Love yourself first.

How to Find Love After a Loveless Marriage

by Elise Wile

If you've been in a loveless marriage, you may have a difficult time recognizing authentic love when you see it. To recognize it, you must learn to love yourself first. Once you're in a place of healing and self-acceptance on the heels of a loveless marriage, set your standards high and keep your search for love secondary to your desire to live the best life you can live on your own. You'll recognize a loving partner when you find him if you're coming from a place of self-love rather than one of desperation.

1. Heal Yourself

Before you dive into another relationship, take the time to heal from your last one. Being in a loveless marriage can make you feel unworthy of being fully loved by a partner, and the last thing you want to do is to unconsciously attract yet another unloving man into your life. Allow yourself time to grieve the demise of your marriage, advises Grace Pamer, writing for the dating site YourTango.com. Once you've regained your emotional health, you'll be ready to look for a new love.

2. Re-invent Yourself

Living in a loveless marriage can grind you down, says journalist Pamela Cytrynbaum, writing for "Psychology Today." Now that you're free from that dull prison, use the time you have to find yourself once again, or re-invent yourself if you'd like to make some changes. If you've always admired women who have the courage to do public speaking or leap out of an airplane, become that person. Once you've fully grown into who you want to be, you'll be ripe for a relationship with a man who can fully appreciate you.

3. Look in the Right Places

Once you're ready for a new relationship, don't make the mistake of looking in the wrong places, Pamer says. Entering the dating scene again by going to bars or going on blind dates can cause setback-inducing stress. Instead, live your life abundantly and do the things you would like to do with a partner. Chances are you'll meet plenty of eligible men as you hike the first leg of the Appalachian Trail or teach a continuing-education class about integrating art into everyday life.

4. Set High Standards

Set your standards high so you won't be tempted to fall back into old patterns when you meet new people. Instead of agreeing to a date with the somewhat emotionally cold man who may have personality traits similar to your ex-husband, hold out for someone who is kind, generous and accepting. While it may feel uncomfortable to date someone so different from your ex at first, waiting for such a person will pay off in the long run when you've at last found the love you were looking for.

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