Ready to get back on the scene? Or still hiding under the covers? No matter what your stage, Dr. Diana Kirschner can help. A psychologist and relationships expert with more than 25 years experience, Dr. Kirschner has counseled thousands of women and advised them on the path to new love. Here, she offers tips to smart singledom.
Q. How does a woman who has undergone a breakup or divorce know that she's ready to begin dating again?
A. There has to be some sense that she is complete with the past, with her ex, and ready to move on. It varies from woman to woman as to how and when this occurs. There is a letting go process that has begun — sometimes she first realizes it when some new guy flirts with her and catches her eye. Sometimes she moves forward out of a burst of anger, coupled with enough-is-enough thoughts about dwelling in the past. For other women, it is just a matter of having a sense of understanding, answers to her questions about all the different things that came down during the breakup.
Whatever way it happens, shepherd it along, because the sooner you put your attention on new possibilities, the sooner you begin to release the stranglehold of past hurts.
Q. Women who have experienced a failed relationship may think they aren't good/skilled at choosing a mate. How can they zero in on the right man for them?
A. I recommend what I call the Dating Program of Three — casually dating three guys at once (with no sex with any of them). This is an easy way to enter the world of dating and men. Take on the attitude of an anthropologist — examine these guys with an eye to what really works for you and what doesn't.
Q. Is there any way to prepare yourself emotionally and mentally for a new relationship?
A. Yes. Practice self-reflection on what it was that you did that contributed to the breakup of your last relationship. (It always take two!) If you understand your own sabotaging patterns you are less likely to repeat them. Work on building your own self-esteem through growth courses, meditation, an exercise program, and building a positive, loving supportive group of friends.
Q. Hindsight is 20/20. What are your thoughts on revisiting romantic possibilities with exes?
A. If he is truly remorseful about what he did wrong in the relationship, willing to be in individual and/or couples therapy and work on himself and make things up to you, consider giving him another chance.
Q. Many women feel insecure getting back on the dating after divorce. Any words of wisdom to boost confidence before that first night out?
A. Get a fabulous makeover — go to a high-end department store and have your makeup done for free. Buy some trendy outfits at a cool department store that doesn't cost an arm and a leg (Target, H & M, etc). Take along your good friends to help you. Bring out your fabulous beauty and character so that you feel like you look amazing!
Psychologist Dr. Diana Kirschner has appeared on Oprah and is a frequent guest on The Today Show. Her acclaimed new book is Love in 90 Days: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Own True Love. For her etips, blog, dating articles, daily affirmations, and discussion forum, visit lovein90days.com.
How to Have a Good Post-Divorce Date — a video interview with dating expert, Andrea Syrtash
What To Wear On The First Date — The Second Time Around — a video interview with fashion stylist, Sharon Haver