Being newly single and having the desire to date means engaging in new behaviors far different from how you led your life before. There is a needed vulnerability and assertiveness required of the newly single, because you can’t leave all the work on this magical other guy, expecting him to carry the responsibility of showing up at your door and asking you out.
While you can’t force love or dating, you can create the conditions for it to occur.
Here are 8 steps for the newly single guy looking to get back into dating:
1. Go online.
It’s where a lot of dating is taking place right now, and will continue to be that place. Online dating allows you to effortlessly have access to hundreds of single guys, and not all apps require you to be online for your profile to be found. And, no, online apps like Hornet are not just for sex.
2. Ask about his relationship status.
There are many people already with a primary partner and in open or poly relationships. If you want monogamy or a primary partner, don’t assume someone who is online, flirting or asking you out is also single or wants monogamy. You have to ask about people’s current (and desired) relationship status.
3. Take time offline, too.
Online and app dating can sometimes lead to online dating burnout, which can surface as depression, loneliness and frustration from spending too much time online and expecting too much from dating apps. Take a break from them if you are experiencing burnout.
4. Live your life like you’re single and “looking.”
If you are newly single and wanting to connect and meet someone to date, you have to be approachable and open to be met. Few will approach someone who’s closed off or who acts unavailable. Yes, I’m telling you to smile at people, make eye contact and start conversations.
5. Ask people out.
You have to be assertive. Sitting back passively hoping someone you are interested in will be more assertive then you’re willing to be is a losing theory that will only keep you single. If you aren’t ready to flirt openly and ask people out, then practice what I call “one step more” and do something that is a step towards it. Expecting others to do all the work will only leave you single.
6. Get rid of your “ego list.”
Love often comes from unexpected people and places. Having long lists of needed traits in a partner will only keep you flying solo. These lists are based on your ego and your lack of social confidence. Stay open to finding love with an unexpected partner. Physical attraction is important, but keep in ming that what you find attractive also comes from cultural norms and conformity.
7. Yes, you should use the word “date.”
If you want to ask someone out on a date, then use that word. Asking someone to “hang out” or “go for coffee” does not clearly imply it’s a date. And a lack of clarity about what’s being requested leaves both parties unsure about what they’re being asked and what they’re showing up to. Dating requires vulnerability and risk.
8. Have sex.
Many long-term committed relationships begin as a one-time hookup, because hookup culture is a part of dating. Having sex is a way to meet people, build intimacy and assess compatibility. Don’t rule out sex as though a person can’t be open to both casual sex and also a long-term committed partnership. Both can exist at the same time, and one can lead to the other.
Are you newly single? Have you given these eight steps a try?
Dr. Chris Donaghue is a lecturer, therapist and host of the LoveLine podcast, a weekly expert on The Amber Rose Show, and a frequent co-host on TV series The Doctors. He authored Sex Outside the Lines and has been published in various journals and magazines, including The New York Times, Newsweek and National Geographic. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
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