7 Strategies I Used To Get Confident To Date Again
If you’re recently divorced or have come out of a long term relationship where you constantly felt criticized, undervalued or perhaps even cheated on, the idea of risking yourself ‘out there’ again after a long time, can be a scary idea. Dating again certainly is for many of my clients and personally, was for me eighteen months ago when I re-entered the dating scene after 25 years of marriage. Are hesitating and wondering how you might find the confidence to get started, like I was, I wonder? If you are, here’s some food for thought based on what I did to make dating successful for me.
1. What worked and didn’t work in your past relationship?
Firstly, give some thought to what you liked and didn’t like about your past relationship, and how you did and didn’t get your needs met. Understanding what matters to you will help you to set your boundaries more clearly.
2. What pushes your buttons?
As a psychotherapist, I know that you are subconsciously attracted to partners who hold the same positive qualities and negative traits as your key influencers in early life, who are usually parents. Understanding what pushes your buttons will help you to choose more wisely before you get too involved. Taking things slowly to really get to know your date before you invest emotionally could save you heartbreak further down the line.
3. What will you do differently next time?
Be honest with yourself and take responsibility for the part you played in the breakdown of your past relationship. How might you be a great girlfriend or partner to a man in the future, who was perhaps feeling underwhelmed in his past relationship?
4. Fall in love with yourself again before you start dating.
Self-love is infectious. If you want to receive love from someone else, you must first love and accept yourself unconditionally. Invest in yourself and take care of your hair and beauty, and your health and fitness. Ask close family and friends what they love about you and most importantly, why? Don’t be too quick to dismiss qualities and traits in yourself that you have perhaps got into the habit of overlooking. Others see you as you really are, and this is often different to the self-limiting idea you might hold of yourself. In a long term relationship it’s easy to lose sight of your true identity. You may have grown within yourself phenomenally, yet may have overlooked this, if in the past you shrank to accommodate your ex-partner.
5. Create a compelling life for yourself .
Go do that hobby you always wanted to do but never got around to doing, and create some passion in your life. Accept all social invitations and get used to chatting to more people in general, wherever you may be. What do you love to do that maybe you never had much time to enjoy? Being free from a relationship often creates time you never had before. Exploring and investing in yourself is an amazing use of this time.
5. Pay attention to your self-talk.
Chances are you’ve gotten into the habit of negative self talk, putting yourself down and convincing yourself that no-one will be interested in you. Every time you catch yourself being hard on yourself, be kind instead and say something more supportive and self-loving, such as “ I am good person and I deserve to be loved for who I am.”
6. Emotionally de-clutter.
Commit to surrounding yourself only with people who support you in feeling good about yourself. Focus your energies on friends and colleagues who are pleased for you when good things happen and who are there for you when you are feeling low. Distance yourself from anyone who puts you down, gossips or overloads you with their problems. You’ll feel more optimistic and bouncier, which will boost your self-confidence.
7. Invest time in creating your dating profile.
Give yourself permission to stand out from the crowd by being confident, friendly and approachable. As you write be chatty, and imagine you are talking to your ideal date. Be sure to communicate from your feminine presence and be your natural self. Due to past conflict or leadership at work you may be more in your masculine dominant energy than you realize. Give yourself permission to soften and re-discover the power you hold in your feminine vulnerability. I found it was a good idea to practice building my confidence on a few initial dates I wasn’t too bothered about seeing again. The golden rule for me was always to be prepared to swiftly end contact if it didn’t feel right.
The idea of online dating can seem a minefield at the start. Hopefully my suggestions here will help you to feel more prepared so that you can begin to feel excited to meet someone new. I did and I’m happy again. If I can do it, so can you. What are you waiting for?
Lisa Skeffington is an Anxiety Expert, and provides support to overcome emotional stress, so that you can create a life that works and feel relaxed, happy and confident within yourself. You can find out more about the help she offers at lisaskeffington.com.