Starting over after a divorce or breakup can be hard. Where do you go and what do you do? Men and women lose at least half of their social network when they get divorced. Their relationships with relatives, in-laws, neighbors, work colleagues, and spousal friends all shift and change. It takes determination to get out there and date. How do you start over?
* Take care of your heart.
You are vulnerable at this time. Quiet, reflective, or reading time is good. Hiking, fishing, gym time, art activities, team sports, cycling, cooking, counseling, classes, and self work is good. Spending time with close friends and family is good. Brooding, worrying, and obsessing on negative thoughts is not good.
*Plan your weekends.
When you are home alone, spend some time planning where you will go on the weekends. Weekends alone can be real downers if you are recently separated or divorced. Call a cousin, or your mother, father, sister, brother, uncles, aunts, nieces or nephews. You have people in your life you can take places with you who will not look like a date, no matter what gender they are.
*Find your forgotten talents.
Think about what you have always wanted to do or used to do but put it down long ago. Take the action steps to get involved in those activities again. Did you used to play tennis, ride horses, paint, sing, tap dance, travel, or play an instrument? Have you always wanted to act, design clothes, weave, grow a garden, swim, or fix clocks? No matter how bizarre it may sound to your friends, find what you have always loved to do or longed to discover and get busy. Instead of dwelling on what went wrong with your life, start looking at what you have going for you. You can build a new and wonderful life.
*Attend some social events.
It may feel awkward, but getting out to meet new people in “safe” settings like church, weddings, reunions, funerals, gatherings at friend’s houses, meetings, conventions, conferences, and classes will give you energy. Stay as unattached as possible to the outcome. Consider your evenings out as an exploration into the possible.
Before you go to any function, visualize how you would like your time there to be. See yourself as being friendly and confident, meeting interesting people. Before you fall asleep at night, picture how you would like your day and week to be. See yourself as calm, happy, productive, and loved by those around you.
Whenever you get out, remember to smile and make eye contact with people. Ask questions, listen to the answers, and start conversations. Reach out. This is how you begin to build the foundation for dating and starting over.