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“How I Got Back In The Game”


8 recently divorced singles share their secrets for returning to the dating scene. Benefit from their wisdom!

By Hillary Quinn

our breakup is behind you. You’re putting the pieces of your life back together, little by little, and now you’re ready to take the plunge into the world of dating again. It’s thrilling—but then you have one of those I-have-no-idea-how-to-do-this moments. To help you take the first step, try these clever strategies for meeting new people—we gathered them from suddenly-single folks across the country who revealed how they got back in the game...

Try camp for grownups
“I went to Club Getaway and relived my youth all over again. I water-skied, went mountain
“I gave myself the goal of initiating one new conversation a day.”
biking, played volleyball, had excellent food, and watched great entertainment in the evenings. Even though it was technically a ‘singles’ weekend, the pressure wasn’t there because I was busy doing all the things I enjoy but hadn’t been able to do since I was a kid. It really revved me up and got me ready to get mingling again.”
Karen Mulfield, Merrick, NY

Adopt a new attitude
“I adopted a philosophy that all men weren’t bad…just my ex was bad. It gave me a positive frame of mind that allowed me to meet new people.”
Maureen Lico, Woodway, WA

Give cyber-dating a shot
“Initially, I refused to try online dating. Instead, I gave each person in my life a mission: They had to set me up on one blind date. So I went out on a bunch of dates with men who were sweet but not right for me, and when that well ran dry, I decided to sign up with an online dating site. After two not-so-hot dates, I met my current boyfriend! Never hurts to try the stuff you swore you wouldn’t…”
Melanie Mannarino, Springfield, NJ

Dive into the work pool
“Even though it’s considered taboo, I decided to skip the usual dating scene and stick to taking out people I knew from work—it felt more comfortable to me. I noticed one attractive woman and began saying “Hi” to her every day. For a few weeks, we’d stop and
“I networked for dates through my co-workers versus going to bars.”
chat in the halls. Finally, I asked her to join me on a Saturday hike so I could get to know her a little better. That date started at 6:30 a.m. and ended the next day—eventually, I married her! So I’d say fishing off the company pier can work out very well.”
Henry Petitgirard, Kenmore, WA

Go for the burn
“I know it sounds trite, but the one thing that worked for me after my divorce was to recognize that I was consciously risking being hurt all over again, to tell myself that there’s no gain without pain. That attitude allowed me to find happiness with my new wife.”
Michael Pfeffer, Honolulu, HA

Chat like crazy
“During my marriage, I got used to just talking to my co-workers, my couple of friends and my husband. When I got divorced, I had to teach myself all over again how to chit-chat with people. Because I was just walking around as if I had a force-field surrounding me, not saying a peep to anyone! I gave myself the goal of initiating one conversation a day and focused on how to make comments that would get more than a nod or a yes/no answer. Things like, ‘Do you know a good bookstore near here?’ or, at a café, ‘Excuse me, I’m bored with my usual latte—any recommendations on a good new drink to try?’ Each time I started a conversation (even if it didn’t go that far), I felt a little more at ease, and now I’m the kind of person who meets people everywhere!”
Donna Fontaine, West Orange, NJ

Do the deed
“After my divorce, I lost 130 pounds. I hadn't had sex in years, and — in my case, at least — it was time! My girlfriend and I went out on a mission to find me a decent partner—and we succeeded! As horrid and trampy as it may sound, I think that getting it out of the way allowed me to go on with my life and get back into the single world without all of the nervous sex issues—where, when, whom, etc. The guy didn’t turn out to be a long-term thing, but afterwards, I felt more confident. Eventually, I started a fat-free lunch club at work and met — and married — the new doctor who brought in the best veggie manicotti!”
Julia Havey, St. Louis, MO

Keep very busy
“After my divorce, I had no desire to go out to the bars to find a date, so I made a conscious effort to get involved in as many activities as possible… from coaching my daughter’s youth soccer team to becoming president of my homeowner’s association. The benefit was that I was able to truly engage in my life and meet new people who led to other connections while learning new skills.”
Rosanne Herrera, Newark, CA


Hillary Quinn is a freelance writer in Washington who has contributed to Redbook, Maxim, Bride’s and Self.
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