The first and most important thing to do before you start dating again is to learn to love yourself. If you are not happy with yourself you cannot expect someone else to be able to make you happy. Happiness comes from within. If you do not love yourself, ask yourself why and make some changes in your life.
If you have low self-esteem try writing a list of all the things that you know you are good at, list everything (good friend, good parent, good cook, good timekeeper, good organiser, good communicator). Don’t leave anything out. When you have done this ask at least two of your friends to add to the list. You will be surprised at the qualities that other people see in you that you don’t see in yourself. Most important of all – believe it when other people tell you good things about yourself.
Make sure that you spend time identifying what went wrong in your previous relationship. It doesn’t matter who made the decision to leave – both parties need to identify what caused the relationship to fail. Do you have annoying habits? Did you change during the relationship? What qualities will you look for in a new partner? Will they be different? Make sure that you really examine what went wrong in your previous relationship and what you want from a new relationship. It is very easy to repeat the pattern in your next relationship if you have not consciously identified what it was and made an effort to prevent it happening again. Before you embark on a romantic relationship with anyone make sure that you like the person and can be friends with them. If you don’t really like someone it is unlikely that you will stay together.
Think about your values in life and don’t be prepared to compromise them. Have you built up a life where you are happy and have lots of interests? It is important to have done this before you start dating. I firmly believe that both partners in a relationship should have their own interests as well as sharing interests.
There is no doubt that as you become older it is more difficult to meet new people. This is partly because we don’t tend to go out in big groups as we get older. Internet dating is becoming more popular all the time and I know of several people who have formed successful relationships in this manner. The best thing about internet dating is that you can build up a friendship online before you meet in person. However, it is important to remain cautious when meeting in person for the first time. Ensure that you arrange to meet in a public place, that someone knows where you have gone and who you are meeting and that you arrange to call someone when you get home safely.
Another way of meeting people is to join clubs such as dining clubs, reading groups or activity clubs (http://www.spiceuk.com/intro.asp). Alternatively why not take up a new interest? Dancing classes are becoming more popular and are not only a good way of meeting people but also good exercise. A quick internet search for clubs and societies or evening classes in your area will throw up endless opportunities, such as bridge clubs, camera clubs, chess clubs, salsa clubs, history clubs, reading clubs, scrabble clubs, amateur dramatics groups or join in with exercise classes at your local gym. Even if you don’t meet someone you want to be romantically involved with you may well make new friends.
You often meet people when you least expect it. I know of people who have met at bus stops, on trains, at exhibitions and, of course, at work. The good news is that according to recent figures there are 11 million single people out there – you are not alone!
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