Ready for a new love in the new year? Dr. Ashley Anderson shares her tips for dating in 2023.
Written by Ashley Anderson | Photo by Kylene White
Being open to dating again after divorce or heartbreak is hard, and many often say that they’ll never do it again. In the depths of my transition, I remember saying that myself. I couldn’t fathom the day I could allow myself to love and be vulnerable again, but I am so glad I didn’t stay in that place.
I remember my therapist asking me if it was the desire of my heart to have a life partner. Instinctively, I answered, yes. Almost as if it were a mistake, I covered my mouth with my hands because I knew what that meant. It meant that I’d eventually have to get back out there and give love another try.
I challenge you to ask yourself that question. Do you have the desire for partnership? If the answer is yes, no matter how scary it might be, I suggest you go for it. Here are 5 tips I’d throw your way for dating in 2023.
Create and respect your own standards.
Before you stick your toe back into the water, you’ve got to be clear about what you’re looking for. Is this a season to play or a season to find the one to build a life with? What do you need in a partner? What did you learn in your marriage or relationship that can make the next one, the best one?
Also, consider how you need to show up better going forward. Be stern with your standards. While it may seem cut throat to those who don’t rise to the occasion, remember that you are indeed royalty, and deserve the very best. You deserve happiness, you deserve peace, you deserve to be loved wholly. Set your standard.
Date yourself first.
When we end relationships, especially those where we feel like we’ve lost ourselves, we have to embark on a period of rediscovery. Do you even know what you like any more? What do you enjoy? What makes you happy? What type places do you like to go? Spend some real time with yourself to figure this out. If you’re like me, it’ll take some soul searching and experimenting to find out who you are in this moment and what makes you happy. Do the work, first!
I decided that going forward, I would be exactly who I am no matter what. I’ll never again allow myself to be molded into any someone or something I’m not to please another human being. I know that if I ever fall in love again, I want to be in love with the real person. Likewise, I want that person to be in love with the real me. Good, bad, or otherwise, I want no false pretenses. This is me. Take it or leave it. This requires vulnerability, but I promise you, it’s worth it in the long haul.
Do not settle.
This goes back to the setting and respecting of standards, but I’m making this point again because it’s so important. Once you’ve allowed yourself to flirt with the idea of partnership and love again, you’re going to want it now! Impatience can breed some ugly or unworthy situations. Do not settle for less than you’re worth because you don’t want to be alone. Don’t settle out of fear that what you think you actually deserve doesn’t exist. I’m here to tell you that it does and you can absolutely have it! Stay the course!
One of the hardest things for me after divorce was to go out and be social. So many things about my social life were tied to my ex husband and I just didn’t feel like answering questions. I was also, quite frankly, nauseated by the thought of being approached by someone interested in dating me. As much as I wanted partnership, I wasn’t excited about getting out there to find it. Unless you’ve got great friends who are excellent matchmakers, you’re going to have to do a little mingling. Go out with friends who are a safe place for you, but who will also push you to be great! Just do it!
It’s a new year which means a new chapter of life. Don’t allow the disappointments or hurt from years past to enter 2023 with you. You deserve to be happy. You deserve the desires of your heart. You deserve to be loved and treated like the queen you are. Go for it!
Read Ashley Anderson’s Divorce column, “Navigating Holidays Post-Divorce“.