JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

It's complicated: Getting back in the game

Date
Online datnig is one option for those looking to get back in the game post-break up.

Online datnig is one option for those looking to get back in the game post-break up.

“Should I put out a statement or something?” he asked, only half-joking.

“Something like, ‘Man, post long-term relationship, has resolved heartache, is ready to get back in the game. Not quite ready to settle, but will keep open mind. Now taking applications.’ What do you think - great idea?”

“Sure,” I reply, also only half joking. “I mean, you could just update your relationship status on Facebook –.” We laugh. We’d only just been discussing narcissism in social media and the immature online behaviour of our so-called ‘friends’. Surely the ‘[user X] is now single’ wall-blast qualified as such. Only megalomaniacs would be so look-at-me!

But the awkward pause that follows such hollow-humour had us squirming slightly. Though we’d been fashionably critical of the platform, there were no serious alternatives tipping our tongues – so was broadcasting the status of your love life really so tasteless? The poor man was actually facing a not unimportant quandary – there he was, ready to move on, and no clue what to do.

Hence, today’s subject; how do you relaunch your love life after the other one bites the dust?

One of the best assets to the newly single is their peer network. Especially in Australia where most of us tend to meet our future partners through friends, work or family. While it is likely intimates will be aware of what you’ve been going through, communicating your now-single changed status to people beyond your immediate social circle is tricky.

Yet through these people, and the people they know, may your new flame be found. Of course, unless they know you’re looking, how might they be found?

Facebook presents an easy solution. A simple status update alerts everyone to your newfound availability. But as we’ve previously discussed, there are a lot of reasons why this approach should be carefully considered before being executed. Not only might you invite a backlash, but you could foster tensions among the mutual friends you share with your ex, not to mention with your ex alone.

Perhaps a better way to go about things is to adopt a strategy familiar to effective job seekers. As the daughter of a human resources whiz, I’m well aware of the benefits associated with skills-selling, expectations management, buzz-words-ad-nauseum. Though perhaps it’s this well-worn mantra which is his most relevant; “Kate, it’s not what you know, but who”.

So, with dad’s job advice in mind, and the context of dating before us, here are a few suggestions about how one might remount that horse, pride intact. They’re designed to help get the word out, without using a blunt instrument.

1.            Refine your message – know what you want, and why

People say dating means ‘putting your self out there’. That’s true, to a degree, but it might be helpful to think of it as ‘putting your message out there’. Think about what you’re trying to say (ie. Single and looking to commit? Single and looking to meet people? Single and looking to ‘have fun’....). Too often people begin without thinking about where they want to go.

2.            Realise that your social network is bigger than you think (and is accessible offline).

Audit your contacts. Go through your phone and friends list, and take stock of how everyone fits together. Is there someone who may know someone interesting? Someone you once shared something with? Who are the people who could help spread the word to the right kind of people.

3.            Reflect on your communication skills, and communicate skilfully.

This means working on your attentive listening, body language, stress management and emotional intelligence. Once heeded, identify your best avenues of communication. Social media may play a part, but there’s nothing quite like face-to-face communication.

4.            Make contact – drop the message.

Start with your closest friends, and fan outwards – reason being they should know you best, and will be most sensitive to your situation.  Arrange to catch up so that you might make mention of your new position, and how you’re thinking of moving forward.

5.            Take the time to focus on building your relationships.

Whether they’re plantonic or potentially romantic, there’s no need to rush. This experience is about getting to know yourself, your friends and other people. It should be pleasurable, and leisurely.

And if all that fails, by all means, take out an ad, issue a statement or bomb your social media lists. But don’t say I didn’t warn you ...

How have you gone about getting back into the game post break-up? What lessons have you learned? Do you think a status update is a smart idea? Or do you think it’s best to branch out into new ground entirely – trying online or speed dating for example?

 

twitter  @katherinefeeney

tumblr  Tumblr

facebook  Facebook

kfeeney@fairfaxmedia.com.au

 

131 comments

  • G'day Kate.

    As a sexagenarian, and having enjoyed 40+ years of marriage, there is no way I can meaningfully comment on this topic.

    That said, from those to whom I've spoken to on this topic, two matters appear important.

    First, friends. But, for those with married friends, returning to single can sometimes be seen as a threat to the (others) marriage. Nevertheless, it appears having friends not only provides solace at the post break-up time but also helps (re)direct one's return to the partner hunting 'market'.

    Second, to be realistic about where a possible partner may be found. Several have told me that clubs & pubs are OK to mid 20's, but not thereafter. I'd not know about that, but I suppose the point is to be serious about what sort of place might be indicative of the sort of lifestyle the preferred 'other' might lead. That is, if one would prefer a white collar professional sort of person, then seeking same at pubs or car racing, etc. may be unproductive.

    Cheers

    Commenter
    Dalliance
    Date and time
    October 10, 2012, 8:20AM
    • Very often friends may be more a hindrance. Keep them as friends. Very often you need look outside of your circle, it is often limited. Look in the wider world. There are millions available out there. Can you expect your ONE to be in your small circle?
      The ‘what sort of place might be indicative of the sort of lifestyle the preferred 'other' might lead’ is very relevant. Do your life. That is where you will find the most compatible people.

      I’ve had many years since I lost my partner. Dating hasn’t really changed. The basics are the same. I’ll stay with my comment. Talk with people. Only then will you meet them, know them. Look for “ “ right now – and the now may disappear. Out there is someone for every one. Broaden your circle. Be available to someone who is looking for – maybe you.

      Commenter
      Dave
      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 9:26AM
    • "
      First, friends. But, for those with married friends, returning to single can sometimes be seen as a threat to the (others) marriage."

      Who sees this as a threat, the men or the women?

      Commenter
      Marc
      Location
      Brisbanew
      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 10:02AM
    • "First, friends. But, for those with married friends, returning to single can sometimes be seen as a threat to the (others) marriage."

      I experienced this. I belonged to a social group made up of couples, at first they were all very supportive when my marriage broke up, and continued to be for months, however when I announced that I was ready to and had started dating I was slowly invited around less and my texts/calls were answered less frequently, nothing had changed other than I had said I was dating, I even scheduled my dates to be on nights other than the regular nights I saw my friends so that it wouldn't have an impact on my friendships, and never once put seeing a man before seeing those who I considered close friends. I am not sure who was the driving force behind the slow close out but it was euqal from both the men and the women in the group of friends. I can't help but feel if I hadn't shared what I felt was good news that I was getting out there that I wouldn't have been given the cold shoulder.

      Commenter
      ScaryMonster
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 4:02PM
  • When I got back 'out there' I found it easy.
    I would approach ladies I didn't know and say hello. Based on their response / reaction would determine whether I could or should engage conversation.
    Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn't.
    All I knew was that if I wanted to meet that someone 'special' it was up to me to take the initiative.
    I failed many times, but am wiser for the experience.

    I don't think it requires courage, but a change in mind set for people to break out of their comfort zones and meet new people. That is a challenge in itself.

    Commenter
    I am the Walrus
    Location
    coocoo coojoo
    Date and time
    October 10, 2012, 8:34AM
    • Updating your Facebook status is for wimps!
      When asked what I do, I simply say I run a small networking site ... called .. ahemm ... Facebook. You've heard of it?
      Bonne chance!

      Commenter
      manystrings
      Location
      SEQld
      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 3:01PM
  • What if you've never been in the game in the first place? How do you even start when you're at the age where the only options left are the old men and guys who only want to date women 20 years younger than them?

    Commenter
    Miss Demeanor
    Date and time
    October 10, 2012, 8:49AM
    • There are a lot of guys not like that. Maybe even many who are hoping to meet you. (Some guys are backward at coming forward. Some even thinking they had no chance with you) Long gone are the days when women were wallflowers screaming pick me, pick me. You’re allowed to choose. You are allowed to pick a guy and start a conversation. It's not like you're asking him to marry you, you're just being friendly. I’ve had it happen more times than I could count. And often we’ve dated.

      Commenter
      Dave
      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 9:51AM
    • You should reflect on your life choices and how they got you to where you are now.

      Commenter
      Marc
      Location
      Brisbanew
      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 10:01AM
    • Open your field of vision, because they are not the only options available to you.
      It may seem that way, but it is up to you to change this. It is not up to men or other women or society. You have to take responsibility for this.
      How? I don't have all the answers, but I do recommend you be proactive in approaching men and don't think that every guy you meet 'has to be the one'.
      Just approach & say hello. If the opportunity presents itself, start up a conversation. Keep it cruisy and don't apply any commitment pressure. Who knows what may come of it?? The guy you say hello to may not be compatable, but he may introduce you to a mate of his who is.
      Remember one thing; How a person reacts to you is a reflection on them, not you. If they react negatively, then they have missed out.
      Not everyone is going to like you. That's the way of the world, but if you take a proactive step, you may find some people who will like you.
      Good luck

      Commenter
      I am the Walrus
      Location
      coocoo coojoo
      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 10:29AM

More comments

Comments are now closed
Featured advertisers

Horoscopes

Capricorn horoscope

Trust others to think for themselves. Don't be snobbish about what seems obvious. Everyone learns at their own pace, including you.

...find out more here