Tinder, Bumble, Match, Coffee Meets Bagel, Hinge, eHarmony, and at a low point, OK Cupid. I tried them all, ladies! I met my ex-husband organically at a bar. When I entered into my next round of dating, I was totally clueless and excited about the opportunities. Are you telling me that I can swipe through many guys and pick out the ones I like from my couch in yoga pants? Awesome! I was in for a reality check.

Spoiler alert: I met the love of my life through Bumble. It didn’t seem possible for years, but I stuck with it, determined to find love again, and ended up with the partnership of my dreams. He was worth the Mulligan Marriage. 

When someone shares that they are newly single or starting to date online, I want to share all the lessons I learned. It’s easy to relate to experiences if you are in that particular situation; however, you will dismiss it if it doesn’t ring true. I encourage you to read this blog post even if you have decided to delete all your dating apps. Something I bring up may resonate with you and shift your mindset. Dating is a mental exercise. It requires vulnerability, effort, humility, determination, and of course, a sense of humor. 

First, you need to be ready. I completely ignored my intuition and started dating four months after my separation to find myself in a relationship that overwhelmed me. If you are impatient, add a few months to your timeline. If you are timid, bump it up by half a year. There is no perfect moment when the skies part and the universe says, “You are ready to date again.” Loving yourself, sharing your divorce story without shame, and having a few personal adventures under your belt are great indications that you are ready to date. 

Mindset

Imagine going to a hot yoga class decked out in your snowboarding gear, which you can’t take off. You will hate the experience. You need to be prepared and know what you are in for before you start. Dating is the physical act of meeting someone, but it’s also a mental exercise in self-confidence and self-awareness. Here are a few tips to get your mind right before starting or re-starting.

  • You must believe that you will achieve your goal. Yes, you actually have to think that you are capable of meeting someone. This might fluctuate, but keep returning to this belief.
  • Be comfortable in your own skin and like who you are. If you are not, figure it out. This doesn’t mean being a perfect weight or having straight teeth; it’s about acceptance. 
  • Have a full life. A partner will complement your life, not complete it. “You complete me” is a myth and sets any relationship up for failure. 
  • Be interesting. If you think you’re boring, others will. This doesn’t mean you need to like skydiving, but you need to figure out how to share what you love.
  • Be open. 
  • Be honest in what you want.
  • Be vulnerable. Don’t expect depth if you can’t give it back.
  • Have a sense of humor. 
  • Leave your ego at the door. Understand that you will not be everyone’s cup of tea. 
  • Lose the drama. If someone doesn’t call back, “thank you next.” 

When I started dating again, a re-married divorcee gave me some sage advice. She told me that if I created a profile sharing an honest account of what I was looking for, I would have very few matches. This was not a numbers game; it was about substance. Dating would be an exercise of moderating my ego and keeping it in check. At the time, I was too caught up in my need for attention and adoration to listen. Instead, I created an unoriginal profile and followed the mold of what I saw everyone else doing. The matches just kept coming. My ego was on cloud nine, but all the dates were flops. At one point, years down the road, my close friends pulled me aside and had an intervention. “Lauren, you are dating below your standards.” Why? Because it was easy, and I knew that I would be liked. It was much harder to put out what I really wanted. This can be true for what you write in your profile and what you project on a date. Your profile might go through many iterations, but try to keep this advice in mind.

Words of Wisdom

A few things I have learned throughout my years of dating…

  • When your attitude changes and you get negative, take a break from dating, and do something for yourself. 
  • You will get what you put in. Prince charming is not knocking on your door if you don’t put yourself out there. 
  • Bad dates = great stories. Remember, have a sense of humor.
  • Ghosting = someone is doing you a favor. They weren’t interested, and now you can move forward. 
  • Take your positive attitude toward finding love everywhere you go. You never know where you will meet someone just by looking approachable. (Note: this is a little tough during COVID so hang in there)
  • Trust your intuition. Listen to that little voice that says, this guy is player. 
  • If your other single girlfriends just want to bitch about dating, you can join, but just know that it will influence your own outlook on dating. It will start to wear on you. 
  • If someone just seemed nervous, but overall it went well; try a second date. If you are an introvert dating can be a cruel social experiment. 
  • If you find yourself meeting people who just don’t hit the mark, have a very close friend who knows you, look at your profile and conversations. Are you being yourself? 
  • Do you need 6’5, three degrees, a killer smile, and handsome friends? Don’t we all girl. Be reasonable and open with your “checklist.” You could be dismissing the love of your life. Again, what do you really want? 

Carry on and start the matching! Out of this whole post, my #1 piece of advice is to take a break when you shift into a negative mindset. Good luck, and may your profile be as truthful, and yet concise as possible.