Dating Again after a Breakup...
It's got to happen sometime after the big heartbreak - you get the courage up, girlfriends push you forward and you start to date again. But there's so much that can scupper your chances to find romance when still a bit vulnerable and shaky. So it's best to be aware of the six classic post-breakup traps we fall into.
Post-breakup Trap No. 1: You'll show him!
Inside you think the best way to get back at your ex is to show him how quickly you can hook a new boyfriend. Dating for this reason usually backfires. The guy you meet gets mixed signals from you - probably because you drop mentions of your ex into your conversation too much.
How to sort it: If you simply want to get back at your ex then using another man to do so is one of the worst possible ways. In fact it can make you look a bit desperate. And you don't want that! Instead when you cross paths with your ex hold your head high, put on a confident front and just act as if life is a bed of roses.
Post-breakup Trap No. 2: You're so lonely!
You're used to having your ex's arms ‘on tap’ - they could give you cuddles after a bad day, a row with your mum or falling out with your boss. Now the lonely nights seem to stretch on for an eternity. Unfortunately looking for love when you're still feeling bags of loneliness tends to mean you'll take any old guy - even a ‘player’ that's looking for a vulnerable girl like you.
How to sort it: Rely on your friends to see you through the lonely nights. Stay away from one-night-stands that’ll make you even lonelier. Get out and try some new hobbies - take an evening class, join a gym, etc. - and even make more new friends.
Post-breakup Trap No. 3: You're feeling a bit bitter!
Men, eh? Can't trust them, they only want one thing, they're selfish, and so on. If you're breakups left you feeling this bitter then you're likely to put off new guys asking you out. They can sense such negativity a mile away. This makes you even bitterer about guys because none of them are interested in you.
How to sort it: Definitely rationalise such irrational feelings. Even if your ex broke your heart, maybe cheated on you, etc., not all men are like him. When you have such thoughts stop yourself immediately and challenge them. Think of some of the great guys you know - a guy-friend from work, your brother, your cousin, and remind yourself there are good ones out there.
Post-breakup Trap No. 4: Rose coloured spectacles!
Don't get caught up feeling there'll never be another man like your ex. Especially if you're breakup was something that couldn't be helped like he had to move abroad for the most exciting job ever, etc. Putting him on a pedestal and seeing him through rose coloured specs means you don't give that good guy who wants to ask you out a look-in.
How to sort it: Keep even that seemingly perfect ex-boyfriend in perspective. No one is perfect. Remind yourself of the times you argued or when he could be a bit difficult. Getting that perspective will get you ready to date again.
Post-breakup Trap No. 5: Being single is sad!
Some women only get their self worth through the man they have hanging on their arm. They define themselves completely by their relationships. If they're single they believe they must be a bit sad. This'll definitely come across as irrational and probably desperate to the men you're now meeting.
How to sort it: Start relishing all your good points - the things that make you, you. Think about the things your friends appreciate in you. Stop believing that you're only a worthy person if you're part of a couple. Enjoy doing things with your friends and as a single.
Post-breakup Trap No. 6: The ticking clock!
So you're at a certain age where your biological clock isn't only ticking, it's positively banging. You're very aware you need/want to have children in the next few years. This puts you at risk of making a bad choice and taking any man as long as he can give you children.
How to sort it: Date by the ‘rule of three’ - if you like someone after three dates keep seeing them. If you're not that bothered then don't waste your time. Without appearing desperate you do need to keep time on your side. Keep calm and confident and use every opportunity to meet men and keep your dating life active.
An edited version of this article was published on MSN UK Her channel