Getting back into the dating scene after going through a divorce can feel like jumping into an ocean full of sharks. Jump! Yes, there are sharks, but the risk is worth it.
Tracey Steinberg is the Dateologist®. She is one part dating lifeguard and one part coach. Tracey helps women get over their fear of dating. If you have just come out of a failing marriage, chances are you have not been at your best. Divorce can affect your self-esteem and a lot of us lose hope and stop dreaming about a better life.
Before she met her husband, Tracey lived the life of a single New York City. She is a vibrant, outgoing woman and her enthusiasm is contagious. Tracey previously worked as a civil litigation attorney and now she helps women to become happier, healthier and more confident. She has extensive training and experience as a life coach.
Tracey was voted one of the top ten dating experts by DatingAdvice.com. She has been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine, Huffington Post, The New York Post, The New York Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, Men’s Health Magazine and on various media programs such as CNN, HLN, Fox News, TV Land, ABC News Radio and “On Air with Ryan Seacrest”. Tracey also hosted a live call-in television show in New York City called “Dating Help 911!®”
This fall, Tracey will be releasing her new book “Flirt for Fun & Meet the One: Dating Secrets From The Dateologist”.
First Wives World had the pleasure of speaking with Tracey about building your self-esteem, dating and finding the right man this time around.
Is it difficult for women to get back into the dating scene after a divorce, especially if they have been in a long relationship?
Tracey: It can be, there are definitely unique challenges that divorced women face if they met their husbands when they were young and didn’t really have a lot of dating experience.
Before a women jumps into dating, she has to do a few things for herself to get ready. I think divorce can be really hard on your self-esteem, and the most attractive quality is confidence. She needs to spend time boosting her own self-esteem, really taking great care of herself, developing a positive attitude and looking at dating as an adventure.
How do you know when you are ready to date after divorce? For some women in may be months or even years.
Tracey: I think it’s important to know before you go into the dating scene what you are looking for. Now you might not know the characteristics of the person you are looking for, but I think it’s good to be honest with yourself whether you’re looking for a friendship or casual relationship, or you’re ready to jump right back into meeting someone serious. Dating can be a lot of fun, but if you don’t have the right attitude, it can be painful.
A lot of us keep choosing the wrong man over and over. How do we change our patterns?
Tracey: I get that all the time. What I tell women to do if they are consistently choosing the wrong man, is the next time you meet a man and you say, “Oh, he’s my type.” - run away. The next time you meet a man and you think, he doesn’t really excite me, give him a chance. Even though it may feel awkward because you’re changing, you know you need to change. Give different people a chance and stay away from the people who are comfortable and exciting for you because that’s not working.
That’s great advice that many women could heed.
Tracey: Not just divorced women; women in general. I have 25-year-old clients who have never been married, but they are consistently going for the wrong person. It’s really important to do a lot of introspection to know yourself and truly know what does work for you, especially if you are looking for something serious.
How do you work with clients in your coaching practice?
Tracey: Before you get what you want you need to know exactly what you want. Before I begin helping my private coaching clients I give them a welcome package which asks some deep introspective questions about what they want their life to be five years from now. Of course, there is an emphasis on their love life because they are coming to me to change their love life. But often women also have secondary goals that will increase their confidence. Maybe they want to go to the gym more, or they need to spruce up their wardrobe or they want to meet more girlfriends. I’ll help them to get whatever it is that will support them living a confident, happy healthy life. Then I meet with them for two hours. If they are in New York, I meet with them in person, if they’re not, I can meet with them over Skype or over the phone. We go over the welcome packet and I help them to become clearer on what they truly want their life to be five years from now, obviously with an emphasis on their love life.
I’ll also help them create a list of their top five non-negotiable characteristics of the man that they want to meet. I also tell every woman that he has to be healthy, confident and available. By healthy, I mean he has to be free of any addictions, of any major problems. By confident, I mean he has to be able to function properly, has to have a job, or at least be in the process of having a job if he just lost it. Being available is probably the biggest one I see my clients falling over themselves for; he has to not be in a relationship with someone else, or else he has to be in the area. If he’s moving to Japan tomorrow, that’s probably not someone who is available for marriage and children some day.
Then, I would continue to meet with them. My coaching is very proactive, so every time I meet with them, we come up with a list of very specific action steps that move them forward towards having the vision that they created in that first session
Once we get really clear on exactly who she’s looking for and the lifestyle she wants, then we’ll also get clear on exactly what her best traits are and how we can keep her having a positive mindset and embracing life as an adventure. We’ll also get her excited about her life and excited about going on this new journey together.
Do you recommend online dating?
Tracey: I’m a huge fan of online dating and one of the things I do with my clients is to give them an online dating profile makeover. The reason I think online dating is so important, is because we are all so busy. What I love about it is that it works while you sleep and it really helps you to expand the people that you would possibly meet.
We know the people we work with, maybe we know the friends of friends, but if you are looking for someone special, you really want to expand your options and expose yourself to as many people as possible. The first step I usually recommend it to take a look at the profiles on Match.com and get a bit more comfortable with it.
One of the other services I offer to my clients is that if they aren’t comfortable meeting men in their every day lives, I will go out with them. In fact, I was out with a client last night. I give them tips such as this is how you break the ice, this is how you inspire a man to come talk to you, this is how you flirt with him and this is how you inspire him to want to ask you for your phone number and ask you out on a date.
I’ll actually go out with them and pretend I’m their friend, and the men don’t know anything. Afterword, I’ll say to them, this is what you did that was great, you really responded well to this, so with the next guy, why don’t you try doing that.
That’s sounds like fun and a great way to learn the art of flirting and meeting men.
Tracey: It’s a lot of fun. All of my private clients are also invited to my workshops, events and flirting parties. I host flirting parties where I’ll take a small group of women out to a bar or a party or to a park, wherever I think the type of men will be that I think the women want to meet. Just like I do for my private clients, one on one, I do that for women at the flirting party. That’s where I give women information on how to inspire men to come talk to want to date you.
The flirting parties are probably the most fun of the things I do. By the end of the night, all the women become best friends and they are rooting each other on. It’s just a really positive, fun, growing experience and I just really love it.
Another service I offer is emergency dating advice. Sometimes you are dating someone and you think everything is going great and then all of a sudden you have an argument or something like that. If that happens, I think I have a 99 percent rate of a session within 24 hours. I offer my clients unlimited emails if something happens. Sometimes they’ll think everything is going great and then the man they are dating will text them something and they don’t know quite how to interpret it. They’ll send it to me and I’ll give them advice.
It’s really important to me that my clients feel like I’m in the trenches with them. I want them to feel that they are not alone and that they have me there for them. I will do everything I can to help them have that vision that we created in the first session.
Anytime you put yourself in a situation where you don’t have a lot of experience, it can definitely be scary and you’re going to make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes and I think it’s really valuable to have someone knowledgeable on your team for when you have questions.
Not everyone has such a lovely outgoing personality like you do. What about women who are kind of shy and not as comfortable?
Tracey: That’s the beauty of online dating; you don’t have to break the ice. You can send a quick email. There are so many ways to meet people where you don’t have to be the life of the party. What I will say to any woman who is shy, and I know this is going to sound harsh, but you can’t date someone unless you meet them. As much as you are uncomfortable breaking out of your shell, it’s vitally important that you start to give men the message that you are open to speaking with them. You can’t have a boyfriend if you don’t say hello.
The woman I went out with last night kept saying, but I’m so shy. I kept saying to her, but I know how much you want to meet someone special. The reality is that you need to meet a lot of people before you meet someone special because not everyone’s available to everyone at every minute and not everyone’s right for everyone.
You have to put yourself out there. There are ways to do it that maybe are a little more comfortable, like a speed dating event where you don’t have to break the ice, or online dating where you don’t have to break the ice, that’s pretty much done for you. I tell my clients you should be going out with three or four different men a week, if you want to meet someone special because tons of them are not going to be right for you and you’re not going to be right for them.
I also tell my clients, if you want to buy a great pair of jeans, you go to Bloomingdales because they have a huge selection. You need to try all the jeans on to find out the ones that make your butt look great. You’re not going to walk in and just take the first pair you see. If you want to meet someone special, you need to find them.
I don’t think I know how to flirt, how can you learn that?
Tracey: I think everyone has the ability to flirt. A lot of people get stuck in their head. They’re thinking, I’m doing this wrong or I don’t know what to do; all this intellectual stuff. I tell my clients just release that and get in touch with the primal part of you. Say ooh, there’s a handsome man, I want to meet him and that would make me happy to meet him. Allow yourself to enjoy talking to him. When you are enjoying talking to a man, your eyes will light up, you’ll sparkle, you’ll be that beautiful, flirty woman that’s attractive. A healthy, confident man wants to be with a woman who appreciates him and who enjoys spending time with him. I really help my clients to get in touch with that part of them that is allowing them to express the fact that they are happy; that they are enjoying themselves, that they feel special and that they make the man that they are talking to feel special. That’s really what flirting is.
Is there anything you shouldn’t do when you start dating again? What if you can’t get over the bitterness of the past?
Tracey: You need to do work on yourself, because bitter is not attractive. If you put yourself out there while you’re bitter, like attracts like and you’re not going to be happy with who you attract. If you want to attract a healthy man you have to be a healthy women. You have to release that bitterness, you have to understand that everyone is different; you need to clean that bitterness off you in order to attract a man who’s healthy, positive, confident and available. A healthy confident man will not spend one minute with a bitter woman; they’re ugly. I don’t care if they look like a supermodel, they’re ugly. Any man would choose a healthy, confident, positive woman who is enjoying herself, who is enjoying him, over a supermodel who is bitter about her last relationship.
Tell me about your book.
Tracey: I’m so excited about my book. I am very much hoping it will be out in the next two months. It’s called, “Flirt for Fun & Meet the One: Dating Secrets From the Dateologist” It’s going to be targeted to women who are new or getting back into the dating scene. It’s basically about getting yourself physically and psychologically prepared for dating. It teaches you how to flirt, how to have that positive, beautiful attractive attitude where you are embracing the dating adventure, embracing life and feeling great about yourself.
The book talks about the different ways you can meet someone special - online dating, which we talked about, speed dating, singles events, meeting people in your everyday life. I have lots of clients who have met their future husbands in their everyday lives. Then it talks about how to be great on a date, put your best foot forward and be your most beautiful self. Of course, by beautiful self I don’t mean plastic surgery, I mean positive and just lovable.
Lot of women don’t know how to read the signals that a man is into them or he isn’t. How do you teach a woman to do that?
Tracey: Here’s the thing; men are really simple. Where are his feet? By that I mean, is he showing up? At the end of the day does he say, I had a great time, I’ll call you tomorrow, and does he call you tomorrow? If he calls you, does he ask you out for another date? When he asks you out does he do things to try to make you happy? Is he moving the relationship forward? Is he introducing you to his friends? Is he saying he wants to meet your friends? Is he inviting you to go away for the weekend?
Relationships go on a predictable path when they are moving forward. If it’s not going on that predicable path, then that’s the message. No relationship is ever perfect and every relationship is unique, but in general, if he is moving the relationship forward, then great, he’s in to you. If he’s not, than maybe it’s time for you to look elsewhere.
You never really need to ask yourself that. I work with men also and with them it’s a lot different. Then we have to sit down and figure stuff out because women are much more complicated. Men, if they want to see you, they say that they want to see you. If they’re not doing that then it means something else is keeping their attention. That message says you need to put your attention elsewhere.
How does body language play into flirting?
Tracey: Body language is everything. A lot of women get caught up in thinking. If you are thinking, you’re not in the moment and you’re not giving the right body language messages or perceiving the right body language messages. Worry less about thinking where should I put my hand, where should I put my foot, where should I do this and just focus on having the right mindset. If you are enjoying talking to a handsome man, you’re probably going to be smiling. If you are focused on him, you’re going to be giving him really beautiful eye contact.
As far as interpreting his body language - where are his feet? When he is talking to you, are his feet directed towards you, is he leaning in? Is he giving you 100 percent of his attention, while maybe smiling? Then he’s expressing positive things. On the other hand, if his feet are facing towards the door, he’s looking around and he keeps checking on his phone, then he’s not necessarily worthy of your full attention.
If you’ve been a relationship a long time you forget these things too. You’re married and you still flirt with your husband.
Tracey: Definitely! If ever there is a time to flirt, it’s with your husband. It’s more important to flirt with your husband than a guy you’ve known for a few hours. He’s the most important person in my life and I want to give him my best.
Thank you, Tracey! It was lovely speaking with you and learning about your program.
Everyone, do you have any post divorce dating questions or stories? Share your experiences in the comment box below.