Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

7 Steps For Getting Back in the Dating Game

Dos and Don'ts of a New Relationship
I’m like the stupid girlfriend you spoke of in “He Doesn’t See a Future with Me” (dated September 7, 2011). Like the LW, my boyfriend told me he didn’t see a future will me. Even though I was looking for a long-term commitment and he told me up front that he did not want to ever get married again, I chose to stay with him. He was 56 and had been married three times already when I met him. Plus, when I asked him once if he still loved his third wife, he replied that he’d ALWAYS love her.

I have hung in there for years – enjoying his companionship, vacations, and intimacy with him – hoping against hope that he’ll wake up one day and miraculously he’ll want to be married again because I’ll be the one he wants to be married to. We “date” each other exclusively and say “I Love You” to each other all the time, but it’s frustrating and lonely because it seems to be going nowhere.

And now, here I am eight years later (not getting any younger), and today, when I broached the subject of marriage with him, he told me that he COULDN’T IMAGINE spending his life with me. OUCH. This morning I took off the ring he gave me a couple years ago (a diamond ring – but NOT an engagement ring, mind you) and now I have to get back in the game. But how??? No internet or dating websites for me. HELP. ME. PLEASE. — Not Getting Any Younger

How To Get Back in the Dating Game:

1. Get over your ex first!
Seriously, why are you so intent on getting back in the game immediately? The rest of your life isn’t going anywhere. It will still be there if you take six months (at least!) to cleanse your palate after the end of your eight-year relationship. In fact, to move directly into dating again without processing this breakup and letting yourself heal a bit would be a mistake. You’d carry the same issues that you had with your ex into the next relationship and you’d almost certainly let whatever bitterness you feel about the way things went down with him steer and affect your search for a new man. You’ll know you’re ready for the dating game again when you no longer get mad or sad thinking about your ex.

2. Decide what you’re looking for.
Do you want a life/marriage partner, a booty call, a FWB, a casual date, a rebound? Get clear about what it is you want and what it is you don’t want. Then, when you begin meeting potential dates, get clarity from them as soon as you can about what they’re looking for and, if it’s not a match, MOA and don’t waste another day, let alone eight years, hoping they “miraculously” decide they want what you want, with you. Knowing exactly what you’re looking for makes it much easier to recognize when you find it…and much easier to recognize when you’ve found something different and need to move on.

3. Change up your routine.
If you want to meet new people, start doing new things. Take a different route to work. Stop at a different coffee shop before heading into the office. Go to a different cafe for lunch (or simply go out for lunch once or twice a week if you usually brown bag it). Set up some post-work happy hours. Take some classes — photography, pottery, rock climbing, etc. The more you change your routine, the more likely you are to meet different people and the more likely one of those people might be someone you end up dating.

4. Give yourself an upgrade.
Call it a post-breakup makeover. Consider a haircut or a new color. Go to a makeup counter at a department store and ask for new makeup samples and suggestions. Increase your exercise and improve your diet to improve your fitness and release feel-good endorphins. Buy some new outfits that make you feel good about yourself, especially if you drop a few pounds from your new fitness routine. When you feel attractive, you’ll start attracting attention.

5. Set up online dates.
You’re doing yourself a big disservice ruling out the internet and dating sites. Lots of people meet their long-term match in such a way, especially if they’re older, have been out of the dating game a while, and don’t find themselves meeting many new/single people in their everyday lives. Even if you don’t meet Mr. Right, just setting up a profile, interacting with people, and maybe going on a few dates is a wonderful way to further define what you’re looking for and to practice dating again if you’re a little rusty. Try OKCupid, eHarmony, and Match.com, and follow these online dating tips to maximize your success rate.

6. Ask your friends, family, and co-workers to introduce you/set you up with anyone they think might be a good match for you.
To cast an even wider net, ask people you know and trust and like to be on the look-out for potential dates. They know people you don’t know and maybe some of those people — or one of those people, because it only takes one — will be the one you’ve been looking for. “Do you know any single guys you think I might like?” is the best way to initiate a social-circle search. Lots of people love playing match-maker, especially if it results in two people they genuinely like getting together and having a happy relationship, or at least a fun date.

7. Smile at strangers.
You never know who might smile back — or where that smile might lead!


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

20 comments… add one
  • Ale June 29, 2015, 8:23 am

    Why is it that some people are such @sses and wait 8 years to tell you they don’t see a future with you?

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    • jlyfsh June 29, 2015, 8:31 am

      He didn’t wait though. She admitted she knew what he wanted from the beginning and ‘hung’ around hoping he would change. This is again a lesson in when someone tells you what they are/what they want believe them. Sticking around for years in hopes that they change gets you nowhere.

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      • Ale June 29, 2015, 8:53 am

        He said he didn’t want to get married, not that he didn’t see a future with her. I see a difference there, even if you don’t want to get married you could see a future with someone. Of course the LW did wrong waiting for him to change his mind, and I hope her lesson is learned.

      • jlyfsh June 29, 2015, 9:07 am

        She also said he said that he didn’t see a future with her. ‘Like the LW, my boyfriend told me he didn’t see a future will me.’ I guess I only feel so sorry for her. She only stayed because she hoped by some miracle he would change her mind and decide to marry her.

      • Ale June 29, 2015, 9:25 am

        Yeah, “today”, he told her that today. That he didn’t see a future with her, after being 8 years together.

        I guess I feel for her, because the same thing happened to me. An ex-boyfriend of mine told me he didn’t want to get married (yet) and I stayed because marriage wasn’t that important to me anyways. Also, I was 25, so I didn’t want to get married righ then. After 7 years together he told me he didn’t see a future with me. Veeeeery different thing than “I don’t want to get married yet”. So I left.

      • jlyfsh June 29, 2015, 9:33 am

        This person never said yet he said I don’t ever want to marry again. She knew he wanted something different than her and she stayed hoping he would change. It wasn’t that marriage wasn’t necessarily important to her in that moment, she just hoped he would change his mind. She has to recognize where she went wrong, and it sounds like she still wants to make him out to be the only bad guy in this equation.

      • Ale June 29, 2015, 9:58 am

        Of course she was wrong. She waited for someone who had his mind made up. But I still see a big difference between “I dont want to get married ever” and “I dont see a future with you”.

      • Monica M June 29, 2015, 1:21 pm

        I agree with you Ale. He was shady and only told her he saw no future when she brought up marriage again. If she had stayed quiet he would of kept stringing her along. She should have gotten out earlier but I agree he seems manipulative. He wanted all the benefits without any of the costs.

  • pamplemousse June 29, 2015, 8:43 am

    @Ale, the LW acknowledged that her boyfriend told her from the start he didn’t see a future with her and that he didn’t want to get married again. She chose to stay with him hoping he’d change his mind.

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    Miss MJ June 29, 2015, 8:44 am

    I don’t know…never wanting to get married again while still being exclusive and saying “I love you” seems far different than “I cannot imagine spending the rest of my life with you.” Dude probably could have mentioned that around the time he gave the LW a non-engagement diamond. Nevertheless, Wendy’s tips are great. Listen to her, LW, nand feel good about getting out of a dead end relationship when you did, even if you now wish you’d done it sooner.

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    • Truelight June 29, 2015, 1:01 pm

      I have a number of friends who’ve been together for years- sometimes decades- who don’t want to marry, so ITA. It sounded to her like this was leading somewhere, even if it wasn’t perfect. Now she knows it was a blind alley, and she’s doing the sensible thing in getting out since she knows where she stands.

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  • pamplemousse June 29, 2015, 8:50 am

    Sorry to repeat jlyfsh’s comment. Must have been sitting in moderation while I was making my comment.

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    kare June 29, 2015, 9:37 am

    I’m definitely saving this for when I decide to try dating again. Number 6 is hard though. My mom meets tons of single guys at her job and says they’re so wonderful and would be perfect for me, except she thinks anything more than a 4 year age difference is unacceptable.

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    juliecatharine June 29, 2015, 10:19 am

    LW, please follow #1. You appear to have ended an eight year relationship in the last 24 hours. I know you’re feeling the pressure of time but we all know break ups aren’t as clean as just saying the words and moving on. You need some time to reconnect with your single self. Give yourself the gift of dating when you’re in a healthy state of mind because chances are that’s when you’ll attract a healthy partner. Good luck, you can learn from this and come out stronger on the other side.

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    findingtheearth June 29, 2015, 10:21 am

    I kind of understand the long term commitment. My mom has been with her boyfriend for 10 years. They both have been married before and don’t really see a point in doing it again.

    However, when he says he can’t imagine a life with you, then that’s a sign to move on.

    To me, the ring and marriage isn’t the end all. You can be happy together without all the big ceremony stuff.

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  • K June 29, 2015, 11:26 am

    Consider Meetup groups through meetup.com – you can join a walking/hiking group, book club, dog lovers group, anything that strikes your fancy. It’s a great way to meet new people, with less pressure than online dating. But please do consider online dating. I’m not sure how old you are, but my dad met his girlfriend on eHarmony when he was around 60. My boyfriend’s dad also found his girlfriend through online dating. Online dating is for all ages.

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  • Truelight June 29, 2015, 1:05 pm

    LW, please, if you do nothing else on the list, follow step 1. Your ex jerked you around in part because he claimed to be hung up on his previous wife. Don’t do that to someone else. You of all people know how much it hurts. The best revenge in this scenario is to NOT do unto others as your ex did to you. You’re better than that.

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  • Laura Hope June 29, 2015, 3:42 pm

    I know this sounds really hippie dippie but I believe that we are much more powerful than we could ever imagine. If we really want something and really believe we will have it, we will. Ever see the movie “The Secret”? I think it does actually work that way. I use it all the time and in fact, I was recently upset because I couldn’t find a job but when I used the Secret one just fell in my lap. So…the first thing I would do is really look at your issues. Do you really want a life partner? Why did you stay with this unavailable guy for so long? Maybe you’re playing out some drama? I don’t know but when you really know you want a committed partner and know it’s right for you, you will attract that person.The universe will provide what you need. I know, I know but if I listed all the impossible things that have happened in my life, you wouldn’t believe me. But they did.

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  • Jenniferw June 29, 2015, 7:03 pm

    Wow. What that mam said was downright cruel. There’s a huge difference between not wanting to marry again and telling someone that you absolutely cannot even imagine being with them. I wonder why he stuck around for 8 years? Seems a long time to be waiting for something better.

    That being said, I was dating a guy I’d call the eternal bachelor. No marriage or children for him ever he always said and he was in his 40s. He never even lived with anyone. 7 months after we broke up he got married and she was 3 months pregnant. What a blow to my ego when I realized he just didn’t want those things with me. Thank god it wasn’t 8 years invested. I hope the letter writer doesn’t have to go through something like that.

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    Nookie June 30, 2015, 4:45 am

    Number 1 is so important and I see so many that jump right back into the dating pool. Take some time off and enjoy single life, reconnect with you are before looking for someone to complement that.

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