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Dating After Divorce: 5 Tips from Relationship Expert, Dr Pam Spurr

Because finding a match worthy of you in this dating-app era is a whole new ballgame.

When billionaire benefactors Bill and Melinda Gates filed for divorce in May this year after 27 years of marriage, to outsiders the split seemed amicable and considered, but deeply sad.

‘What hope do we have if they can’t stay together?’ we said with a collective sigh. But if you too have left an “irretrievably broken” marriage behind there is hope for a brighter future.

Hope that you will find someone the perfect partner. Divorce is stressful, but this time around you know what you want and, most importantly, what you don’t want in life. Dating again can prove to be a liberating and fun experience. Who knows you might find true love.

Ready to meet new people? Before you start dating, relationship expert, Dr Pam Spurr has some ground rules for finding a match worthy of you in this dating-app era.

1. Choose the Right App

Dating online is no longer the social taboo it once was – thanks, in part, to the popularity of mass-market apps and their success rate in helping people find romance. Dr Pam Spurr stipulates the first step is choosing an app that’s right for you. “As of 2015 about 50 percent of singles were using online apps and websites,” she says. “So you're not alone and many great people are using apps right now. There are now specific apps for every interest and, of course, apps for the over-55s who are back out there. If that’s you, look to apps such as Our Time, Silver Singles, eHarmony that are geared for your age group.”

2. Go With Your Gut Instincts

You've signed up to an app (or two) that compliments your age group or interests, maybe you’ve even started swiping, so what comes next? “It’s important to go with your instincts on how people show their interest in you and the sorts of messages that you get sent,” Dr Spurr says. “If your instincts tell you this person is only after ‘one thing’ and you want more, listen to it.” And never feel pressured to let online chats get too personal too soon, she adds. “The people I meet who have had the worst dating app experiences are those who do not set their boundaries early on. There are plenty of singles out there so you never need to feel obliged to keep in contact with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable.” Unmatch and move on.

3. Remember You’re a Catch

When returning to the world of dating after a long stint away it’s easy to lose yourself in all the fast-paced swiping and feel overwhelmed. When that happens, Dr Spurr suggests you turn the spotlight back on yourself. “It's crucial to focus on you as an entire person and not simply as a potential date for someone,” she says. “Think through your three key qualities. Maybe you have a good sense of humour (GSOH), maybe people comment on how thoughtful you are, or how much energy you have. Hold these three qualities in mind every day to get you feeling more positive about yourself and what you have to offer. It's absolutely crucial when you're going out on a date to remind yourself of these qualities, really focus on them.”

4. Your Body Language Speaks Volumes

You might be brimming with incredible qualities, but if that pesky internal voice is telling you otherwise your physical presence will give the game away. “Ultimately what you're thinking about yourself is revealed in your body language,” says Dr Spurr. “So if you're thinking: people say I'm a good catch, your body language is naturally more positive and confident. But thinking things like: I'm not good enough to date, no one will ever want me, your body language becomes slumped and anxious. That is not attractive and you look like you lack confidence.” Dr Spurr reveals that 'confidence' regularly comes as one of the top three traits that are attractive in dating surveys. “That doesn't mean you have to have huge levels of it, but you need some confidence revealed in your attitude and body language,” she adds.

5. Have a Dating Plan (And Be Pragmatic)

Devising a dating plan just as you would one for your finances can raise your chances of finding a keeper. “Your personal dating plan should have at its core the values you admire in someone else,” says Dr Spurr. “It should also include keeping the focus on an app or two and not signing up for five or six – you risk developing the "grass is greener syndrome" where you keep thinking you're going to meet that perfect person by increasing the number of apps.”

A trusted friend is a vital part of your plan, she adds. “Someone you can run things past. Dating research reveals that people who get their best friend's input into their dating profile, have more dating success.” And finally your plan should include positive affirmations. “Things like telling yourself it's never a failure if someone doesn't want to engage with you on an app. That could be down to timing to something in your profile that doesn't interest them.”

Written by Judy Cogan

For tips and advice, visit Dr Pam Spurr website here and you can also follow her on Twitter @drpamspurr