Dating is not easy, especially when you’ve taken a significant break from it. What do you do when you decide you’re ready to date again? How do you make your comeback? We have some great advice for you to consider as you are diving back into finding love.
ARE YOU REALLY READY?
First, you have to make sure you are ready to date. Assess your reasons and make sure you are doing it for YOU. Some people feel pressured by outside sources to return to dating or they want to keep up with their friends who might be getting engaged, married, or having children. Never compare the season you are in to anyone else’s season. God made you for a special purpose and He has specially-made blessings just for you.
Another part of being ready is making sure you are available. Make sure your schedule allows for the investment of time it takes to get to know someone. Don’t get so stuck in busyness that you rush about, speed walking, leaving no time for anyone to approach you. Also, put your phone down and take your headphones off. If you want someone to approach you, you have to appear accessible. In addition to being accessible, you also have to be emotionally available. Not only are you getting to know someone else, but you need to allow them to get to know you. If you are having a difficult time letting your guard down, you might want to address some issues from your past before you move into dating again. Once you have made sure that you are ready to date for you, that you are emotionally available, and that you have the time to invest in a relationship, then you are ready to start dating.
Determine your purpose for dating and be ready to communicate that to whomever you go out with. Are you dating just for fun? Are you looking for a long-term relationship? Be authentic about why you want to date and take your time with moving forward. It’s also okay to change your mind if you decide you aren’t quite ready to begin dating again.
TO ONLINE OR NOT TO ONLINE?
Now here’s the doozy: What if you find it hard to meet people that you consider dateable? I am not against online dating now, although I used to be highly against it. Some feel that online dating carries a negative stigma and opens you up to meeting some shady people. Face-to-face interactions do the same. However, online dating provides you the opportunity to meet more people, both good and bad.
Recently, I decided to give online dating a fair try. After a lot of questionable inquiries and a disappointing date, I got frustrated and switched dating sites to one that was a better fit for me. And I did find someone that turned out to be a great match for me. So, I’ve gone from strongly opposing online dating to recommending it to friends. But if you insist that online dating is not for you, there is nothing wrong with that. You will just have to be open to meeting people in other ways.
If you can’t meet someone during your normal life routine…then change up your routine in a way that brings you to new locations and ultimately to new people. If there are no eligible people at your church, your singles’ events, or around your neighborhood, then you need to broaden your horizons and expand your reach. This is also why I am a proponent for online dating.
LET THEM KNOW YOU ARE INTERESTED
Eye contact and a friendly smile go a long way to say, “Yes, it’s alright for you to talk to me.” If you are the one that chooses to initiate contact, remember to be authentic and respectful. Whomever you present at the beginning of the interaction is who they will expect to see in the relationship. It’s generally acceptable to greet a stranger and ask them how they are doing. If a person is quick to give a short answer and move on, they might not be interested. However, if they are friendly enough to engage you in conversation, you have a chance to pique their interest.
ADJUSTING YOUR CRITERIA
We often rule out a lot of qualified people because we have a laundry list of criteria to make up our “perfect person.” But sometimes, what we want is not always what we need. And sometimes, the perfect person for us comes in an unexpected package.
WHILE DATING SOMEONE
Leave the typical dating rules behind. Take the time and make the effort to get to know the person you are with. Create your own rules that work for the two of you. Don’t look for the one-size-fits-all remedy or guideline. Keep in mind that you are not dating your exes. Give your new love interest a clean slate and accept them for who they are, not who you have dated in the past.
Keep your good habits, even when you add another person to your lifestyle. Many of us use our times of singleness to develop friendships, grow in relationship with God, exercise regularly, or any number of beneficial activities. Don’t stop doing these fruitful things! It is where you are in life that attracts a person so don’t completely give up who you’ve become to focus on dating. Continue to be your best self. That includes taking the time to look nice. We all should do this for ourselves, but once we start dating, it’s just as important to do it for your date too.
Remember to enjoy yourself and enjoy your date. Be forgiving because you will mess up one day too. Stay prayerful and be open to learning someone new and allowing them to learn you.
*This advice was first shared on Covenant Conversations, a monthly radio show that airs every second Wednesday of the month on WRLR 98.3 FM in Chicago. You can also listen online wrlr.fm or by downloading the app.
Denise Johnson is Copy Editor for The Diva Inc. Magazine. Follow her on Instagram.