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Got Baggage? Tips to Get Back in the Dating Game

by Paige Parker
Author, "Dating Without Drama"
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This Article: The only way to overcome that fear is to face it and discover, through new experiences, that there are wonderful men out there.

 Isn't it funny how some movies and TV shows GLAMORIZE the single life?

They show fabulously dressed and perfectly coiffed women dashing through crowded city streets in their $600 designer shoes to meet their hunky date at the hottest new bar.

They sip fancy drinks, laugh, say things like, "your place or mine?" and, once they've had a little fun, move onto their next prospect without a second thought...much less a broken heart.

But let's get REAL.

MOST women don't change men like we change our shoes. (And the shoes WE wear cost $60, not $600!)

We get into relationships. These relationships get complicated, even messy. Hearts get broken. Sometimes, even though we marry with best intentions, marriages don't work out.

Unlike the women on these glamorous shows, we have REAL responsibilities in our lives beyond getting to our waxing appointment on time (for example, raising children from a previous relationship).

So what's a REAL woman with REAL feelings and a REAL past to do when a relationship ends and she's ready to get back in the dating game?

Well, that's what we're talking about in today's DISH!

Whether you're newly single after:

* the breakup of a long-term relationship
* divorce
* some self-imposed "alone time"

or any other reason...

I'm going to give you some TIPS that will help you get back on the dating scene in style!

So, let's get DISHING!


"How Do I Get Back In the Game After a Broken Engagement?"


Here's a recent question from a reader:

Dear Paige,
For nearly three years I was dating my ex-fiance, but after finding out that he cheated on me for nearly the whole three months we were engaged, I broke off the relationship.

Now here it is almost two and a half years later, I have began to wonder is there a such thing as "True Love?"

Since my ex, every man I have thought about getting close to I always find some way to make them my friend and I don't ever cross that line. Is this normal or am I using the friendship excuse to avoid moving on?

My ex was married with in a year of us ending our nearly three year relationship. At times I feel as though I should be married and starting a family myself, but at the same time I also feel as though I don't ever want to settle down.

Paige, I am needing some outside advice. Some of my family and friends tell me it's time to start dating again and others tell me not to rush things. What do YOU think?


"New Experiences Will Help You Learn to Trust Again"


My response:

Dear Shelby,
I'm sorry to hear about your broken engagement, but I am so proud of your strength to end a relationship where you weren't being treated with the love and respect you deserve.

Speaking of, you ask me if I believe that "true love" exists. My short answer is: yes, absolutely, but I'd like to clarify.

My definition of "true love" is not to be confused with the fairy tale, happily-ever-after, everything-is-rainbows-and-sunshine misconception.

REAL couples have challenges to overcome and disagreements to work through. But when it's TRUE LOVE, both people care for and respect one another as individuals and are committed to working together to allow one another to grow and become their best selves, as well as make sacrifices and compromises for the good of the relationship.

(I explain exactly what a 'Drama-free' relationship looks like - and how to go about creating one - in Chapter 14 of 'Dating Without Drama.')

Now let's talk about your pattern of establishing friendships with men. It seems to me that this is your way of dipping your toe into the dating pool (so to speak) without jumping in completely, and I think that's just fine. It's only natural that you would have some trust issues with men after discovering that your fiance had cheated on you, and developing friendships with the opposite sex probably feels like a 'safe' way to spend time with men and enjoy their attention without making yourself too vulnerable.

That being said, if one day you want to enjoy all of the wonderful things that go along with a romantic relationship, you'll eventually have to jump in that pool. The good news is, once you date a few men who are faithful and considerate, that positive reinforcement will make your fear of betrayal start to melt away. So I encourage you, when you feel ready, to allow yourself to date a man you're interested in before he crosses into the 'friend zone' and get some new experiences under your belt. Soon you will feel stronger and more in control of your dating destiny.

You'll notice that I said 'when YOU feel ready' to date. Your family and friends love you and want to see you happy, so of course some of them will to try to pep-talk you into getting back into the dating game. You asked me what *I* think you should do.

The truth is, only YOU will know when you're ready to date again, and it won't be the result of a calculated decision. It will have nothing to do with comparing your personal time table to your ex's. As much as it may hurt to see that your ex has moved on so quickly, remember that it doesn't necessarily mean that he's HAPPY. Don't use his life choices as a measuring stick by which to evaluate where you are at any moment in time. There is a wonderful plan for your life, and he foolishly forfeited his right to be a part of it. In fact, he doesn't deserve another second of your energy thinking about him!

When you're ready to move on, you'll feel the shift within you. You'll naturally begin to feel attracted to new and interesting men. You'll feel an openness in your heart and a desire to connect with another person.

Just don't confuse FEAR with not being ready.

Every woman who takes that brave leap back into the dating world after a break feels some apprehension, but the only way to overcome that fear is to face it and discover, through new experiences, that there are wonderful men out there (who are nothing like your ex). TRUE LOVE *does* exist, but you can't find it if you never open your heart again.

I wish you every happiness in the world."


"I'm a Single Mom...I Need Encouragement to Get Back in the Dating Game"


Here's another question from a reader:

Hi Paige,
I have now been single for a little over 12 months and have taken this time to sort through all of my baggage from my previous 8 year relationship, I now feel like I am ready to enter into the dating world.

I seem to be having a couple of problems in doing this.

1. I was so young when I first got together with my ex I don't really feel like I have any dating skills.

2. I have a child and whenever I mention that fact (my daughter is someone that I am very, very proud of and feel extremely blessed to call mine) they all run for the hills screaming that they are not ready for anything serious.

I, at this point just want to start getting my feet wet and have some fun, the prospect of having to kiss a few "frogs" is all part of the fun. I am not looking to replace my child's father nor am I looking for a new one for her.
Please help me overcome my problems.


"Single Mamas CAN Date Without Drama!"


My Response:

Hi Kathleen,
Before I get to the meat of your question I want to say a little something about the term 'baggage.' Now this might not apply to you, but I worry that amazing women just like you might get down on themselves, thinking that they have all this 'emotional baggage' from their past that weighs them down and makes them somehow less lovable or desirable to a new man.

Our life story - our past, our choices, even our mistakes - is what make us who we are (strong, resilient, interesting, dynamic - I could go on).

So as I say in 'Dating Without Drama,' I challenge you - and all my readers - to 'think of your so-called 'baggage' as a fabulous accessory - a gorgeous designer handbag, if you will, filled with valuable life lessons and glowing pearls of wisdom that you've learned from your years of experience.'

Deal? on to your question!

You say that you don't feel like you have any dating skills. First let me say that almost everyone feels this 'rusty' feeling when they venture out onto the dating scene again after a break. In my opinion, dating success is 30% skill and 70% confidence, and I can help you with both of those!

Unfortunately I can't take you through all of the advice I have for you here since it would be a book...
...But the good news is, I already wrote one!

Have you checked out 'Dating Without Drama' yet? In it, you'll learn:

* how to attract and meet great men
* how to flirt and use body language like a pro
* step-by-step strategies to make an irresistible impression on a date
* the rules about calling (emails, IMs & text messages too!)
* how to take your relationship from casual to committed
* communication skills
* and MORE

I even devote a chapter to the second part of your question (Chapter 12, the section entitled 'Dating Without Drama... for Single Mamas)

But until you get a chance to read Chapter 12, here's a sneak peek at what I have to say about those men who "run screaming for the hills" when you tell them you have a daughter:

'LET THE LOSERS RUN! Sure, there are guys out there who might get freaked out when they learn that you have a kid. I say, let them run! You're looking for a quality man who will love you for everything you are and will welcome your child(ren) into his life. If he bails in the beginning, good riddance! He wasn't the right one for you or your wonderful family. Remember, there are a lot of guys out there and you only need to find ONE good man to make a match.'

Refer to Chapter 12 for tips on how to let potential dates know about your single mom status, and Chapter 3 for creative places to meet good guys.

I hope this helps, Kathleen! Please send me an update and let me know how you're doing!"


"I'm Going On My First Date Since My Divorce and I Need Reassurance!"


Check out this reader question:

Hi Paige!
I am halfway through your book and I'm very thankful to have this as a guide. I was doing OK by myself and after the break up of my 17 year marriage I decided to join a Catholics' singles group. I saw that was one of your suggestions, so at least I'm on the right track!

I have my first date coming up this Saturday! I met a nice man at a group gathering last weekend and have a date for next weekend. Dinner and then out to a dance recital at a big theatre in the City. I've been nervous since I haven't dated since I was 19. I guess all this stuff applies to divorcees too? He's divorced and so am it should be quite interesting. I'm very nervous and I'm hoping to finish your book by next Saturday.

Any suggestions for the newbie who hasn't been out in almost 20 years like this? Is it different when you're "older" and have had some life experience with marriage and kids? I'm going to memorize your first date rules prior to Saturday, but wondered if you had any other advice? I'm 38 and he's 48. He has a daughter and I have a daughter and a son. We share the same faith...after that...not sure what to do next!!! HELP!


"You Can't Get to 'Perfect' Without Practice, So Take the Pressure Off This Date"


My Response:

Hi Dawn,
You are going to be great on Saturday. You sound like such a bright, intelligent, fun woman.

You mention that you're halfway through my book... You might want to flip right to Chapter 12, the section entitled 'Dating Without Drama...After Divorce.'

Until you get a chance to dig in, I want to point out two important points from that chapter for you to remember on your date:


As you start to date again, don't forget to enjoy yourself! Think of it as an exciting adventure - a chance to get out, experience new things and new people. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to get serious right away. In fact...


It's a common phenomenon for women who've gone through a divorce to fall head over heels for the first new man they meet. This isn't always the healthiest thing that can happen. That's because they might not be seeing that new man for who he is, but rather who he is NOT (anything like their ex-husband). After years of experiencing the security that comes from being in a marriage, it's only natural to seek out a partnership with someone else to regain that sense of security, but try to resist that urge until you have a more solid foothold on your own life. I'm not saying that it isn't possible that the next man you meet will be the right one for you, but until you're sure that you're seeing things for what they truly are, keep your eyes open...and your heart open to the possibility that there are other men out there for you.'

In addition to the first date advice in my book, all I can say is just enjoy yourself! The best dates are when you take the pressure off yourself and realize that it doesn't HAVE to go perfectly.

Be yourself, laugh, EAT (guys love it when women actually eat on dates rather than pick at a tiny salad!)... and remember that every date is worth it - even the not-so-fabulous ones - because it's an opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you're looking for in a man.

You already know about one another's children so there's already that level of acceptance before date 1. My advice is just to remember that you are amazing and you have so much to offer the man you decide to share your time with. Be confident and know what a catch you are - confidence is soooo sexy!

Do me a favor and let me know how it goes, ok? I'll be thinking of you next weekend!"

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I hope today's Dish has been REASSURING (you're not the only one who's gearing up to get back on the dating scene)...

ENCOURAGING (with a little confidence boost and some brushing-up on your skills you'll be a dating diva again in NO time)...

and MOTIVATING (you're ready to learn how, NOW!).

Learn exactly how to get back in the dating game - and play to WIN - with the NEW rules for modern dating. They're all in my e-book, "Dating Without Drama!"

To download your very own copy (and get the answers you're hungry for NOW before you plunge back into the dating pool) just Click Here

Have a fabulous, flirty, drama-free weekend!
Write ya again soon.
Your friend,

PS - Got a friend who's getting back in the game? Spread the love and share my tips - forward her this article now!


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