Dating after a breakup, especially a divorce, can feel almost as stressful as the breakup itself. The end of a relationship can make you feel insecure and cause you to rethink everything you’ve ever known about love and dating, including your ability to be in a new relationship. Factor in the tricky parts of navigating dating after a breakup, and you might be wondering if you’re actually cut out for love again.
“Don’t beat yourself up so much [after a breakup],” says Mario Singelmann of Get Game Group Dating Coaching for Men and Women. “It’s par for the course and part of the game of love. You’re supposed to learn from your failures, about yourself and others. It’s all in preparation for your future success that (even though you don’t like to admit it) required you to fail as part of your preparation.”
Of course, no one likes to fail, especially at love. Which is why it’s important to know what you can do to help make your next relationship a success. If you’re ready to start dating again, we reached out to a panel of experts on the key things to keep in mind to increase your chances for a new relationship.
Take your time getting back in the dating game
While eagerness and excitement are encouraged, dating coach Treva Brandon Scharf says it’s important to take it slow and steady.
“Dating will always be there, so take your time,” she says. “You can’t take enough time to heal, process, reflect, and build your strength up again. Use the time wisely to think about what went wrong in your past relationship, what your part was, and how you can do it better next time.”
Scharf adds that meditating, therapy, exercise, and other self-care methods can help you to increase your self-confidence and self-worth before you dip your toe in the dating pool.
“It’s a numbers game,” she says. “You might hit it out of the ballpark on date one, or you might be in the game for a while. Have patience, a thick skin and roll with it.”
Learn from the past and do things differently
“If you re-enter the dating pool with the same perspective, skill set, and approach, you’re going to repeat the same results,” Singelmann says. “Would you expect a better job after leaving your previous job, but without improving your experience, competence, or skill set?”
Probably not. This is why he recommends identifying ways you want to do things differently.
“Ask yourself: What about you do you want to alter?” he says. “What about your pursuits would you alter? Would you change who you would consider dating? Are your relationship ambitions the same, or have they evolved?”
Taking the time to reflect on what you want and how you can change and learn from the past will set you up for future success in the dating world.
Always be yourself
Often in dating we try to cater to a certain image that we might deem more attractive and desirable to others in lieu of being true to ourselves. However, if you’re looking for a successful new relationship, Derek Lee, the CEO/co-founder of Boo, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality-based dating app, says it’s important to be your authentic self right off the bat.
“There are compatible personalities out there who are looking for exactly the kind of person you are, warts and all,” he says. “We are all naturally predisposed to certain personality characteristics depending on our own personalities. But you’re not going to give off the right signals that you may be that right person unless you be yourself.”
Believe you’re worth knowing and not only will others believe the same, but you’ll also attract the ones who are worth knowing for you.
Ask the right questions
While knowing your date’s favorite color and hobbies are important to know, when it comes to finding a successful relationship, you want to ensure you’re asking deep and insightful questions that will speak more to your long-term compatibility.
“You should ask your partner the hard questions in the very beginning. What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses they aren’t showing yet?” Lee says. “For compatible personalities, their strengths will have been just what you’ve been looking for, and their weaknesses are also tolerable in light of their strengths.”
Lee also recommends asking about what a potential partner values in life, learning about your MBTI types and considering whether there are some things about them that you consider a deal breaker.
“Many relationships start off unaware of each other’s personalities and values, only to be disappointed months or years into a failed relationship,” he says.
Scharf, for her part, suggests understanding your attachment style and discovering how it will mesh with a potential partner.
“Ask your potential partner about their attachment style. Discuss their love language, how you both like to communicate, and what your needs are.”
By discovering these important elements, you’ll increase your chances of finding a relationship that works for both parties.
Give yourself permission to fail
While you might not want to hear about failure, in dating, it’s a must to become familiar with it. “It’s normal to be in a rebuilding or ‘construction’ phase post-breakup. Post breakup, the odds of you striking gold on your next relationship are slim,” Singelmann says. “Reduce and remove your outcome-based expectations (finding next relationship), and replace them with process-based expectations, like saying ‘yes’ more, going out on more dates, and expanding your dating criteria.”
Ironically, Singelmann says, the more you embrace the ‘practice’ element of returning to the dating scene, “The sooner you leave it, and return to the relationship scene!”
Ultimately, you deserve to be happy and find love again.
“Everyone deserves someone who will understand, appreciate, and respect them for who they naturally are,” Lee says. “There are people out there who will be more compatible, sharing your values and ways of seeing the world. You just haven’t met them yet.”
But, by following the tips above, you will.