Getting back to the dating scene after years in a relationship can feel daunting and stressful.
When you’ve been in a relationship for 7-14-21 years, regardless of who initiated the breakup, being single again can be a bit of a shock.
It means redefining yourself and your entire life without the other person.
It is an opportunity to start again, look after yourself, become the best version of you, and deeply ask yourself “What do I truly want? What is important to ME?”
And when you come to a point where you feel at peace within yourself, excited by all the possibilities life has to offer, you’ll naturally want to share the journey with a partner and maybe start dating again.
But after all these years, where do you even start?
Closing the chapter before opening a new one
Rushing into your next relationship is recipe for disaster.
If you haven’t taken the time to reflect and draw the lessons from your previous relationship, you will most likely attract the same type of partner and relive a different version of the same story.
- What worked?
- What didn’t work?
- What will I do different in my next relationship?
It is not about blaming your ex or beating yourself up for what you did or didn’t do, but evaluating as objectively as possible what happened.
You can then consciously decide what you do want in your next relationship, what kind of person you’d like to meet and what kind of person you want to be in that relationship.
Without such clarity, you might go through a lot of failed experiences and dates until you do know and can focus on what you want.
Getting excited about the process
When it comes to finding a new partner, it is of the utmost importance to not put pressure on yourself or on the process.
It is totally normal to feel a bit nervous, but with an open mind and an open heart, you should feel excited about connecting with new people and getting to know them.
Your first date might not be your soulmate, but stay curious. They might teach you something about yourself, about relationships or lead you to new connections and opportunities.
If you desperately try to force things – by being on all the apps, swiping and texting all the time, going to 3-4 events or dates a week with intention of meeting someone – I invite you to ask yourself “What is the urgency?”
If your life is truly amazing already, what do you expect having a partner will do for you?
Whatever the answer is, it is already putting a lot of pressure on the relationship, before you’ve even met them.
The best way to attract a partner is to relax and live your best life.
Meeting new people
Back in the days, there were maybe no dating apps or social media. People met at social events, through friends, at work…
Nowadays, I often hear “if not through the apps, how do I meet people?”, “dating apps give more options”, “it’s a numbers game”.
And I disagree with all that!
Human beings are wired for human connection. If dating apps can be a useful tool, they are often misused. Hiding behind their screen, people often demonstrate poor behaviour they would never dare entertain in real life.
You only need one person anyway… the right person! By being the right person yourself, you are most likely to hang around the same places and people your ideal partner would spend their time and money in.
Instead of spending endless hours on dating apps and social media, I recommend you work on your bucket list! By doing the things you always dreamt of doing, you will not only feel personally fulfilled, you will radiate positive energy, exude joy and become a magnet. Everyone will want what you’re having!
And by putting yourself in those new environments and trying new things, you will also expand your network, meet new people… and most likely your partner.
Feeling the fear and doing it anyway
Meeting someone organically, through activities or an environment you’re familiar with relieves a lot of the pressure.
But when around someone you really like, you might still feel a bit nervous in their presence.
As Dr Fritz Perls, Psychiatrist & founder of Gestalt Therapy would say “Fear is excitement without the breath.”
Because it is exciting to get to know each other, to discover one another. This is also out of the ordinary, out of your comfort zone.
They might take your breath away and your heart skip a bit, exactly what your brain would qualify as danger. And if you think too much, you might even be able to rationalise why this is not a good idea to pursue this ‘amourette’.
Your brain simply wants to keep you safe. But if you follow your brain rather than your heart, you will never get to experience the romantic life you long for.
Take a deep breath, feel all the feels and enjoy the present moment.
Learning and growing
Each date, whether at the very beginning or in a longer term relationship, are invaluable lessons.
Your partner, and any relationship in your life, are your biggest teachers.
Like a mirror, they bring to your awareness things that you like and things that you don’t like… in them… therefore in you too!
The only reason you are able to identify the qualities or faults in others is because parts of you resonate with them, because you own those traits to some extent.
Knowing this, each date is another opportunity to learn something about the person but first and foremost about yourself. And you then get to choose to embrace or work on those parts you’re not so fond of.
Love is when you like yourself in the presence of the other person.
To sum it up…
It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of time to move on from a long term relationship and get back to the dating scene.
However, it requires commitment to yourself and the willingness to explore and expand who you are and who you want to become.
Without expectation or wanting to force the process, and with curiosity and deep appreciation for every step of the way, you will love your life even more each day and attract new opportunities, and most likely the right partner for you too!