Relationships are complicated, but for some people, dating can be far more nerve-racking. And it really does make a lot of sense because it imposes so many questions. How to start dating, where to look for a potential partner, how to ask them out, how to tell if they’re into you, and so on.
Whether you’re trying to figure out dating for the first time or finding a way to get back in the game after a breakup or a divorce, this guide will provide you with the basic steps you need to take to up your dating life.
Tips for Dating for the First Time
Dating for the first time is a huge step. As exciting as it is, it’s also challenging and exasperating because you’re treading onto new, unknown territory.
#1 Think About What You Want in a Relationship
Since you’ve never dated, you first need to figure out what you’re looking for in a partner and in a relationship. It’s crucial to stay true to yourself and not overromanticize things. Think about what traits you appreciate in others, which ideals and values you uphold, and about the compromises you’d be willing to make.
#2 Learn to Value Yourself
Recognize your own value. As someone who’s never been in a relationship, you’ve probably never thought about what you as an individual can offer your partner. If you’re struggling with this, you can always ask your friends what they appreciate about you and why they like you, and then make a list.
#3 Coming to Terms With the Possibility of Rejection
An essential part of dating is also learning how to accept rejection. It’s not easy, and it may hurt you, but you have to understand that it’s not always about you. Other people go through their own processes in life. They might simply not be ready for a new relationship or are just looking for some other qualities in a partner.
#4 Socializing More
The final step is getting out there. Engage in new activities, go out and socialize more. If you’re an app person, you could also give online dating a try. The online dating scene has bloomed and is constantly becoming more inclusive. It provides platforms for all kinds of preferences, from sites for sugar daddies to BDSM dating sites.
#5 Am I Ready for a Relationship?
There are certain telltale signs that you’re ready to enter into a healthy relationship with a person you like. The first one is that you feel ready for it.
This may sound very obvious, but it’s a step a lot of people skip before starting to date. Take as much time as you need and think about where you are in life and why you want to start dating. If you start dating because you feel lonely or because most of your friends are doing it, you could find yourself entering unhealthy or even abusive relationships with people you don’t truly like.
How to Start Dating Again
Mustering up the courage to start dating again after a breakup, divorce, or a loved one’s passing is perhaps even harder than dating for the first time. Emotional pain, bad experiences, and trauma that sometimes come with it form baggage we might bring into our next relationship. If you identify with what’s just been said, you need to bear a few things in mind.
1. Don’t Try to Rush Your Healing Process
Many people start wondering how to get back in the game while still trying to get over an ex. It’s completely okay to feel sad and maybe a bit nostalgic about what you previously had. However, if you still find yourself thinking often about your ex or have lots of unresolved emotions, you should definitely wait before starting dating. You’re not ready for a commitment to a new person.
2. Keep It Real and Don’t Compare
If you skipped the healing phase and rushed yourself back into dating, you might find yourself believing your ex is one of the things to talk about on a first date. This is a big no, of course.
Refrain from comparing dates to your ex in any way. This unhealthy habit will completely hinder your chances to ever find someone, and will even tempt you to treat your dates as if they were your ex.
Furthermore, think about the things you’re looking for in a potential partner but keep it real. Don’t set unrealistic expectations and set the bar too high for a potential new boyfriend/girlfriend to pass.
3. Find New Hobbies Before Getting Back Into Dating
Though you are focusing on your love life, don’t neglect other aspects of your life. Don’t get stuck in the loop created by dating apps—go out with friends, travel, and try new things. Doing this will make you more fulfilled, which is bound to have a positive effect on your romantic life as well.
If you’re not sure what to do, you can ask your friends about their hobbies, or even try something you’ve always wanted to but never found the time or courage to do. This leap of faith could bring you new friends, skills, and possibly a partner too.
4. Be Yourself
Once you start dating after a breakup or divorce, you may start pretending to like or dislike some things because of your previous partner’s preferences. Obviously, this will put you on a fast track to ruin it all. Instead, just relax. Don’t deny your date a chance to really get to know you, or yourself the right to feel comfortable in your own skin.
Though it surely can be very stressful, dating is an amazing process where you’re getting to meet someone, experience new things, and build a relationship that might end up lasting a lifetime. So, if you’re wondering how to start dating, we hope we’ve managed to help you with our honest advice. Now get out there, and good luck!
How long does it take to get over someone?
There’s no one right answer to this. It depends on you, your previous relationship, and how you’ve dealt with your breakup. This is why it’s crucial not to rush getting back to dating before you’re truly ready. You might end up hurting yourself—or someone else.
How to start dating if you’ve never done it before?
Before making the first step, think about the things you’re looking for in a relationship and how much you can invest in it. Also, keep working on your confidence because it’s going to help you enormously, not just in dating, but generally speaking.
If you’re ready, but can’t seem to find the right person, try being more open about it. Tell your close friends about your problem; they look out for your best interest and therefore they might introduce you to new people.
How to start dating again?
The transition from the end of a relationship to the beginning of another meaningful one doesn’t happen just like that. Firstly, if you’re finding it difficult or overwhelming to deal with your breakup, consider seeing a therapist if you can’t seem to do it on your own.
Remember that you need to be completely comfortable with the decision of dating somebody new. Forcing yourself into a new commitment can only bring harm and simply can’t be the start of a healthy new relationship.
Once you hit that “it’s time” moment, make yourself available and approachable. Socialize, visit various social events, or try online dating to meet new people.
What are the stages of dating?
There are four basic stages relationships go through. Their length and dynamics vary from couple to couple.
Stage one is the initial attraction. It could be love at first sight (if you believe in such a thing) or simply noticing someone at a party. In this stage, individuals determine if there’s enough mutual interest and attraction for them to start seeing each other.
Stage two typically lasts around four months and is characterized by infatuation and curiosity. We’ve just started dating and we’re getting to know the other person, while also trying to impress them. Infatuation leads us to disregarding the red flags and treat them as minor issues. At the end of this stage, couples have to decide where their relationship is headed.
Then comes stage three—a serious relationship. Both people relax as their infatuation turns into more stable emotions such as love and trust. Since people slowly stop “displaying the best version of themselves” and differences become more obvious, this is when most relationships end.
Stage four is establishing a long-term commitment or engagement. At this point, couples have a stable emotional connection and a functional dynamic which prompts addressing matters such as family, children, and a joint future.
What to talk about on a first date?
Being yourself is the best (and the most frequent) advice when it comes to first dates. Still, sometimes you’ll find yourself feeling too anxious or excited and will get lost for words.
To avoid lulls or weather-related small talk, prepare a couple of topics beforehand—music, movies, or popular culture will all do the trick and keep the conversation going. Also, avoid talking about your ex, talking too much about yourself, or anything overly intimate for that matter.
Figuring out the dos and don’ts is one of the most important things to remember in learning how to start dating, and these don’ts could certainly kill the romantic vibe.