When we launched our new dating service OnlyDating we were determined to surround it with “solid” advice. One of the questions all of us single parents ask is “Am I ready to start dating again”?
Here, Jackie Walker offers us her informed perspective on this question. Like all our guest bloggers, Jackie brings with her writing that unique blend of real-life experience and a caring mindset. I’m not afraid to say that many men are a bit hopeless when it comes to talking about matters of the heart – but Jackie has a way with words! It is our real pleasure to hand over to her…
Most folk who read OnlyDads and OnlyMums are single, or in the process of becoming so. That’s the physical part, and a part which should never be underestimated in its importance to the job of dating. Bizarrely though, it’s the easy bit, yes I know, it can drag on and on, and it can cost a fortune, and it can be twistier than a twisty thing but, in truth, becoming single (divorced) is a legal factual process made challenging because of the other part … the emotional part.
This is where the real question of are you ready to date comes in. Are you emotionally stable enough to start a new relationship? Your body may want one. Your mind may want one. Your heart may want a vacant space filled. These are far from the best reasons to start dating again unless you have your body, mind and heart singing from the same tune and without any fear or neediness attached.
What I’m definitely NOT saying is don’t go out with other people and have fun or even sex, but I am saying, make sure that you know what you’re doing and why.
It can be so easy to fall in love when you’re feeling lonely, empty and unloved. It can be so easy to meet someone who is feeling exactly the same and you start to fill those gaps for one another before realising that’s all you have going. Have you done that yet? I know I did.
It can be equally easy to pretend that relationships are a thing of the past. The fear of commitment determining that the time for love has gone. The last relationship will remain the last relationship, there’s no way they’re going to put themselves on the firing line again to be gunned down and lose any vestige of self-respect to someone who chooses to take it with them. And gosh have I spoken to plenty of those.
So the big question really is, how will you know you’re ready? Here are a couple of ideas for you to test out :
You want one but don’t need one
You’re already happy, fulfilled and have a great life. You could take or leave a committed relationship without it impacting on everything else but are very happy to give it your heart and soul.
You’ve started to put down the TV control
Now that you’re no longer afraid you’ll have to watch a programme you don’t want to, you’ve begun to relax and learn how to share things again. It’s a bit like teaching a toddler at playgroup how to play with their friends 😉 As adults the tv control can be one of those areas which determines just how easy we find it to communicate and find options. Television is in colour these days not black and white, so too are the ways we can approach different needs and wants.
You know what you want
When you know what you want from a relationship, it’s much less likely that you will settle for anything less, although obviously a degree of flexibility is always necessary. Changing your mindset from ‘anyone will do’ to someone more specific is a huge step.