If you think relationships are hard (and they are!), what can be even harder is
being newly single. Suddenly, you've gone from spending all your time with someone whom you loved, or at least cared about very deeply, and now they're gone from your life. It doesn't just leave you with lots of time on your hands, but can leave you feeling defeated, as breakups can definitely take a toll on one's self-esteem.
"When you’ve been in
one bad relationship after another, it’s easy to think that the whole thing just isn’t worth your time and energy," New York–based relationship and etiquette expert of Relationship Advice Forum, April Masini, tells Bustle. "But when you break your own pattern of dating the wrong people and choose someone who treats you right, you’ll learn that relationships are worth the time and energy. You just have to be with the right person."
In order to get your confidence back, it's important to dabble in a lot of self-introspection. And, before you start dating again, it's so important to
learn to love yourself again, in case you've forgotten how. Here's how Masini says you can get your dating confidence back and then get back out there.
Examine Your Past Relationship
"Whether you’re the one who got dumped or the one who did the dumping, you need to take stock and figure out ... what worked, what didn’t work, what you want, what you don’t want, and what patterns you are aware of, and which ones you want to break," Masini says.
By knowing what exactly you're looking for, you'll not only feel empowered in your dating life but you'll be more likely to get it, too.
Don't Date Until You're Really Ready
It may be tempting to jump into dating as a distraction to getting over your ex, but it's important to wait until you're really ready for it. "Jumping into dating without considering your recent breakup means you’re going to make mistakes dating again," says Masini. "Hedge against that by taking the time and energy to process your break up before jumping back into dating."
Start By Having Friends Set You Up
For some people,
dating apps can take a toll on self-esteem or feel overwhelming. And if that's the case for you and you're trying to rebuild your confidence, start off with having friends set you up when you first get back into the dating scene.
"Rather than jumping onto Tinder or Bumble or Match or any other number of dating sites and apps — because you’re new (again) to dating, and you may be a little raw — have your friends hand pick people they think would be good dates for you," says Masini.
Rely On Input From Your Friends
Sometimes your friends can see things far clearer than you, so in addition to having them play matchmaker, ask for their advice or let them be your wingperson when you're out.
"Your friends can custom-tailor your dates," says Masini. "In fact, sometimes your friends know better what you need than you do, because you’re too close to the recent breakup."
Work On Rebuilding Your Social Life
"Have parties, invite people to do things outside of your own home, and keep your social life varied," says Masini. "It’s a burden to rely on dates only when you’re trying to get back in the swing of things. What’s easier is to have a series of dinner parties, brunches, hikes with coffee."
Besides, your friendships have — and will — last longer than most
relationships you'll have in life. Because this the case, this is where you want to put your most energy and effort.
Don't Put Too Much Stock In Dating
Even if you think you're ready for a relationship, remember that dating isn't necessarily going to solve everything. It's also important to be fulfilled in other areas before you get into another relationship.
"Don’t just count on dating to get you back in a relationship," says Masini. "Vary your energy and types of social investments for the best returns."
Don't Go For Someone You Want To "Save"
"Some people date
the emotionally unavailable to rescue them," says Masini. “Sometimes you need someone who is ‘damaged’ to make you feel less so. Being able to articulate this reason for dating the emotionally unavailable may make you realize this isn’t really in your best interest.”
As someone who always goes for the
emotionally unavailable people, I can attest to the fact that it helps with giving me the confidence boost I need. I get this boost, because I feel like I'm saving them. But ultimately, it backfires and does even more damage to my self-esteem. This is another way to kick any progress you made to the curb.
As anyone with any experience in life and love will tell you, you can't love someone else until you love yourself first. Part of that self-love is having confidence, and there's no time like fresh out of a relationship to find that confidence you may have lost along the way.