dating

'6 things I learned about dating after coming out of a long-term relationship.'

Colgate Optic White®
Thanks to our brand partner, Colgate Optic White®

Close your eyes and imagine this: you’ve been in a comfortable relationship for five years.

You haven’t even had to think about dating in your adult life, and then all of a sudden you are thrust into uncharted waters full of 11.30pm ‘Hey, you up?’ messages, super-likes and serial ghosters.

I wish I could join you in this fun imagination exercise, but late last year my heart was broken and this became my reality. I thought I would be devastated forever, but now, a few months into 2020 I’m well and truly over my ex, and have a completely whole heart that is open to love and dating.

So just how different is being a single woman on the dating scene versus being a long-term girlfriend? VERY. Let me tell you all the things I’ve learned.

Oh, you don’t believe in ghosts? THEY ARE OUT THERE.

My dating apps share a strong resemblance with everyone’s favourite movie: Paranormal Activity. You’ll be talking to a guy for days, weeks even. You’ll meet up for drinks, maybe it’s even looking promising, and then all of a sudden…nothing. For all you know they could have fallen off the face of the earth, you might even double-text to make sure they’re alive…listen to me. They ARE alive, they are just making a conscious choice to ignore you.

It’s rude, and you deserve better. Move it along.

First dates can be tedious.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t potential, but before you get to the good stuff you have to cover all the basics. You’ll recap your family trees, your age, your death-row meal, your favourite subjects at school, and where you grew up over a glass (or three) of house white. These are all entirely thrilling discussions, especially if you’re going on one or two first dates every week…and there is a chance you’ll forget who you’ve told about your dog, and which guy is the teacher with two brothers. I suggest doing a read through of your messages before the date to refresh your memory.

My preparation for a first date v ‘date night’ in a long-term relationship is wildly different.

lucy neville
Feelin' good as hell. Image: Supplied.
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Date night used to be pizza and The Great British Bake Off on the couch in my comfiest pyjamas, and the only makeup I’d be wearing was the last-remaining hint of mascara that had managed to stay on throughout the day.

Now that I’m dating, I like to look and feel my best. I’m much more confident when I’ve got a bouncy wave going on, maybe a little bit of gradual tan and a beaming white smile. So the night before I’m exfoliating and shaving, applying my gradual tan (followed by thoroughly washing my hands to avoid tan-hands), giving myself a fresh blow dry and topping up my pearly-whites with Colgate Optic White’s Overnight Teeth Whitening Treatment Pen (which works simply and effectively overnight, and is enamel-safe). It gives you visibly whiter teeth in one week, and three shades whiter teeth in two weeks. I wake up feeling like a brand new woman.

Smile on, sister! Image: Supplied.

Those feelings that you had for your ex are not exclusive to them.

When my ex left me, having feelings for someone else felt entirely impossible, but in time you’ll learn that you can, and you will feel that way about someone again. I found myself catching feelings for someone new after a great first, second and third date. I’m sorry to inform you that this is not a love story, nor a success story - it’s no surprise that as soon as I mentioned the word feelings, that man distanced himself (ghosted) like I was contagious. But that’s OK, it was a sweet reminder that my heart is capable of feeling for someone else.

You may have your heart broken many times, by many people.

Now, I’m not talking about the ‘I can't get out of bed, can’t eat, can’t sleep’ kind of heartbreak.

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I’m talking about minor casualties to the heart - little bruises. Being left on read, being ghosted, being disappointed or feelings not being reciprocated - no matter if you’ve been on one date, or you’ve been dating for a month, the sting of rejection hurts the same. You have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and remember that your heart is precious real estate, they were just not the right tenant.

Despite all of that, dating can actually be really fun.

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Take yourself on a date.

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Like REALLY fun. If you’re like me, I love meeting new people, I feel confident about what makes me unique, and I feel much more excitement rather than nervousness when going on dates. There are few better feelings than the butterflies you get in your stomach when you’re attracted to someone, first kisses, and spending the night with someone new. Regardless of whether it leads to something else, just enjoy the few hours that you’re spending together.

After a long-term relationship, dating can be really scary...believe me, I know. In my opinion, it’s important to wait until you are dating for the right reasons, not to make anyone jealous or to fill a void.

This might be a few weeks, a few months or even a few years, so until then...date yourself! Make yourself nice dinners, treat yourself to experiences that fill you up and most importantly, love yourself sick.

What's your best advice for dating after a break-up?

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