Getting Back in the Dating Game

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Getting back in the game is never an easy task, especially after you've been hurt- and the same goes for the dating game. 

So when the stalking of your ex’s Facebook stops, when the bitter love songs are no longer the most played on your iPod and you're no longer having to hide your phone from calling your ex when you're drinking- it all means you’re ready for one thing: to finally start dating again.

Dating is not easy for anyone, especially after being in a serious relationship and finding someone new can be terrifying. 

But along with the scary feeling of having to search for a new love, comes the excitement of a new crush. That feeling you get when you first meet someone and something inside you just clicks, that smile you get when you get a text or call from the person you like or that thrill of a first date, these are all the things that make dating something to look forward to.

“College is the time where you learn how to have relationships,” said Lisa Shield, a professional relationship coach and author of upcoming self-help book, Naked Dating.

Here are a few steps Shield suggests to take when starting to date again:

Take a Look Back and Assess

“Look at the things that didn’t work: was I too needy? Am I chasing somebody who doesn’t want to be with me? Why do I want to be with somebody who doesn’t see me as a great?” said Field. When you are able to pin point what went wrong in your last relationship, you are able to begin the process of moving on.  

Cut off all Communication with Your Ex

“You have to cut off contact. If you keep trying to go back and talking to the person, it’s not going to work,” said Field. “The quicker you do that, the quicker you can start dating again.

Have a Game Plan

As with everything in life, it’s best to set a plan for yourself. Blindly throwing yourself back into dating can be messy. Set goals and be prepared. 

Get Outside Help

“It helps to have some outside input. You need someone to help you look at what went wrong the relationship,” said Field.

Outside help, however, doesn’t mean turning to your family and friends. “Seek a professional, read a book or go see a university counselors,” said Field. “Why would you not get help?”

Get Yourself Out There

“See your friends. Take a cooking class,” said Field. “It’s hard but people should get out and start dating again.”

With these few steps, dating again should be a little bit easier. But Shield suggests that people be careful NOT to do these things:

Sit at Home and Sulk

A broken heart is painful, and while it seems like your world is crashing down on you, you have to know things are going to get better. Feeling sorry for yourself will only magnify the situation and hurt you even more. “I would give people maybe six weeks,” said Field. You don’t have to completely be okay in six weeks, but six weeks is good enough time to wallow in your sorrow and begin the process of moving on.

Alyssa Johnson, Virginia Tech sophomore said, "After a breakup I like to dress up,  just go out with my girls and forget about what happened for awhile. It's better than just moping around at home alone." 

Hook Up With as Many People as Possible

It’s easy to think that just because you’re now single, you can go on a hooking up frenzy. But in reality, you’re only going to end up doing more damage. “Don’t just think you’re going to jump into bed with another person. That is not the goal. It’s not the answer,” said Field. “Just hooking up with someone is not a solution to a failed relationship.”

"After my breakup with my girlfriend, my friends all kept trying to hook me up with all these different girls," said Arizona State junior Brandon Falkin. "I just didnt think that was right, and definitely was not going to help me get over the breakup."

In other words, the way to get over someone is NOT to get under someone else.

Turn Your Friends and Family into Your Therapists

Naturally, the first people you turn to after a break up are your loved ones. But do so with caution. “You cannot use your friends and family as a crutch,” said Field. “They will get tired and exhausted.”

Friends and family will also give their opinions on how to date, but their advise may not always be the best to listen to. “They don’t have the expertise to advise you in this situation,” said Field. “All they can tell you is what they know. They’re unbiased.”

Go Out on Dates and Talk About Your Ex

When you finally score a date with someone new, why would you ruin it by bringing up the past? No one wants to date someone with extra baggage. No further explanation necessary. This is just wrong.

At the end, it’s going to take time. Don’t expect to get over your ex the minute you meet someone new. Follow your heart, but definitely use your head, and everything will work out.

Sophomore > Print Journalism > University of Southern California

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