Woman looking out at a lake

So you’re single again?

It’s been a while since you were last flying solo and perhaps you saw it coming, but perhaps you didn’t. Perhaps you’re very happy about it; you’re moving on from something that turned out not to be right for you, full of hope and anticipation of what lies ahead – the dating scene seems full of opportunity and prospects, meeting new people is an exciting new journey upon which you’re more than ready to embark. Or perhaps it’s feels more like singledoom…you’re disappointed, disillusioned maybe even broken hearted and singleness is unwelcome, daunting, a distant memory you hadn’t envisaged you’d be revisiting. So, whether your glass is half full or half empty, here’s some practical suggestions when returning to the single life:

– Particularly if you’ve just come out of a very serious relationship or marriage, take it slowly. Rebounding can cause problems in both the short and much longer term and taking time out by yourself to process and review is a wise and healthy strategy.

– If you feel it would be beneficial or you’re having a tough time adjusting, it might be worth considering some counselling. Particularly if you’re experiencing significant life changes as a result of a break up, or if you think it might even have been brought about by underlying and unresolved issues.

– Don’t get too emotionally involved too quickly when you go on your first few dates. It’s easy to get carried away and start daydreaming of possible futures when you meet someone you like, but you might be setting yourself up for disappointment when you don’t know if the other person is on the same page.

– Consider being creative with date ideas; maybe not too left field on a first one, but dating proffers a great opportunity to have some fun and do the kind of things you don’t always get around to once you settle down and the demands of domesticity increase. (And guys, good old fashioned chivalry is always popular!).

– What do you do when you have holidays and no significant other to go away with? Oak Hall Expeditions is one of several travel providers who offer a wide variety of options for those travelling alone, or you could investigate working holidays, many different types of retreats or some condensed volunteering in an area that’s going to be exciting and life giving.

– Church often places a huge emphasis on marriage and children; if you’re finding it hard to work out where you fit in when you’re no longer part of a couple, family or student group, you’re not alone. It’s up to all of us to work for change in this – no one should feel left out. Be an instigator of events, nights/days out and social gatherings in your community – others will benefit as well as you.

– Seek out other people who can relate to your experiences: couples who met later in life who’ll ‘get it’ and singles in a similar situation. Now is a great time to invest in friendships new and old.

– Now is also a good time to invest in yourself; if you’re finding you’ve got more spare time on your hands, think about what you love to do and what you’re passionate about (if you’ve lost connection with those parts of you, a helpful way to rediscover them is to recall your dreams and favourite pastimes as a child) and take the opportunity to explore some of these things. This could open many paths you hadn’t imagined- you may end up with a whole new vocation, field of creativity or even career.

-If you fancy meeting new people alongside an activity you enjoy, check out Events for Christians in the UK or Meetup.com. Most cities have lots going on and while it’s not a dating thing it’s a way to find people with whom you can practice your interests.

– It’s always better to make the most of what you do have, rather than focussing on what you don’t. If you find yourself getting down about not being in a relationship, every day write down ten things you are grateful for in your life. Similarly, if your confidence has taken a knock, every day write down five things you like about yourself. When you’ve a bad day you can refer back to your lists.

– Christmas and New Year are now looming on the horizon and the festive season often has a remarkable knack of leaving single people feeling a little lonely. Plan ahead for some Christmassy merriment with friends and go easy on those ‘perfect’ love story movies doing the rounds on TV channels. And remember, contrary to popular misconception, most people are not having the time of their lives on New Year’s Eve, so really don’t feel bad about your life if you aren’t either.

Hopefully these pointers have been helpful, but advice is always subjective – ultimately it comes down to discerning what’s right for you. Time on your own can be a total joy and a gift if you cultivate it as so and every day is full of fresh possibilities. So stride forward toward your dreams with expectation and a sense of adventure.

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