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Getting back to dating after a long-term relationship

If you were in a long term relationship, getting back on the dating scene can be a daunting prospect. It may have been some time since you last went on a date but don’t let this scare you off. Follow the practical advice below and you’ll soon be back into the swing of it.

Enjoy being single

Firstly you should take some time to enjoy being single. After the break-up of a long relationship, it can be almost frightening to be on your own. You’re very used to having someone else there for your emotional, practical and financial needs. However, one of the most liberating things about being single is the empowerment it brings: you realise that you have skills and talents for coping with life that have remained dormant for years and can now resurface. You’ll know when you’re ready to a new relationship when your motivation is a desire to share your life with someone special – as opposed to feeling that you need someone to rescue you.

Look and feel attractive

The break-up of a relationship can be very damaging to our self-esteem, particularly when it comes to feeling attractive and sexy. What’s more, in the security and intimacy of a long-term relationship, looking after our appearance can become a low priority; we may get out of the habit of looking for clothes that really suit us, or of spending time on grooming, because we associate these habits with our younger and (maybe) vainer selves.

However, your appearance is very important when you’re in search of a new partner – and not just because looking your best is a way of getting attention! Both sexes are more attracted to people who take care over their appearance: by showing you care about how you look, you indicate that want to be found attractive.

After the break-up of a relationship you might also find it difficult to contemplate having a physical relationship with someone new. These feelings are natural and usually go away with a bit of time and with the excitement and pleasure of meeting someone new and special.


Friends are really important and can be a great source of strength after a break up. Even when you don’t feel like socialising, don’t hide away. Your friends will support you and getting out with them will lift your spirits. Going out with friends will get you used to not being with your partner without feeling completely alone. Enjoy their company and have fun.

Changes in dating etiquette

Many people who start dating again after a long break, worry that dating rules might have changed since they were last single. To some extent, this is true because of online dating. A few years ago, most people very rarely went on blind dates or met up with somebody new every week! But this is only a difference of procedure. Yes, online dating allows people to get into contact with people they wouldn’t otherwise meet, but after the initial contact, the skills required to form an attachment are the same as they’ve always been.


You might well have to adapt to the fact that your circumstances, or your partner’s, are more complicated than when you were last single. One of the obvious ‘complications’ is children. Of course, whether they are yours, or your new date’s, the children’s interests have to be considered and you have to decide when to tell your date about your kids. Initially you may want to play down your dating as far as your children are concerned. It could be better to wait until a relationship develops beyond a date or two before you involve them.

Maintaining a relationship

People who have long-term relationships are good at relationships. Whatever the reason for the breakdown of your l ast relationship, the chances are that some of the years you spent together were happy ones. This means you already have the skills required to make a relationship work. You already know about compromise and communication and putting your partner’s needs first. Now you just need to find someone who’s really right for you! Hopefully, online dating will help you do just that.

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