It can be confusing when you try to get back into dating after a break. Maybe you're getting over a bad breakup, maybe you realized you're a serial-dater who just had to take some time off. But if you've been away from dating for a while, it's important that you ease back into it, make sure you don't go back to old bad habits, and hopefully learn a lot more this time around.
The first thing to remember is to not do it until you're ready — especially if you're coming off a bad breakup. How long should you wait? "How ever long you need to work through the anger or sadness," Janet Zinn, a New York City–based couples therapist, tells Bustle. "That way, it’s not a rebound or reactionary date scenario. Too often people want to jump into a relationship. If you’re able, it’s better to get through the breakup and learn what you can from the previous relationship, so you’ve grown and learned — and bring that knowledge into a new relationship."
But once you feel ready and sure that you're not just doing something reactionary out of fear, how should you get back into it? Here's what you need to know.
1. Go In With A Positive Attitude
If you decide to download a dating app, you'll probably see people on Tinder who seem to hate everything — they just list 45 things they don't want you to be in their profile. Don't be that person. "Creating a good, positive profile" is key, Stefanie Safran, Chicago's "Introductionista" and founder of Stef and the City, tells Bustle. "Don't put what you don't want — just focus on what you do want."
Keeping a positive attitude, even offline, also helps you not overthink every little thing. Que sera, sera.
2. Remember That Being Picky Isn't A Crime
Be honest with yourself about what's gone wrong in other relationships and how you can avoid that this time— and that's partly down to who you choose to go out with. "Being reasonably picky means you will have droughts," Safran says. But droughts are better than dealing with jerks all the time. So don't go out with people just because they're there, try picking people you actually see something with.
3. Pace Yourself
Don't jump back in with three or four dates a week, even if that was what you were doing before. Try dating often enough that you don't get too nervous before each one, but not enough that it's burning you out. It's supposed to be fun, right? So don't make it stressful and take all of the joy out of it.
4. Ask Meaningful Questions
Want to date smarter? Ask the right questions. “Asking great questions on a date can give you a lot of insight about the person sitting across from you,” Sarah Patt, matchmaker and dating expert tells Bustle. “By the end of the date, you want to be able to know if you connect with the person and whether or not you share similar lifestyles and values. Asking great questions will help determine if this person has what you are looking for in a partner so you can decide if their world is one you want to know more about, or become a part of.”
Getting back into dating can feel awkward — so just take it easy on yourself. Take it as slow as you need to and try to date differently this time around. And remember, being picky isn't a bad thing.