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I'm a relationship expert. Here are 5 things to do before you start dating again

Follow these tips to put your best foot forward after a divorce, breakup or dry spell.
/ Source: TODAY

Deciding to date again is no easy feat, so applaud yourself for making it here in the first place.

Whether you have taken time off from dating after a breakup, divorce or one too many bad dates, it can certainly be intimidating to dip your toe back into the unpredictable waters of the dating pool. 

Jaime Bronstein, licensed clinical social worker and author of “MAN*ifesting: A Step-by-Step Guide to Attracting the Love That Is Meant for You,” knows these feelings all too well. Before she met her husband of almost a decade, she had a “fear energy” surrounding dating.  

But she says there’s no need for dating to feel daunting.

Instead, focus on embracing who you are and where you’re at. Bronstein tells she found quality people entering her life when she was content and feeling fulfilled. Once she shifted her mindset and became more at peace with where she was in life, she found true love.

But how do you reach the point where you're ready to welcome someone into your life? Bronstein breaks down what you need to know — and do — before you start dating again. 

Heal the past

Before diving into a new romantic relationship, put in the work to heal previous heartbreak.

This might not even mean resolving issues linked to past romantic relationships. Childhood trauma and toxic friendships can also leave a lasting impact on all areas of your life.

Even if so-called “low vibrational emotions” (think: feelings of anger or resentment) aren't directly correlated to your love life, Bronstein says you still carry it around with you. Instead, shift these misbeliefs about yourself into the truth by saying daily affirmations out loud (“I’m worthy of love," for example) before a date.

“You want to shift from victim to victor,” she says. “You can’t change what happened but you can change how you view it and how you want to choose to move on with the rest of your life.”

Figure out what you want

Being able to spot red flags will help you know when to “run, not walk” away from a partner. 

But using your energy to target what you want out of a partner is even more valuable because you don’t want to keep manifesting the same relationship, she says. 

She recommends identifying three “nonnegotiables” within CERT, which stands for comfort, empathy, respect and trust, so you can be “certain” you have found the right match. 

It boils down to the law of attraction. Focusing on what you want will yield positive benefits.

“It’s very simple,” she says. “Our outside experiences are a reflection of our inner reality.” 

Boost your self-confidence

The wild, wild west of dating can take a toll on your confidence, which is why it's so important to establish a solid foundation before you get back out there.

There are countless tricks to building self-confidence (think: practicing the power pose and shifting to a positive mindset), but Bronstein also says dressing the part may help. While it may sound superficial, Bronstein is all for getting a manicure or a new pair of jeans if it'll give you the confidence boost that you're after.

“Do what you need to do to feel good about yourself before dating,” she says. “The person will love you for all that you are, but you need to love you for all that you are in order to even meet.”

Stop feeling desperate for love

Desperate times call for desperate measures — but not when it comes to dating.

As Bronstein puts it, “desperation energy” isn't going to help you manifest love or lead to a sustainable relationship.

“Be aware if you find yourself in this fear energy, this desperation-type grip energy, take a deep breath and reel it back in,” she says. 

Keep in mind that things tend to happen when you least expect it, so Bronstein suggests focusing on finding peace and joy — with or without someone.

Have no attachment to the outcome 

Those first-date jitters are perfectly normal. But don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have a rom-com movie moment.

Instead, adopt a neutral mindset about the date. That way you won't be disappointed if it doesn't work out, but you'll be pleasantly surprised if it does.

No matter the outcome, you will have a story to share with your friends and may learn a thing or two about yourself (and a stranger). “See what you can get out of it, even if it’s not your person,” she says. 

But most importantly, don’t forget to have fun. 

“I literally told a client the other day to get a tattoo that says ‘Dating is fun,’” she says. “As simple as it sounds, people need to remind themselves of this.”