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08th Sep 2018

#AgonyCant I’ve just gotten out of a five year relationship and I don’t know how to date

five year relationship

agony can't

“I’m 22 and broke up with my boyfriend of five years.

“I haven’t made any effort to get back out there but now I feel ready and want to, but I’ve realised I don’t know how to.

“I feel weird about setting up a Tinder just because I wouldn’t know what to put on it. What should I do? 

The first thing to bear in mind is that it’s totally OK to not make an effort to start dating if you’re not ready.

Five years is a long time to be with someone and to be honest, it would be strange if you didn’t find it at least a little daunting to considering dating someone new.

Now that you’re ready though, I’m going to hit you with some fairly bad news and tell you that there are unfortunately no hard and fast rules when it comes to ‘getting back out there.’

This is (somewhat of) an agony aunt column though so I feel contractually obliged to give you some actually advice too so here’s a comprehensive list of places you can go and things you can do to meet some new people and give yourself the illusion that you know what you’re doing even though you, like the rest of us, do not.

1. Chat to random people on nights out

2. Chat to random people at events

3. Chat to random people when hanging out with extended friend groups who then end up being members of these extended friend groups (then you have something in common to chat about)

Basically, just chat to people whenever you’re in the public sphere. It’s the easiest and most foolproof way to meet anyone new, ever.

The second thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to set up a Tinder account if you don’t want to.

Despite the numbing fact that I thought the opposite was chronically true for many years, dating apps aren’t the only way to meet people.

Spending hours upon hours swiping through lads that you’re not that attracted to but will probably continue to chat to anyway out of sheer boredom (and maybe even meet up with if you happen to have an evening or six free in row), is pretty much grand.

Sometimes it can even be good if the person you’re talking to is sound enough, and the odd time, it can even be great if you end up genuinely liking each other, have things in common, and aren’t being catfished, etc.

And yet, at the same time, all of these things are also possible without uploading a load of photos of yourself to an app where you can let people superficially swipe past you judging your personality and worth via a few lines of text on a screen.

Instead, let them do the same thing while you’re in a bar or a club or wherever you might be because that’s how people meet people, filter out the ones they don’t want to associate with, and keep the ones they’re into around.

Getting back out there after being in a longterm relationship is hard. Like, really fucking hard.

A lot changes in five years when it comes to texting, dating, and relationships. Even your own taste in dates, conversation, and what you find attractive in another human being is probably going to be a whole lot different to what it was half a decade ago.

There’s no real quick fix to feeling totally comfortable being back out there… other than just getting back out there.

Go out, talk to some people, strike up some convos, shift some lads, face some rejection, and accept the fact that everybody is in the same boat.

None of us know what we’re doing, but what you’re doing is probably grand.

Worried about going on a first date with someone new? Got some lad onto you who won’t take the hint? Are you being ghosted, breadcrumbed, or some other new form of dating trend? Just need somewhere to vent about everything that’s wrong with your love life? Same, to be honest.

Don’t worry though because at Her we’ve been there, we are still there, and we can maybe even give you some decent advice. At the end of the day, #ShiftHappens to all of us. 

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