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Dating after a long term relationship has ended

(I wrote this article for onlymums.org and onlydads.org)

When you have been in a long term relationship whether this is through marriage or cohabitation, and it has subsequently broken down, it can be very daunting to even consider dating again. This article looks at the pros and cons of dating again if you find yourself in this situation.

Sometimes people are convinced that they will never be on the lookout for another partner, as with one (or more) ‘failed’ relationships behind them, they are too fearful of this situation repeating itself. So they feel it is safer to not go there, not to dare to try any more, thus preventing the possibility of any future upset and unhappiness.

However, this is quite sad as it means that people who are really keen to be part of a couple are living solitary lives through fear of meeting another person who may hurt them further down the line.

If you can dare to try again…

As we are all very well aware, relationships are very complex and involve so many variables. At any time in any partnership, things can change, for the better or for the worse. It is essential to think about the good times that were experienced prior to the breakdown of the relationship, and whether you might like to have some more good times with another person?

Would you wish that you had never been committed to your previous partners? This means wishing that you hadn’t experienced those good times, had children with them maybe and all that your offspring have brought to your life too?

During my years as a coach I have come across a lot of people who are single; some of these are very happy to be single, however some of them have been really yearning to find that ideal person to share their life with.

I regularly encourage people to live life to the full and to do the things which possibly at the outset seem rather scary. If we live a life that prevents us from trying new things then we are restricting ourselves quite considerably. I believe that it is so much better to try rather than allowing fear to freeze us on the spot, even if this effort we put in, does not in the future, lead us to where we were hoping to go. We cannot find out what we do want if we do not try new things, meet new people and create new experiences for ourselves. It really is down to us and our choices.

Many people say that they always fall for the ‘wrong’ type of person and that they can never find the ‘right’ person. To prevent yourself from going down the same route again and potentially falling for another unsuitable partner, it may be worthwhile to speak to someone outside of your circle of friends and family, to gain a new perspective on what you are really looking for in a relationship.

Very often we think we know what we want, but sometimes we are not clear enough about the detail. Yes generally we would all like someone to love us, take care of us, allow us our independence, appreciate and value us and more. This is quite a tall order but something that we would hope to find in our ideal partner.

And yes it is about thinking what you would like from your ideal partner and in your future relationship. If you are looking for commitment and you are keen to dedicate the rest of your life to this new individual then you have to be pretty certain that this person is going to tick most of these boxes, if not all of them. And if not all of them, it is wise that they hopefully tick at least the most important ones!

So once you have decided that you will risk the idea of dating again, what are the pros and cons of this?


  • A new partner can bring many exciting times, new experiences, viewpoints into your life
  • A new relationship can invigorate and inspire you
  • A new relationship can make you feel young again
  • You will be able to satisfy your need to give and share, to socialise as a couple once more
  • Your children may be able to enjoy two adults in the family again


  • Along with the excitement there can be upset of course. You have your ways of living, of doing things; your new partner may have very different habits and systems. By communicating regularly about your needs and wants these can hopefully be diminished and worked around so that both partners can be content with the way things are.
  • A new partner can bring new demands on you and your time, this may mean that you need to spend less time with your friends, or that you choose to spend less time with them, which all needs to be taken into account, as you may have become really close to some of them again, whilst you were single.
  • It may be more expensive
  • Your independence is now reduced as you will probably need to consider someone else’s wishes and not just be able to do as you please, when you please.


  1. Having experienced at least one or two long term relationships you will be older and wiser than when you were first on the dating scene. This can work in your favour as well as potentially against you!
  2. Using this experience and wisdom, think carefully and decide just what it is that you are looking for in a new partner
  3. Also importantly, decide what you are NOT looking for! In other words, what will you NOT be able to tolerate in someone?
  4. When you are clear about whom it is you are looking for, where do you feel comfortable in trying to find him or her? Are you happy to try everything including internet dating sites for example? Or do you prefer to try to meet someone only in the offline world? (NOTE: If you do arrange to meet someone that you have initially ‘met’ via the internet, be sure to tell people where you are going and when, preferably have someone go with you as well for safety.)
  5. If you really are keen to meet someone new, then be sure that your body language is congruent with this. Sometimes single people think that they would like a new partner, yet deep down they are not so sure, which means that when they are out and about with friends they may behave in a way that could be interpreted incorrectly. Therefore be sure not to be overheard criticising the opposite sex, for example, if you are genuinely keen to find a new partner!
  6. Although you have thought about what you are looking for, it may be useful to still allow yourself to keep an open mind about the new person you are about to meet; sometimes great relationships are formed by the most unlikely circumstances!

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