Does he consider you girlfriend material?

How to Date After a Long-Term Relationship

by Parker Janney

Getting out of a long-term relationship and finding yourself single once again can be terrifying. You might wonder if you have what it takes to get back out there or if you're still "girlfriend material." Certainly, after being in a relationship with one person for years, your dating skills can get a bit rusty and the experience can feel plain awkward. Your children might not know what to make of the situation either. Develop confidence in your new life as an empowered single woman by taking things slow and being true to yourself.

Cool Off

Give yourself a cool-off period between your last relationship and your return to the dating scene. If you have a habit of jumping right from one relationship to the next, you might want to establish a self-imposed celibacy or a "no-dating" period, during which you resolve to not have sex or date. The transition into single life is important because it gives you the opportunity to devote time to the most important relationship you'll ever have -- the one with yourself.


Take some time to do an inventory of your last relationship. As you find yourself feeling ready to date again, reflect on what you loved and what you couldn't stand about your last relationship. You may want to even write these thoughts down in a journal or say them out loud to a friend. Taking stock of what worked for you in your long-term relationship and what didn't will give you a clearer picture of what you want your next relationship and partner to be like.

Be the Ideal Partner

Be the partner that you are hoping to attract. If you are looking for a partner who is emotionally available, financially stable and mature, you probably won't attract him if you are emotionally withholding, chronically jobless and drinking away your weekends with your girlfriends from college. Rather than trying to find a man who embodies all the traits you wish you had, try to be those things yourself. Like attracts like, after all.

Tell Your Children

Have a discussion with your children about your desire to date again. Your children may not have been too pleased when you decided to break it off with the last guy, and they might feel apprehensive about you allowing anyone new into the picture. Express how important it is for you to be able to express emotional intimacy with another adult in an equal relationship. You may even ask them to share with you their honest feelings about your last partner and what they liked or didn't like about him or your relationship. Honoring your children's feelings with your desire to date recognizes that your dating life affects the entire family structure.


  • Dating After 50: Negotiating the Minefields of Mid-Life Romance (The Best Half of Life); Sharon Romm
  • From Ex to Next!: An Empowered Woman's Guide to Dating after Breakup or Divorce; Kim Hess and Michael Masters
  • Saving Your Second Marriage Before It Starts Workbook for Women: Nine Questions to Ask; by Les Parrott and Leslie Parrott
  • SheKnows: Dating again after a long-term relationship

About the Author

Parker Janney is a web developer and writer based in Philadelphia. With a Master of Arts in international politics, she has been ghostwriting for several underground publications since the late 2000s, with works featured in "Virtuoso," the "Philadelphia Anthropology Journal" and "Clutter" magazine.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images