As I mentioned in the previous blog, it is to your advantage to take some “my time” after a relationship ends. However, sometimes opportunity knocks and going forward with meeting someone is a good chance worth taking. Or maybe the previous breakup wasn’t that significant so you want to get out and test the dating waters again. If that is the case let me suggest a few obvious and not so obvious things to keep in mind.
•Don’t let friends and family push you into something you are not ready for. Only date if you feel like that is something you want to do. If you don’t want to be out their dating you could very well sabotage the date just to prove a point or because you unconsciously don’t want to get hurt again. Then this new individual may not want to see you again even after you are ready.
•Make sure you take precautions when meeting new people. These are fairly obvious; but a reminder never hurts. Don’t give out your phone number, address, place of employment or email address until you believe this person can be trusted. Meet in a public place and drive your own car to the first couple of dates. Don’t go to someone’s home or to a motel with someone you have just met. Avoid or limit alcohol consumption with someone you have just met. 85% of pregnancies occur because drinking was involved.
• Keep your first dates short so that you have an out if you don’t like the person. Opt for a coffee instead of a dinner.
• Best practice would be to invite this new person to an event that your friends are going to be at. Friends have your best interest in mind and can help spot some obvious red flags that you might miss just because you are excited to be dating again.
• Don’t discuss sex on the first date. You may give the wrong impression; either that you are eager to hop in the sack or that you are preaching about the woes of sex. When you are first dating remember that this is still a casual relationship and it is too early to introduce such an intimate subject.
•Don’t talk about your former partner or spouse. What a turn off that could be. Plus, it is to easy to demonize your “X” and sugar coat your own contribution to the breakup. If you still need to talk about that relationship, seek a therapist before you move into dating. That way you can work through the lingering emotions and avoid trying to work it out with the new potential love partner.
•If you have children, do not bring them into a new relationship and don’t introduce anyone to them until you believe that this person is going to be with you for the long haul. Adults can let go of someone when the relationship goes south but children don’t necessarily understand why the new friend isn’t coming around anymore. They can quickly and silently decide that it is their fault.
•Remember that even though you may have been chatting to someone online for weeks or months you still don’t necessarily know that person. People can put on a good front when it is in the quiet of their office or living room–as they are typing on their computers. You really won’t know this person until you see them in person and see how they act in real life.
These may all seem like common sense but common sense isn’t always working when we are twitterpatted. Just taking some time, in advance, to talk this through with a friend may help you brainstorm how to stay safe and in reality.