If you’ve spent years flitting from one short-term relationship to another, with a few hookups in between, the scars are not so deep. When you untangle yourself from a long-term relationship, perhaps even a marriage, you’re looking at a longer recovery to heal the wounds.
During your time in a lengthy monogamous relationship, the dating world and culture have been evolving without you. And that’s all fine and dandy, but it may have you feeling tentative and anxious about jumping back in when you are ready to date.
How to Start Dating After a Long-Term Relationship
Here are six tips for getting back in the game.
1. Make sure you are ready to date.
There are a few things to consider before dating after a long-term relationship.
How’s your head? Your heart? Are you still secretly hoping to get back with your ex? Do you still have stuff at your ex’s or vice versa? Do you have divorce proceedings to deal with? Are you just horny and looking to get laid, or do you want something more? Are you willing to be honest about where you are with someone new?
You don’t have to have your head completely sorted out to be dating after a long-term relationship, but you shouldn’t be an emotional wreck either. Be sure to let some time pass to heal, as it’s not fair to bring a ton of baggage into a new relationship.
2. Know what you want.
Everyone’s got baggage—some just weighs a bit more than others. If you’re just interested in casual hookups, you don’t have to worry so much about your baggage, as long as you’re up front and clear to potential dates.
Sometimes you’re not looking for someone for a serious relationship, but it just happens. It’s happened to me, and it can happen to you.
3. Open yourself to online dating.
I still have a lot of friends who haven’t tried online dating. They manage to meet the odd person here and there, but overall it’s slim pickings. Your work dating pool or local bar only have so many possibilities, especially after you’ve been around either long enough.
If you’ve never tried online dating because you were in a relationship for many years, it’s time to sign up. Ask a friend to guide you in the right direction—what apps offer what, what sites most people use where you live, and how to create a winning profile to attract the relationship you are looking for.
Ready to jump in? See our recommendations for the Best Hookup Sites.
4. Broaden your dating prospects.
Online dating will open you up to many many possibilities you weren’t expecting. You can expand your search to meet women from the next town over, or an adjacent state, across the county or world. If you just want to talk to women and brush up on your dating skills before meeting, this is possible in the easiest and safest way possible.
And because your dating pool is so vast, I recommend being open to dating all kinds of women outside your usual type. Most of us have a type we are usually drawn to, but don’t limit yourself when looking for relationships of any kind.
5. Be patient and persistent.
A lot of people try online dating after a long-term relationship, have a few so-so dates, maybe a bad one here or there, and give up. It’s daunting to be sure. My pattern has always been to go on once or twice a year, kick the tires, message back and forth with some folks, then go on a few dates. If nothing panned out, I’d take a break. Even when I swore I’d never go back, I did.(I work from home and don’t hang out in bars or go to school, so the pool is very shallow.)
You don’t have to think online dating is the only place to meet women, but it’s a valuable resource to have. If you’re having a string of bad luck (not connecting online or in person) take a break and enjoy your own company. Live your life and pursue your passions in between dating rounds. Then, go back online when you’re feeling frisky.
Are you just out of a long-term relationship? Do you have a dating plan?