away wanting to know more about them. That is what leads to a great second date, picking up where you left off.
I love to coach all singles to initiate the proposal of a second date by suggesting a day, time, or event, like meeting for some live music or a great walk or hike.
Please know in my encouragement to get back out there, I am not proposing perfection. Especially after the last two years, dating and getting to know someone new should be fun. Good humans need to meet other good humans, so keep an open mind, open heart, and optimism, knowing that your special someone is searching for you too. I promise. I do this for a living. You simply haven't met yet. That's all.
Anthropologists that I follow say it can take up to four good dates to see if a person could potentially be in your future. So give a good person a second chance at that first impression, as they are giving you one as well. Be open to having a second casual date with everyone you meet. With time, you will again feel more comfortable and confident in dating. And that, my friend, will eventually lead you to your special someone.
Life is richer when you share it with someone else. So get off the virtual browsing and get out in public again. Make eye contact, smile, and engage in a passing greeting with other singles. Chances are they are in the same boat, and that's exactly the type of person you want to befriend. You can love again.