Q: I was engaged until three years ago. When I was severely injured in an accident, she left. I have since recovered, but have some confidence questions about sex and dating. I have stayed away from women for the most part, but I think I'm ready to start dating again. How do you know when you're ready? How do I get my confidence back? -- Mike, 38
Dr. Susan: You are probably ready to start dating if you're asking me how to tell if you're ready. A person is pretty much ready to try something when he wants the benefits that come from doing that thing. Your confidence will no doubt return once you have had some success. Although there are no real "pre-steps" for dating, how about starting small? Choose one little thing you can do every day that will eventually lead to dating and perhaps another long-term relationship. Some random possibilities: Make a list of places to go and clubs or networks to join where you might meet appropriate women. Make a list of your own assets, those positive personality traits that might be intriguing to a woman. Reflect on what you did the last time you dated, though it was several years ago. What worked, what didn't, what can you learn? Choose one activity you like, where there are likely to be date-worthy women, and get involved. Try to forget yourself (and your lack of confidence) and focus on other people. Most important: Dating is not a performance, though it often seems as though it is. You cannot be graded (and you shouldn't grade yourself), though you may be turned down. Every small effort you make is part of the learning experience. Be real. Women worth dating will appreciate your vulnerability, so long as you don't seem desperately needy. Try to enjoy the process of meeting new people. You've already overcome a lot, so now go out and make a point of having some fun. Enthusiasm is attractive.
Copyright © Fun Online Corporation
Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.