Dating Again: When is it time to get 'back on the horse'?

By Leah Sheppard

Dating Again: When is it time to get 'back on the horse'?

You may have come to a point in your recovery where you feel that you can start getting back out there and ‘on the horse’ so to speak. You are over the worst of the pain from breaking up with your ex, and really feel like you’re ready to meet someone new. It is an exciting time, and full of hope and promise.

Dating again is an opportunity to revisit that romantic future you had imagined for yourself again, but it will probably also will be your biggest test since the breakup. It’s the first time you will think about how a new person will fit into your life going forward; but it is also the first time you will see what things you haven’t quite sorted out in your mind since you broke up with your ex.

There are so many variables and things we worry about with dating in general, let alone after we break up with someone we truly thought we would spend the rest of our lives with: Were all the bad things my ex said about me true? What if I’m not sexy enough, or pretty enough, or adventurous enough? What if I put my trust in this person, and believe in a life together…then they end up leaving me just like my ex did? Trust is a very real issue when it comes to any situation where we could get hurt (again), and however nice a potential new partner is, there is always doubt in the back of our minds.

So here we are left with a problem: I want to be with someone, but I don’t want to get hurt. Let’s just deal to some of those worries right now:

  1. No, all the bad things your ex said about you are not true. The opinion of one person is not the gospel on which you should base your life. Run your life how you see fit, with love and respect for others and the best person for you will fit right in.
  2. Being ‘sexy’, ‘pretty’ or ‘adventurous’ is again a matter of perspective. B Your. Self. There is no future or happiness in a relationship that does not allow you to be, and which does not celebrate, that who you truly are. Often these words are used by others in an effort to get you to change for something they lack in their own lives, so if they can’t see it, then get going.
  3. You cannot control the feelings or desires of another, in the same way that no one should control yours. Yes you may fall for them, and yes they may change their mind; but that’s ok, just as it is ok for you to do the same. Manage your expectations of another human being and understand that it is NOT a reflection on you, but a simple preference on their behalf.

Often we try to fit in to what others want, or constantly worry that they’ll leave if we’re not ‘up to scratch’, but in all seriousness it really doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t work out with this one, there will be another - always. Be yourself in every aspect of your life, and the right one for you will come along eventually. We are in a time and place in which our choices are our own, and our ability to have social, economic, and political opportunities are not dependent on who we marry. In other words, if the one you wanted no longer wants you, let them go; Your world will carry on regardless.

If at this stage you are unsure about dating again, but still want to get out there, join a Meetup group (www.meetup.com). Meetup is a website where you can find literally thousands of different groups for singles that don’t have the pressure of a dating situation. There is anything from cocktail party meetups to biking, wine tours and movie groups, and even ones like ‘All My Friends are in Couples & I’m Single’; like literally, that’s what it’s called. Seriously, I highly recommend meetups as a low-key, no-pressure way of meeting people and getting back out there. If you happen to meet some hottie, then go get it girl; if not, you’ve made some new friends and had a great time out.

Don’t worry so much about whether it works out or not with whomever you go on a date with. Just relax into it and enjoy some quality time out getting to know a new person. Remember, you got through a breakup up before and you can damn well do it again. Life is full of risk and adversity, but it makes the reward that much more special.

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