We all respond differently to sadness. Your friends say ‘You need to get back out there!’ Even if you don’t want to hear it, they may have a point. And I’m not talking about a rebound. Some people find it helpful to have a fling for some short-term validation, yes, but that’s a separate matter. I’m talking about assessing your options, then making a plan to get back on the dating scene. Apart from anything else, your breakup or divorce may have left you questioning your value as a partner. You may be experiencing severely low self-esteem—but if you’re able to take a step back, you’ll see this doesn’t actually reflect who you are or how much someone would value your love. You just need to find that someone.

Of course, with online dating thrown into the mix, things can get confusing, feel overwhelming. So today I’m laying out 5 easy tips for getting back out there. Take them at your own pace, and interpret them in a way that makes sense for you.

1. Be willing to put in the work

It might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many new singles trip at this first hurdle:

You need to actually go on dates.

Finding love again is eminently possible—as a matchmaker, I see it every day, and often for those who never would have believed it could happen. But you know what they all have in common? They put in the time and effort.

Expecting your dates to do all the work—or even worse, expecting a date to simply appear out of nowhere, fully formed and ready for romance—is not a good strategy. Think about what you’re bringing to the table, not just what you’re taking from it.

And remember: Dating can be so fun, so exciting, if you do it right. It can be daunting as well, sure, especially if it’s been years or even decades since you last did it. So lean on your friends and family for support, and seek their guidance whenever you need it.

2. Be kind to yourself

Take it easy. Take your time. You’re in pain, regardless of who initiated the breakup. Your life has undergone some major changes. You need to frame dating as part of the bigger picture of your healing process. That means dating mindfully, only going on dates for the right reasons. And it means working through your emotions: worry, anger, resentment—whatever the breakup has left you with. They’re natural, and they’ll take however much time they need to work their way out of your system.

Your wellbeing should be your priority. Get into a good sleep routine. Eat well. Exercise. Simple measures can have incredible benefits. And by being the best version of yourself, you become a more eligible partner, too.

3. Don’t rush

Trying to force yourself to move on too fast doesn’t work, and can lead to regrettable situations with people who aren’t right for you. For this reason, you might want to wait a while before being intimate with someone again. This can give you the mental space to reflect on what you really want, focus on your values, and remember who you are now you’re a single entity as opposed to one half of a couple. No pressure. No timelines. And healthy, constructive self-critiques only, please.

4. Build your life outside of dating

Singledom today leads most people to online dating at one point or another. Unfortunately, this introduces a new level of unpredictability that didn’t used to exist on the dating scene. The ease of technology has made singles more fickle. You need to remember it’s not personal—and even more importantly, you need to develop the other social elements of your life in tandem. Whether with friends or solo, surround yourself with people who share your values, outlooks, and interests. This is fertile ground for meeting someone out of the blue.

5. Consider working with a date coach

Finally, it’s well worth reaching out for professional support. A date coach empowers you to properly reflect on your relationship history and dating experiences, and figure out what’s next. They will give you a frank and unbiased view of where you are, and a raft of practical solutions to the obstacles littering your path in this unfamiliar world of singledom. And if that sounds right for you, well hey—look no further.

Maclynn is a boutique, multi-award-winning introductions agency with offices in New York, New Jersey, California, and London. We’re world-renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles within our vast network of attractive, intelligent professionals, and our matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. Get in touch today, and prepare for genuinely meaningful dating—just like you deserve.