#204 - When it's time to start over, where do you begin?

Over the past few weeks I’ve met several of you that have told me you’re just getting back into the dating world again. Some of you have said it makes you nervous, overwhelmed, and you don’t know where to start.

I’ve written about starting over a couple of times, but I think it’s time to talk about it again so let’s start with the basics.

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Take time to heal and learn from your past.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is after a marriage (or long-term relationship) ends, they try to jump into the dating world to soon. It makes no difference whether you’re divorced or widowed, it takes time to heal and recover.

Men are a little more likely to jump back into the world of dating to quickly, but a lot of women do it too. I know. I jumped back into dating life almost immediately after my divorce. The road was rocky and a lot tougher than I thought it would be.

Does this mean you should go out on a date at all for a while? Not necessarily. If you’re not carrying a lot of bitterness, anger, or a broken heart, by all means feel free to date casually. Just don’t look to jump back into a relationship right away.

It’s not healthy for you and not healthy for your new mate. Besides, rebound relationships rarely last. They may feel good for a short time, but in the end only cause more pain.

Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.
This is another big mistake. Most people I talk to can tell me exactly what they don’t want, but only have a vague idea about what they do want.

Call it the Law of Attraction. Studies constantly show that we get what we focus on. Anecdotally, I’ve seen it proven time and again by people that have gone through my courses and through one-on-one conversations.

The cure is to create your “Must Have” list. These are the traits of characteristics that you want in your next relationship. These traits must be in writing, non-negotiable, and written in a positive format. For example:

  • Must be physically and mentally healthy
  • Must be outgoing
  • Must have personal goals
  • Must enjoy sharing time in the kitchen

These are just examples to get you to think. Make sure your list is written down and keep it close to you at all times. As you date, you will add to your list.

After a great date, you’ll also be able to step back from the infatuation and raging hormones and see if he or she meets everything on your list.

And don’t be afraid to share your list after a couple of dates. This can go a long way in keeping you out of the wrong relationships.

For more information on creating your “Must Have” list, check out my book Dating Backward.

Where do you look for a great guy?
The first place to start is with your “Must Have” list. Look at the characteristics you’re looking for. Where would be some great places to find someone like that?

Be social! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard God will bring the right man to me. Unless you’re out and socializing your only options are the mailman, UPS man or someone breaking into your home!

Get out of the house! You can’t be found if you’re home sitting on the couch. Go to social events, meetup groups, sporting events, museums, take adult college night classes or anything else you can think of where people will be.

Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere, anytime. If you’re shy, make an effort to move out of your comfort zone. Each time you do, it will get easier and easier.

Online dating is an option to be considered. Online dating is a tool and nothing more. It allows you to meet people you wouldn’t normally run into in your daily life. Just be smart about it.

If someone online contacts you and says they’re a missionary working overseas, work on an oil rig offshore, or starts asking you for money, block them right away. They are usually scammers.

Learn to make friends and be a friend.
Statistics still show that over 40% of marriages start as friends. That means you have to get out and expand your circle of friendships. Ladies, find new girlfriends to do things with. You’ll meet new men through them. Men, the same can apply to you as well.

Simply expanding your circle of friends greatly increases your odds of finding the right on, your soul mate, your extraordinary relationship.

You never know when one of these friendships will lead to your last first kiss.

To learn more about what to look for in a great relationship please check out my blog #220 – The 8 Key Elements of an Extraordinary Relationship.

To learn more about what to avoid, request a copy of The 5 Biggest Dating and Relationship Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. It’s free!