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Dating after heartbreak

Trust me, it does get better

Dating after a tough breakup can be about as much fun as having a root canal while undergoing laser hair removal. But it doesn't have to be. I've been through the trenches and have some real life tips to help you enjoy dating again and feel stronger than ever. Really!

Girl distracted while on a dinner date

The last thing you need is sugar-coated advice on "how to get over your man in 3 easy steps." I get it. No sugar coating here. Only real deal advice, forged in the fire of down and dirty life experience. I've been there more than my fair share of times. Not in a Taylor Swift sort of way, but you get the picture. After my divorce, I thought I'd never want to date again. Date was truly a four letter word in my book and the thought of online dating made me queasy.

Not that I didn't like men or sex. Fact is, I really like men and sex. I mean who doesn't want amazing sex and fabulous companionship all wrapped up in a handsome package? I just didn't know how the heck to get myself out there again. And honestly, I felt less than confident about my dating mojo. I know you can relate. No matter how a relationship ends, your confidence is shaken.

So picture this:

(Don't judge) There I was late one night in my comfiest, sex-repelling sweats, torturing myself with one of 'our' songs, tipping back the entire bottle of merlot, while watching The Notebook with the sound off and it hit me...

Sex. I really wanted to have sex that didn't require AA batteries. Not to mention I was tired of spending my free nights reliving the breakup like it was in syndication. This was the now and it was time to move forward.

My 'Dating After Breakup' battle plan

Look HOT

OK, so this sounds shallow and cliche, but it's true. We feel good when we know we look good. And that my friend makes you one confident, sexy mama. Every woman, and I mean every woman, has a best feature. Play that up. Here are some tips:

  1. Eat healthier. Feel better inside and out. And I don't mean diet, yuck! You've got enough on your plate to start counting calories. Just add some more good stuff to your daily diet and eliminate some of the bad. Try this amazing juice for glowing skin: Juice your way to a flawless face.
  2. Buy a few new outfits. I purposefully chose outfits that were flirty and fitted, and in colors that made my skin tone look fabulous. Definitely splurge on some sexy undies too! Date night undies always make you feel confident.
  3. Get a fun, new haircut. Maybe a new 'do will be just the ticket for a total feel good transformation. I was in luck — I had a great friend that's a stylist and she helped me change my color, add highlights and then really focus on making my hair healthier.

Get out and DO stuff

  1. Go play. Whatever that means to you. I chose to start exercising more regularly and it really gave me an energy boost and it was a great stress reliever. You don't have to go full New York Marathon crazy, just add in some fun activities that get you moving. If you're already a workout junkie, spice up your routine with something fresh like DDP Yoga.
  2. Focus on YOU. Do something you love to do, or try an activity that you've always thought looked fun but never took the time to dive into. Don't laugh, but I took a six week exotic dance class and loved every confidence-boosting minute of it. And trust me, I'm anything but graceful. Connecting with other women and laughing at myself was priceless.

Dating re-do

  1. Think outside the box. Recreating Mr. Wrong seems to be a groove we all get stuck in. Before I even created one dating profile, I wrote down what I knew didn't work for me in a man. Next I wrote down a few, I mean a few ladies — nobody is perfect — must-have traits. It's OK to stand by your deal-breakers, but for your best shot at dating bliss, be open to looking outside your usual type.
  2. Gulp. Online dating. It's really not as bad as it might sound. Everybody does it. These days, how else do you meet? Unless you have a career where you network with a lot of new people on a constant basis, you're stuck with Happy Hour and your bestie's cousin that just moved here from Jersey. Neither is a great option. There are lots of great dating sites that cater to just about any interest or lifestyle. Google away! Once you find a site you like, create your profile, and hit submit. This might be the hardest part, but you can do it.
  3. Next up? Have fun. Yep, I said that. Enjoy the winks, the compliments, the emails and the chats. It's not a job, although it can feel like that at first, so just sit back and enjoy. The single most important advice I can give you (based on my painful learning curve) is to meet up sooner rather than later. As soon as I felt any connection, I set up a coffee date. I explained up front that this was just a 20 minute chemistry check. Don't be shy! Trust me, you don't want to waste your time endlessly flirting back and forth with someone only to find out that he's only 5'1", balding and snorts when he laughs. Unless you like that kind of thing.
  4. Keep having fun. Online dating isn't your only option, it's just the low-hanging fruit. I made myself get out more, went to neighborhood parties, got involved in a local charity and joined a hiking group. Honestly, I didn't meet Brad Pitt, but I did make a new network of cool friends and had a great time doing it.

Nike was right. Just do it. Do it just to enjoy the experience. You're not on a mission to find the love of your life. You're on a mission to love your life and make lasting connections. You will find that someone special along the way. I did. And I'm stronger and happier than ever.

More on dating

Dating tips for singles
Why guys love confident girls
6 First date dos and don'ts

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