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Shed enough tears? Done second-guessing your actions, his actions and all the "what-ifs?"

Congratulations! Now it's time to start dating.

If you're middle-aged like me, a new man won't come into your life without some effort on your part. In other words, you've got to get out there. Stop thinking about it and worrying about it. Just do it! Here's how: 

Prepare yourself. Get out your notebook. Jot down some places you can meet men. Ball games? Lacrosse matches? Try out an activity that's slightly beyond your comfort zone (join a bowling league, the library's book discussion group, a local hiking club). You may meet people you wouldn't ordinarily meet in your normal routine, and you might develop a new hobby or passion. Of course, you should also seek out areas that interest you, such as the local gardening club, health club or wine enthusiasts group. You may not meet your next date at one of these events but your circle of friends and acquaintances will broaden and you never know which of these new friends has a brother, friend or uncle who would be the perfect date for you! 

Don't be scared. Singles events are not as intimidating as you might think. Most of the people who go are helpful; they were once first timers like you. Later you'll be having fun. Find one that is relatively small and safe, perhaps held in the social room of a church, your local community center, or a local restaurant that has a singles night. It's best to go alone; most guys are reluctant to approach a group of women. But if you need some support your first time out, take one friend along. I went to one held in a church basement and met a nice guy who had come to play bridge. When he joined the bridge players, I waited briefly, and then headed for the door. He jumped up and asked for my telephone number. I went out to dinner with him at least a dozen times. Never interested in anything more than his company and the conversation, I suddenly felt part of the world again.

Take it slow. Work your way up to a bigger singles event that you've heard draws the guys you want to meet. Be friendly. Walk around. Talk to people. If a guy asks for your phone number and address, just give him your number. Treat the first visit as an introduction to the whole scene where you check out the people, see how they interact with the opposite sex, and get an overall feel for how the place works. Go again, armed with the knowledge from your first visit. If it seems to be a place where friendly people with a lifestyle similar to yours are getting together for a fun night out and the possibility of meeting someone they'd like to date, it's the right place for you. It will soon become a place where you walk in, see people you've met before and are greeted warmly.

Keep it up! When you've found the right event, keep going — alone. Be friendly.  Accept a few dates. Figure out how to find out what you really need to know — just not all on the first date. Does he have a family he cares about? What does he do for a living? What does he do to relax?  What are his views with respect to children? Take it easy. If he wants to go to bed before you're ready, just tell him you need a little more time. If he's interested, he'll stay around.  If not, go back to the singles event.


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