The Irish Examiner says that an increasing amount of single people are Googling prospective partners before embarking on a first date. A survey by the It's Just Lunch dating service found that 58 percent of men and women conduct an internet search for their date's name before leaving the house. And 88 percent of the 500 respondents, when asked if they would be offended that their date had Googled them, replied: "Not when I'd probably have Googled them too."
There are no hard and fast rules to dating, but here are some tips that won't do any harm.
Do let go of the past. It's done. Build yourself a small bridge and get over it. Quit telling your story; it's boring.
Don't jump straight into another relationship. Take some time to adjust; you need to be alone for a while to rediscover who you are.
Do find a balance. Seek love, but don't make it your whole life. Get a hobby. Knit, volunteer. Knit yourself a volunteer.
Do cultivate relationships with other single people; it's depressing being the token singleton in a crowd of couples; like being alone on Noah's Ark.
Don't drink in excess on dates. It's pathetic and leads to arm-gnawing moments of awkwardness later.
Don't come on too strong. It's unnerving, and you're dating, not stalking. Keep the mystery and let things progress naturally.
Don't introduce the person you're seeing to your friends and family too early; it's tempting when you're used to being part of a couple, but is overwhelming.
Do be open; rigid rules about a 'type' may mean you dismiss somebody lovely.
Do maintain your self-respect; go easy with sharing information. There's plenty of time to get to know each other; no early soul-baring. It smacks of desperation.
Don't take it all so seriously. Approach it with a sense of openness and fun. Flirt a bit, enjoy it all, and you'll be infinitely more attractive!
Excerpt from www.independent.ie, a Dublin, Ireland publication who did an article in IJL.
... Dating after a separation isn't easy, particularly when your personal circumstances have changed considerably.
"Your self-esteem is definitely at a low ebb," says Geraldine, 41 and mother of three. "You think, what have I got to offer? A busy professional, Geraldine didn't have the time or inclination to frequent bars or clubs and although she had an established social circle, she wanted a fresh start.
"I wanted to begin again. I wouldn't consider dating anyone I'd met through work," she explains. "And the people in my social circle knew me as the wife of my ex-husband, so I wanted to turn over a new leaf, almost re-invent myself, and start again when it came to dating."
She'd heard of a company called It's Just Lunch from a friend in the US, so when she found they were in Ireland, she went to see them. "They were very professional and easy to talk to," she says. "Along with a lot of other detail, one of the things they do is write a paragraph of the impression they get of each person.
"They're either very intuitive or really well trained, because they were very accurate with the people they introduced me to," says Geraldine.
"You try to avoid discussing past relationships until you get to know one another better," she says.
"The agency made all the arrangements with restaurant bookings and so on and although I was very nervous going in, they made sure I met people of similar interests, in a safe environment."
So, any luck?
"I went on three very enjoyable dates with three bright, interesting men. I'm dating one of them exclusively now; it's early days, but I'm happy!"
Steven (not his real name), didn't have such a positive start in his attempt to re-launch his life after his relationship broke down. The 40-year-old spent time looking for solace at the bottom of a glass, with much drinking and swapping of sad stories.
"I went for anyone that would have me. I was not in a good place and when I look back, I clearly wasn't fussy. Because I was reluctant to 'partner up' seriously, I went for other rejected people. Alcohol blurred the lines as well, and beer goggles made me make inappropriate choices."
Now happy in a new partnership, he says: "My advice would be not to do anything drunk except go home alone. Don't dial, drive or date while drunk."
Alison, in her 30s, decided to take control of her dating future. When she tried dating after her marriage, she found it more complicated than she remembered. A busy woman who traveled a lot, she decided to approach dating like a career move.
"I thought, right, we take charge of our careers and don't leave them to fate -- why should I leave my personal life to chance?"
Using the It's Just Lunch agency worked for her. "Frankly, it was convenient to have someone take charge and filter out people who mightn't work. I knew what I wanted, and because you pay a fee to the agency, there are no time-wasters, unlike the internet which can be a bit of a free-for-all."
Being focused has proven to be an effective strategy for Alison, who is now dating a man she was introduced to via the agency.
"You may as well show yourself in the best light --almost like a job interview -- and go from there!"
It seems that regardless of who you are, it's wise to clear one's mental decks before embarking on a voyage to find love again.
However, even though you may have to weather a few storms, and life's never perfect, nobody wants to be alone.
Which ever route you take back to dating, take heart from these peoples' stories -- there's always hope on the horizon.