Bouncing Back

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is one of life’s most painful personal challenges. Whether you’ve lost your partner to death, divorce or a breakup, you need to allow yourself plenty of time to grieve. But after a healthy dose of therapy, self-help books and episodes of Oprah, you’ll want to start dating again. Here are our top tips for bouncing back after a relationship ends.

Get out
The first step to bouncing back is getting off the couch and out of the house. But the average singles club “meat market” is no place to start. Aim for a girls’ night out or an after-work happy hour, so that you can adjust to being in the social scene without the pressure of being “picked up.”

As you brush up on your conversation skills, pay attention to how often you’re bringing up your ex. While it’s okay to reveal that you’re fresh out of a relationship, don’t let your broken heart dominate the conversation. Be open to meeting new people without having romance on the agenda. In order to be comfortable dating again, you’ve got to get used to being yourself – as a single person – all over again.

Go online
After you’re comfortable interacting socially with other people again, it’s time to try your hand at flirting. Online dating sites and chat rooms can be the perfect way to ease in. The web is exploding with dating sites – so do your homework and find the right site for you. Some sites are geared towards long-term relationships while others are intended to set up casual encounters. Many sites are devoted to certain geographic areas, personal interests or stages in life -you may even be able to find a site aimed at people who have recently lost a partner or gone through a break-up.

Keep in mind that just like in real life, online dating comes with risks and dangers. Be protective of your personal information online – if you agree to meet someone in person, do it in a safe, public place. In addition to your personal safety, take care to protect your heart. It’s not always easy to gauge someone’s intentions over the web, so make sure you’re both on the same page before you turn a flirtation into a relationship.

Go for it!
You’ve gotten used to being single and social. You’ve practiced flirting on the web. Whether you feel excited or terrified, the time is right: you’re ready to date. But dating doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience. When you’ve finally met someone you’re ready to go out with, make it fun! Go on a double with another couple or bring your date along on a group outing with close friends. And when you’re ready to go one-on-one with your date, remember, dinner and a movie isn’t the only option. Take the pressure off by going to a ball game or heading to a carnival.

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