Get Back Out There! Start Dating Again After Being Single Forever

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Figuring out how to start dating after you've been single for a long time can make you feel anxious.

You're probably wondering what's changed in the dating scene since you last went looking for love.

Dating doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. With the right mindset and purposeful action, you can make it fun and effective.

Dating in your 20s is very different from dating in your early 30s, 40s, and beyond.

Back then, you had a much larger social circle and probably spent more time hanging out with friends than you do now. It was easier to make connections, and you had more opportunities to meet other singles.

Now that you’re older and looking to date again, you’ll want to update your dating strategies so that you're not disappointed right out the gate and lose your motivation.

RELATED: 4 Crucial Tips For Dating After Divorce For Your Best Chance At Finding A New, True Love

Here are 11 tips for starting to date again after being single for a long time.

1. Your old dating strategies won't work in the same way.

It’s easy to date when you’re young. You likely had a large social circle, making it easier to meet other singles. 

Dating when you’re young is intuitive and instinctual. If you both find each other attractive, you can quickly get into a relationship. You likely didn’t have too many obligations, like children or a busy career.

Dating after being single for a long time is more complicated. Being older, you're more settled in your ways and less likely to socialize as much. Most people you meet out in the world are married or in a committed relationship.

Your dating strategies have to change to adjust to these differences. Since you don’t have as much free time, you’ll have to be more intentional in your search for love.

2. Your online dating profile is your marketing material.

The majority of people put too much importance on a prospective date’s online profile, while not putting enough attention on their own.

They create a profile like they're donating blood — go in, get it done, and don’t think about it again. They never update it, make changes, or improve it.

Your profile is your marketing material. If it's not getting you the results you want, it's important to make changes to it.

Make sure you have recent photos where you're smiling and looking directly into the camera.

Dress to look your best. Be sure to include a headshot from the shoulders up, as well as a full-body shot.

Regularly update your profile, so that the dating site sees you as an active user and keeps you at the top of recommended matches.

3. Don’t look for your soulmate in a dating profile.

You’re busy. You don’t want to waste time on people who aren’t what you’re looking for. So, avoid making the mistake of deselecting anyone who doesn’t fit the criteria you have in mind.

Stop looking for your soulmate in a profile! Instead, look for someone to have a cup of coffee with.

Sending a wink, a smile, a rose, or swiping right is not a lifelong commitment, so don't agonize over it!

These actions equate to putting them in your online shopping cart before buying. There’s no commitment. Send off a smile or swipe right, and don’t think about them again.

Online dating is a numbers game. The more people you contact and go on dates with, the more chance you have of meeting someone you can create lasting love with.

Plus, every person you meet knows other people you haven't met yet.

4. Don’t get attached before you meet someone.

There are countless stories of people who are scammed by someone they met online. The easiest way to avoid this is to not invest emotionally in someone you’ve never met in person.

Never send money to a stranger is an easy rule to stick to, and it’s just as important that you don’t invest your heart in an acquaintance.

At the very least, you’ll want to meet via video chat before you even allow any thoughts of a possible match to enter your mind.

Letting your imagination get the better of you because you want it to work out will only set you up for disappointment. Nothing is real until you meet in person!

When there's chemistry, it’s easy to get excited when you discover an interesting person.

5. Take your time.

You will get better results if you date slowly, take your time before jumping into a commitment, and get to know someone for several months before exclusivity.

You're worth loving and that means you're also worth the wait.

Many people jump into a commitment ASAP and date for three to nine months before figuring out someone is not an ideal match or the kind of person they had hoped for.

If you keep committing early on, you’ll spend more time in short-term relationships instead of finding the person you can share your life with.

Chemistry was great when you were young, but if you really want to create lasting love, chemistry is only one ingredient in the lasting love pie. Chemistry, alone, won’t sustain a relationship.

Take your time. Discover who someone is and what they value. Don’t rush to exclusivity only to discover that you aren’t on the same page down the road.

6. Have a dating rotation.

Dating multiple people is the way to move through the dating process.

This forces you to take things slowly, meet more potential matches, and continue to not emotionally invest too much in one person before they've proven worthy of your heart.

This also speeds up the process of you reaching the goal of finding an ideal match as well as discover more about yourself.

You can compare your feelings and behavior from one situation to the next, so you can see what's really serving you in your choices and what's an internal block to the lasting love you desire.

RELATED: 5 Deep Questions To Ask Yourself If Dating Feels More Stressful Than Fun

7. Use your dates to discover more about yourself.

Dating is a great way to discover more about yourself, the beliefs you have about love and relationships, and the strategies you’ve developed over the years.

Utilize dating as your own personal-growth workshop. See how you’ve grown since your past relationship experiences and how you've improved your communication skills.

Practice speaking during dates, so there are no risks involved.

You’re probably not even aware of how you're blocking yourself from the love you want.

Learn about your strategies for giving and receiving love while also developing new communication and relationship skills. These skills are the foundation for creating long-lasting love with an ideal partner.

8. Don’t iron out conflicts.

Before you make a commitment to spend your life with someone, you’ll want to know if the two of you can overcome conflict.

Discord is inevitable in intimate relationships. You don’t want to have an unrealistic expectation that you’ll find someone you never argue with.

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You’ll never meet a human being with whom you'll never have any conflict or problems.

Life is full of challenges. Having someone by your side to navigate those challenges together is one of the benefits of being in a relationship. Don’t iron out conflicts because you’re afraid you’ll scare someone away.

Instead, use conflict as a way to learn more about each other. How someone responds to a disagreement tells you a lot about whether or not the two of you can go the distance.

9. Don’t excuse bad behavior.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you are dating after being single for a long time is to ignore red flags when you're really attracted to someone.

Giving the benefit of the doubt to someone you barely know can burn you.

Don’t make excuses for them when they treat a waiter badly or when they criticize you. Someone will tell you who they are by their behavior. Believe them.

You deserve a partner who's willing to take responsibility for their behavior and treats you with kindness and respect.

10. Ask for what you want and share how you feel.

Someone who wants a relationship with you wants to know how to make you happy. Tell them. Don’t expect them to be a mind-reader. Share how you feel — both positively and negatively.

Emotional authenticity is the quickest way to create emotional intimacy.

You may feel a bit rusty because it's been a while, but don’t shy away from speaking up and making requests. You may discover that they'll be more than willing to give you what you desire.

There's always a risk involved in giving your heart to someone, but the rewards are great when you select an ideal mate.

By being your authentic self, you will know that you are loved for who you really are.

11. Choose to be optimistic and kind.

Judgment and cynicism are your biggest enemies to lasting love. Dating after being single for a long time can be scary and the best action you can take is to choose to be optimistic and kind.

Resist the urge to share any mishaps or dating horror stories. Focusing on dates who are flaky, too aggressive, or clearly not who they say they are in their profile will only dampen your enthusiasm.

Beware of becoming judgmental or letting your negative experiences make you cynical. Cynicism and judgment are your biggest blocks to the lasting love you crave.

Keep your heart and mind open and curious. Move on quickly from men who don’t feel safe in any way and forget about them.

Emotional safety is just as important as physical safety, as most people on dating sites are looking for love — just like you.

Put your focus on the positive and instead of expecting the right guy to sweep you off your feet, allow the connection to grow over time.

Love is available to you, no matter how long of a break you take from dating. It’s never too late to meet the love of your life.

Approaching dating purposefully and focusing on your bigger goals will make the journey a joyful one.

RELATED: 9 Signs You’re Ready To Start Dating Again After A Breakup

Orna and Matthew Walters have been soulmate coaches for over a decade and helped thousands of readers create long-lasting love. Download a complimentary copy of their ebook, Recognizing Mr. Right, along with a guided program on self-acceptance from their website.

This article was originally published at Creating Love On Purpose. Reprinted with permission from the author.