I was talking to my friend E who just got out of a relationship that lasted 11 years and amongst her fears was the fact that she was in her early twenties when she left the dating pool and now that she was back again in her thirties, the rules had changed. She now had to compete with younger women for attention while wrapping her head around the fact that Instagram and Snapchat had changed the game not to mention the added disadvantage that her dating skills were now rusty and outdated!
Her story isn’t unusual. It doesn’t matter how many years you spent in the dating pool before you left or how good or sexy you were before you left. It also doesn’t matter whether you are coming from a broken relationship, marriage or a personal hiatus from dating, all that really matters at this point is that you are wondering if you can ever compete with the teeming number of sexy, 100 yards of wife material floating in the dating pool waiting to be caught by the very few good fishermen left!
Here are 10 ways to ease your passage back to singleville and the world of dating!
1. Forget everything you knew about dating before you got with your ex
Not that you even remember the specifics but trust me the OS you used to captivate your ex is now outdated and like sharks to blood the men in the dating pool in 2017 can smell fresh meat a mile away.
2. Don’t go in with baggage
My friend P who is a confirmed ‘Igbo demon’ 😁 says that women with baggage are the easiest prey. If you still feel vulnerable then you’d be especially gullible and the next man who seems to care may steal your heart when all he wants is the cookie! Give yourself time to heal first. There’s no hurry.
3. Get your self confidence back
Leaving a long term relationship comes with its own insecurities amidst the hurt. You may not feel or look your best, don’t patch things up and slap a huge band-aid over your injured self esteem just because you want to get back into the dating pool. Give it time. Once you are able to look at yourself in the mirror again and smile confidently, you are ready to date again.
4. Don’t date because you are looking for a replacement
If you are only looking for someone to fill the hole your ex left behind or someone to make your ex feel jealous then you don’t have closure yet. Now may not be the right time to date someone else because you risk hurting that person and yourself since you are obviously not ready.
5. Get on social media
There’s work to be done on social media. First you have to either sanitize your account by deleting all the pics of you and your ex or you get a new account altogether. Social media has become the proverbial bar to pick up guys and it’s supposed to be a reflection of your best self. Take some cute pictures and be social and soon enough some guy would slide into your DM.
6. Get a wingman
This is essential for surviving the dating pool! Get a female friend who is single and who is still actively dating and ride shot gun with her. Let her show you the ropes, the faux-pas, the types of guys to avoid and what to look out for in a man. Learn from her experiences and ask questions. You’d be surprised how rusty you are (don’t forget to take notes 😉).
7. Don’t be too eager
When you finally get a man interested, you may be very tempted to jump from ‘I like you’ to ‘let’s get married’ because you want to skip the unnecessary part and get back to your interrupted happily ever after (same story, different guy). This freaks guys the hell out. They don’t want a girl who is all over them or mothering them or making them husbands after the third date cos they interpret it as desperation and too much too soon makes you end up with yet another guy leaving you in the lurch. Take it slow, do some shakara and don’t act like he is saving you by being with you.
8. Don’t jump to conclusions
Don’t be too fast to stereotype your new man and toss him into a box labelled ‘men like your ex’ just because your heart isn’t ready to start trusting again. If you don’t understand his behaviour or motives seek clarification or ask a trusted third party for a second opinion.
9. Don’t lose your individuality in the quest to reinvent yourself
The women dominating the dating pool mostly belong to a particular stereotype. Thick, Brazilian hair wearing, flawless light skin, make up on fleek and ready to twerk like a pro not to mention scoring major points in the kinky sex department! Truly it’s hard to compete and though you may be tempted to reinvent yourself to at least be able to compete with their perceived perfection, you need to not lose yourself in it because you want the man who eventually falls for you to fall for the real you and not the filters. To thine own self be true.
10. Don’t sit around waiting for your life to pick up
Get a job, start a business, join a gym, start a diet, get a life coach or do some traveling. A woman who is sitting around doing nothing after she leaves a relationship is wallowing in misery and allowing life to pass her by and the men see it as she not having any thing to bring to the table other than her pretty face and body. Men want more than that and nothing is as sexy as a woman who is in control of her life.
If you can’t date the version of you that you see in the mirror, no one else can!