SUCCESSFUL DATING When should you start again?

Splitting up from a long term relationship or marriage can be a difficult and troubled time for both parties. Adjusting to being on your own and not with someone you once loved and cared deeply about is not always easy.

Change can be a terrifying prospect and bring deep anxieties. Whether you are the person leaving the relationship or the one being left, there will be drastic changes for both of you, in terms of home arrangements, children (if any involved) and dealing with the perception of what the outside world will think. Your financial situation may also be drastically affected and the legal side of a split isn’t always straight forward.

You will also find that a lot of your friends are not necessarily there to support you through this difficult time and may feel let down. This is mainly due to not knowing which side to take and therefore, sitting on the fence. People witnessing a split will also realise that it could be them it was happening to, which will make them feel uncomfortable. You may also become a ‘threat’ in their eyes and the fact you are now alone will affect the socialising balance.

Adding to the mix that you will still need to perform well in your job as well as dealing with your own feelings of loss and loneliness, it is easy to see why some people become desperate for company and try to recreate what they have lost. This gives them reassurance of their own worth, as they want to feel special and loved again.

Dating too quickly however will not serve you in any way. Whilst it may seem obvious, it is essential to acknowledge that you will never recreate what you have lost. The realisation of this often leaves people with a feeling of dissatisfaction, pain and general greater sense of mourning.

It is equally important to take your time to deal with emotional baggage. Dismissing why it ended rapidly or just blaming the other party will create future unhelpful behaviours and patterns. A split doesn’t normally happen overnight and there will be many reasons why it happened. These are seeded over weeks, months and sometimes years so you must take the time to reflect and look at the relationship as a whole. Changes in communication, outside influences, routine all have an impact. Learning about what could have been handled differently will help you so the behaviour is not reproduced.

The dating process can be emotionally draining so you will need to be well prepared and therefore give yourself the time to mourn and grieve. It is often underestimated how much energy you will need to throw at it and how disheartening it can be. If you are already feeling low because of the loss of the relationship, it could contribute to making you feel worse and probably affect your own sense of worth and self-esteem. To counteract the loneliness, it would be better to expand your social circle with new single friends who will understand what you are going through as well as be more available for activities and/ or support.

The best time to start dating is when you are actually feeling ready, not just because you want to be with someone and the company or security you feel they will provide. You should feel happy in your own skin, as a single person and only looking for a partner to enhance your life, not to fill a void. Only once you have reached that stage and dealt with the loss will you indeed be ready to get back out there.