When you come out of a relationship one of the scariest things can be putting yourself back out there and start dating again. And if you've been in a relationship for a while - it may be that things have changed quite a bit since you were last on the scene!
Don't worry! I've got your back.
If you've been out of the single's world for a while then today's article is for you.
Because, dating is scary. It just is. It's you, on your own, meeting new people, trying to come across as the best you possible and constantly risking being stood up, humiliated and rejected. Nice.
The reality is that love is a leap of faith and the risk you have to take is of having your heart broken. But, if you've ever been in love, you know that it's a risk so worth taking.
And the worries don't stop there. He could turn out to be a 'crazy'. You could end up wasting your time, he could already have a girlfriend or be seeing loads of other girls at the same time.
These are all possibilities, valid concerns and worries.
But, however worried, concerned or scared you are of that potential rejection, humiliation, awkwardness, millionth date, waste of time - remember, dating is just a process. Like .......doing the spring-cleaning or your taxes......
It's a journey whose final destination will be worth all the potential heartache, time and worry.
So let's look at my top tips for how to date.
1. Know What You Want From Dating
Are you looking for a fling?
Are you after some companionship?
Are you looking for a baby daddy?
Or are you looking for your husband?
Before you begin dating know what it is that you are looking for, before, because it will change the way you approach dating.
For example if you're looking for a fling you may be after someone who rocks your world, you fancy like mad and who is spontaneous, exciting and wild.
If it's a baby daddy - you may be looking for someone very reliable, very loyal, committed and stable.
For a potential husband it may be a little bit of all those things. Importantly you'll need to know that he's on the same page as you for the things that you deem the most important. Does he share your values, your visions and your life goals?
Whatever it is you're looking for, know what you want before starting the dating journey and adapt your search and your style accordingly.
2. Make a Good First Impression
We are biologically programmed to judge people within the first 7 seconds of meeting them. So make sure that you are ready and prepared to make the best of every one of those seconds.
Often on a first date we can be a little closed off and awkward, defensive and desperate not to look 'too keen'. But this can send the wrong message.
Have open body language so that he knows you want to find out more about him. Face towards him, look him in the eyes and be interested in what he's saying. Listen to him, be interested and interesting. Be polite, considerate and charming. Turn off your phone and engage with him.
Put some effort into the way you look. Wear an outfit you feel great in. Wash your hair and paint your nails. Do whatever it is that makes you feel good. Because when you feel good about yourself you'll relax and be yourself. And when you're relaxed and yourself you'll come across as the best you possible. And the best you possible can't fail to make a great first impression.
3. Be Honest
Be Honest to Yourself. If it doesn't feel right, don't see him again. We often think that someone might get better suited to us or more interesting or charismatic on a 2nd, 3rd or 4th date. This rarely happens! So, listen to your intuition and take action on it.
Be Honest to Him. Let him know the sort of relationship you're after. Don't feel pressurized to agree with what he wants. If he tells you he just wants a casual fling and you don't - tell him. Don't go along with it, hoping he'll change his mind when he knows you better and realizes how awesome you are. You'll be setting yourself up for a potential fall.
Alternatively, if you're not really interested in a relationship with him, be clear and upfront about this. It will both save you time and potential upset going forwards.
4. Be Confident
Be sure to come across as the confident, strong woman that you are.
If he feels like you wait around all day pining for him, or that you have no life and no friends, he's going to think twice about a relationship with you. If you have a great life, do fun things, have lovely friends, go out and live - he's going to want to be a part of this amazing world that you've created. You'll come across as the fabulous woman that you are and he will feel less pressure and less needed.
5. Take a Chance
Be selective about who you go on dates with and value yourself, however don't be too selective. If you keep holding out for the 'perfect' man you could be waiting a looong time and miss out on the person who is perfect for you.
Consciously decide to be open to the possibility of being with someone who is different from the people you typically choose.
If you normally go for beer swilling, slightly chauvinistic, rugby player type, try an emotionally connected artist who volunteers at the homeless shelter.
When you consciously choose to break a pattern, you can establish a better relationship with a better, albeit unfamiliar, outcome - i.e the relationship may actually last.
So, in today's exercise I want you to answer the below questions, as openly and honestly as you can:
• What do I want from this dating experience?
• What outfit do I have that I feel great in, that I can wear on my next date?
• Where am I going to look for my next date?
• How am I going to make sure that I am open to a new type of man?
And then take action. Get yourself out there. Join some clubs, arrange a girls night somewhere fun where you may meet some men, sign up to an online dating site.
Enjoy and good luck!
Follow Rebecca Fredericks on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RCCFredericks