It’s Tuesday afternoon and you’re a ball of nerves as you walk into your favorite coffee shop. This is your first date since you got out of a toxic relationship.
How do you know if you’re ready to get back into the dating game? Experts offer tips on how to approach dates that can help you get used to dating again.
1. Don’t compare yourself to your ex
When you start dating again after a long relationship, it is natural to be interested in learning more about your partner’s past relationships. But it can quickly become toxic when those questions turn into obsessions and comparisons.
Every person has their own unique experiences in life and relationships. It is impossible to compare yourself to someone without knowing the context of their life and the specifics of their situation.
When you start dating again, it is important to focus on your new experience and what you bring to the table. This will help you avoid putting yourself in a position where you are judging your current partner based on what you perceive to be their shortcomings compared to what you had with your ex.
2. Don’t be afraid to be honest
The most important thing to remember is that you should always be honest in a relationship. This is especially true if you want to know your new partner well. Keeping it real can save both you and your partner from heartache down the road.
It is also important to be honest about your expectations in a relationship. This will help to prevent you from getting into a situation that you may not be ready for. Having a clear understanding of your expectations will make it easier to say no when needed and protect you from future hurt.
In a study of teenage girls, three-quarters of the participants said that honesty was a central characteristic in a healthy relationship. Being honest can help you build trust in a relationship, which will bring you closer together. Trying to hide things or play games of “mind-reading” can be confusing for both you and your partner. It is best to be upfront about your feelings and what you need from a partner right away.
3. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable
Vulnerability is a powerful ingredient for creating willing alignment between people who wish to get their true desires and needs fulfilled. It can be scary to expose yourself and open your heart, but it is an essential part of a healthy relationship.
Being vulnerable in a new relationship can be hard, especially if you have been burned in the past. Women who have been cheated on, lied to, or even abused often build a Scarlett O’Hara fortress around their hearts because they are afraid to be vulnerable and risk getting hurt again.
However, it is important to remember that vulnerability doesn’t mean being weak. Rather, it is a sign of strength and courage to wear your heart on your sleeve. It is a necessary aspect of human connection and can be a good way to help you heal after a painful breakup. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it gets easier with time. You can also practice by identifying your feelings, and finding ways to express them, such as through writing or therapy.
4. Don’t be afraid to be yourself
The last thing you want is to hide your true self from potential dates. This can come across as insecure or even toxic, so it’s important to be yourself. If you’re not sure what that means, ask your single friends for tips. They can offer valuable insight and help you determine what types of men or women you may want to date.
Kort also dispelled a few longstanding dating adages, saying that there’s no need to wait a specific amount of time before re-downloading Tinder. However, she does advise to start slow and take it easy—especially if you’re feeling rusty.
Remember that the unhealthy relationship you walked away from taught you priceless life lessons, and that those lessons can now help you be a better person in the dating world. So, if you’re ready to get back into the game, just remember to be yourself and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. You never know what kind of magic might happen!