Written by dating expert and journalist, Emma Draper.

Getting back into the dating game can feel like a leap of faith. It’s hard when you’ve been single for a while, but if you’re a parent who’s been through a messy break-up it might seem even more daunting or too exhausting to even think about!

However, while dating might seem like hard work, it can be fun, rewarding and interesting and most of all help you move on from the past and meet someone who will make you happy. So here are my top tips for getting back out there and giving yourself the best chance of a ‘happily ever after’:

1. Recharge your confidence: If your confidence has taken a knock through your break-up, do things to make you feel good about yourself. Whether it’s splashing out on some new clothes or make-up, or just being with friends whose company you enjoy, take time to rebuild your confidence. If you are at ease with yourself and enjoying life, you will become instantly more attractive.

2. Be sure you’re ready: While your friends and family might be urging you to start dating, only do so when you feel totally ready. Ending any relationship can be very emotional but if it was a particularly messy break-up your judgement may be impaired or your may feel low. It’s wise to give yourself a bit of space to mourn the loss of your old relationship.

3. Feel the fear – and do it anyway: If you’re feeling confident and ready to start dating but still feel completely terrified be assured that these feelings are totally normal. You have probably dealt with something difficult in your last relationship, so start by dipping one toe at a time into the dating scene. Tell your friends you are interested in dating again, accept all the invitations that come your way or sign up to an online dating site and start talking to people – you never know where it might lead. If you can afford to, sign up to a paid site, as the members are likely to be serious about finding a new partner.

4. Make a new list: Think about the kind of guy you want in your life right now. Are you looking for something casual or more serious? Would you like to date a father, so they understand the challenges of dating as a single parent? Do you want someone who has the same aspirations as you? If you know what you want, then when they come along, they will be easier to spot!

5. Avoid negative thinking: If you’ve been through a horrible break-up, it’s easy to think, “All the good men are taken” or “all men are idiots” but this will affect your mood and your chances of getting out there and meeting someone. Force yourself to keep any negative thoughts in check – and you’ll soon get in the habit of thinking optimistically.

6. Don’t let children stop you: It goes without saying that you shouldn’t introduce your children to anyone new unless you are serious about them but don’t let the fear of what your children think stop you from moving on when you feel ready. Lots of women hide behind their children as an excuse not to date but don’t let this be you.

7. Keep an open mind: Try to not compare new people with your ex and don’t rush to make judgements before you’ve given someone some time. Try to approach dating in a light-hearted way – it’s supposed to be fun, so go out with the intention of having a good time. Even the less than perfect dates can teach you about what you want or don’t want. You might come away with funny stories, a new friend, or even someone special in your sites. Good luck!



About the Author
Emma Draper is a London-based journalist and dating expert, working with UK dating site Lovestruck. Her areas of expertise include building successful relationships, online dating and the best dating venues in the UK. For more information about Lovestruck, head to http://www.lovestruck.com


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