New Year, New Relationship? 6 Tips for Reentering the Dating World

Jumping back into the dating pool can bring a whole range of emotions to the surface. It is normal to be flooded with conflicting feelings, especially if you’ve been off the market for a bit. You’ll likely deal with a mixture of anxiety and excitement that could leave you feeling like a ball of nerves. 

Normalizing whatever comes up is essential to taking care of yourself during any transitional period. Navigating all of the different feelings that come with dating again can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be debilitating. Here are six tips to keep in mind before diving in again. 

1. Prepare a Pregnancy Prevention Plan 

Sexual health is an essential part of dating and intimacy. While it might not come up on the first date, you should know how you want to stay protected. Talk to your partner about contraceptive methods and put a plan in place so you’re prepared with the time comes.. Educate yourself about what is available to you and right for your body. 

You have several options to choose from to help prevent pregnancy and keep you and your mate safe. Choices include barrier methods like condoms, hormonal options like the pill, patch, shot or ring, and more. If convenience is a priority, consider ordering your preferred method of birth control onlineand having it delivered. 

2. Brainstorm Talking Points for Dates 

Having talking points prepared helps you enter the first date with more confidence. Come up with some questions you’d like to ask your date. Where was the last place they traveled? What is 

the best concert they’ve ever been to? Do they have any favorite books or authors?

Consider what your answers will be if the question gets thrown back at you. Entering the meet up with some good icebreakers avoids any awkward silences over appetizers. They also provide ways to easily transition to other topics and learn more about your date. 

3. Take Care of Your Mental Health 

Being in a good headspace allows you to feel less overwhelmed about dating. This can be especially difficult after a break up, so take time to reconnect with yourself if that’s the case. Don’t fall into the trap of tying your self worth to someone else’s idea of you. This will help you take rejection less personally. If the relationship fizzles out, be confident in the knowledge that you have a lot to offer to someone else.  

One of the best ways to take care of your mental health is to talk to a professional. Meeting with a therapist gives you a safe space to talk about the emotions that often come up while dating. Prioritizing your mental health can also look like regular exercise, healthy eating, pursuing your hobbies, and staying connected to friends. 

4. Understand What You’re Looking for in a Partner 

Understanding what you’re looking for narrows down potential matches and saves you from endless swiping on dating apps. Make a list of the top qualities you’d like to see in a partner. Know what attributes are a top priority and which ones might be a dealbreaker. 

If you’re struggling to know where to start, consider your past relationships. Examine the aspects of previous companions that were a good fit and the quirks you could do without. This helps you understand what personality traits work well with your own and which ones might cause some friction. 

5. Communicate and Understand Your Needs 

Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship, especially when it comes to romantic ones. Keeping your needs bottled up could lead to unnecessary pain and hinder your connection. Be upfront about what you expect from your partner and whether you’re looking for a brief fling or something long-term. One of the best ways to express your needs is to know your love language and share that with partners. 

Cultivate an environment for open communication at the beginning of a new relationship. This will help you navigate any tough conversations and make each person feel seen and heard. You won’t have to waste your time second guessing where the situation is headed. You will also avoid the disappointment that comes with unmet expectations that were never communicated in the first place. 

6. Go Easy on Yourself 

Dating is hard, but that’s not an excuse to be hard on yourself. Putting too much pressure on the situation only amps up the anxiety. Remind yourself that it is normal to feel jittery before a date, and that the other person likely feels the same way. Normalizing tough emotions is the first step in working through them. 

Understand that it might take time to build up your confidence and find an ideal partner. Don’t feel rushed to have it all figured out right at the beginning. At the end of the day, remember that the most important relationship is the one that you have with yourself.

Treading New Waters

Modern dating feels like a game at times, so it is important to stick to your own rules. Re-enter the dating pool understanding what you want and communicating your needs to potential partners. Be knowledgable about your plans for pregnancy prevention and take care of your sexual health. 

While romantic relationships can add a lot to your life, don’t let the lack of one take away your confidence. Take care of your mental health and go easy on yourself during the process. And always keep in mind what you deserve.

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