Are you ready for online dating?

When a long term marriage or relationship ends, it can be tempting to rush out and find someone new to fill the gap in your life, but although loneliness can be tough on the newly single, jumping into a rebound relationship is always a mistake. So how can you tell if the time is right to start dating again?

The over 50s are the fastest growing demographic of online daters. Divorce rates are on the up and more and more people are taking the decision to walk away from their partner in the hope of finding happiness elsewhere. But not everyone is ready for love again, so rather than waste your time and that of other people, you need to evaluate whether you are ready for a new relationship.

Are you lonely? It is not uncommon for people who have been recently divorced to suddenly realise their circle of friends has vastly diminished. When you are a couple, most of your friends are likely to be other couples, so when the relationship breaks down, friends take sides and you can expect to lose many of them in the ensuing chaos. The end result of this process is the feeling that you are suddenly a social pariah and nobody invites you anywhere.

If this sounds familiar, don’t let loneliness drive you into the world of online dating in a desperate bid to meet someone, anyone, new. Take time to get used to your own company because learning the art of being happy on your own is essential for the success of future relationships.

People who are comfortable in their own skin make for better partners. They are less needy and do not require constant validation of their self worth from others. Being alone might feel strange in the early days, but taking the time to enjoy your own company will pay dividends. Obviously spending weeks alone without human company is not sensible, but do not be afraid of the prospect of a weekend at home, alone. Fill your time with useful pursuits: gardening, reading, walking, or whatever else makes you happy.

Once you feel comfortable alone, start expanding your social circle and make new friends. Become involved in community events or find others with similar interests—potential dates will find you more attractive when you are a well-rounded person with lots of hobbies and an interesting life to talk about. Then, when you judge the time has come to find someone new, embrace this new chapter in your life and sign up for online dating. You will have the opportunity to meet interesting new people and even if the chemistry isn’t there, you may find some become good friends.

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