The New Year is coming up fast and a lot of us (myself included) feel that this can be a time of self reflection, growth and ambition. For all of us who have been out of the dating pool for a while, this could be a good time to grasp the opportunity to reevaluate things. There could be a million reasons you haven’t been dating – your career took a priority, self-care, a bad breakup – but there is only one reason to get back in the game, because you’re ready. If you aren’t sure how to get back into dating, or even if you are ready to date again, here are some things to consider.
What are you hoping to achieve?
So you think you might want to start dating again, but why? Take some time to really look deeply at your motivations. Ideally, you want to be in a place in your life where you are comfortable with yourself and your lifestyle, a relationship should be the icing on the cake – not the glue that holds everything together. Try to dig deep and look at yourself honestly, are you lonely or bored? Do you find your social life lacking? These are all things you can and should fix on your own, these problems won’t disappear just because you met someone new.
What are your expectations?
Let’s say you are in a place in your life where you are content, supported and safe. You are either actively looking for a relationship or at least ready to engage in one should the opportunity arise. But who is it that you are looking for? Or perhaps more importantly – who AREN’T you looking for? Having standards and boundaries set when entering a potential relationship is healthy, within reason. A healthy example of a boundary might be if you’ve left an abusive relationship, you may avoid people who have anger issues, or who abuse drugs or alcohol. However an unrealistic expectation would be if you only want to date people of a certain height, specific body type or profession. That doesn’t mean you have to date people you aren’t attracted too – that would be awful advice – it just means be aware of your standards and keep them realistic.
Are you prepared to commit to dating?
Do you have a support system of friends and family available to you? Are you in a good place emotionally? Financially? These are important questions to ask yourself before you get back in the field. If you are in an unsteady place in your life, how can you expect to engage in appropriate, and smart dating practices? If you are planning to use online dating or matchmaking resources, do you have the time and money to commit? Really take the time to look at yourself and be honest. Explore options for getting yourself to where you need to be, seek out support from friends, family, work and counsellors if you aren’t quite there yet. Most importantly – don’t think that dating will fix your life, only you can do that.
After reflecting on these questions I hope you have some clarity moving forward with your dating experience, or with being single. It may seem daunting, but try to remember that this is supposed to be fun too!