Meet our experts:
Lisa Copeland is a dating coach and author of The Winning Dating Formula for Women Over 50. She writes about dating later in life at www.findaqualityman.com.
Vera Azuike works for the charity Family Lives, which advises on parenting and family issues. Visit www.familylives.org.uk or call the 24/7 support line on 0808 800 2222.
Dating again after divorce or loss can be daunting, especially if you have family and grown-up children to think of too. Once you’re ready, looking for a new relationship can be a wonderful way to get a spring back in your step. And, who knows, if it’s what you want, you may find someone to share your life with.
Am I ready to date again?
It’s important that you’re in the right frame of mind for a new partner. “Take time to heal from your past relationship so that you’re dating because you want to, rather than because you miss having someone in your life,” says Lisa.
“If you find you’re unable to talk about your previous partner without getting upset or angry, you’re probably not ready yet.”
Successful dating often relies on your confidence, too. If this is quite low, get your self-esteem back by doing things you love again. “Rediscover old hobbies or interests you had the last time you were single,” says Lisa. “This should give you a happy glow, which is always attractive.”
How do I meet someone new?
“As you get older it can be hard to suss out who’s single, so start by looking on online dating sites where you know that, for the most part, everyone is available,” Lisa says.
If you arrange a date with someone you met online, just remember to tell a friend where you’re going and ask them to call you later to check how you’re getting on. If you don’t fancy online dating, take up a new hobby, such as walking or pottery, where you can forge friendships with other members that could turn into something more.
How do I tell my family?
“It’s best to be open with your family from the start,” says Vera. “Tell them you’re thinking of dating but aren’t sure where to begin. This way they can offer suggestions and feel more included.”
Once you’ve met a new partner, be upfront with him about any anxieties you have about introducing him to your family. “Jot down all your feelings in a letter to each other and then work out how together you can resolve these worries,” says Vera.
But don’t push to make them part of family life too soon. “Be sure the relationship is serious before you introduce them to your family,” says Lisa. “Tell grown-up children they can see your new partner as a friend, rather than a replacement parent.”
If your previous partner passed away, you could also suggest making a special toast to them on a set day each year so your family know they won’t be forgotten.
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