Stop sulking and feeling bad for yourself! It’s time to kick that bad habit and get back out into the dating world.

Your friends are constantly trying to set you up with dates and your mom won’t get out of your ear about how you should be settling down with someone again. Many times, stepping foot back in the game is easier said than done, and a little advice won’t hurt. Here are some solid guidelines to follow for the newly newly single woman:

1.Before getting back out there, make sure you are over your ex of 5+ years and he understands his place in your life is the past. Reason being, most men are still kids at heart. They play with the toy truck until they get sick of it, put it back on the shelf, then come running back when they see other little boys playing with it. Not this time, playa!

You don’t want to start dating and get distracted by your ex. If you’ve made the decision to move on, then look forward and keep peddling. During the time you are transitioning into dating again, be sure that you are completely comfortable with who you are and you can be happy on your own first.

2. Now, it may have been a few years since you’ve been on the market and chances are, things have changed. People text more than they talk on the phone when getting to know each other, he may not tell you directly that he’s feeling you but he’ll probably tell Twitter. Sad but true!

You may find that this makes flirting a lot easier since you have time to think of a response, and it gives you a little more time to take it to the next level. One night stands are hard to come by these days. Shout out to technology and social media.

3. Speaking of social media, do your research! Unless he’s living under a rock, chances are you can log on and see who he chills with, where he works, and probably if he’s a momma’s boy all by he’s Instagram feed. Don’t go complete stalker with this but as a loyal follower of his, there’s no harm in peaking!

4. Keep your options and your mind open. By options, I don’t mean you can date them all. This process requires you to be selective. It’s just important for you to understand, dating does not mean commitment and as long as you’re both on that same page it’ll be smooth sailing.

An open mind can take you to great places, and trigger a new side of you. We tend to compare a lot to our past relationships or look for what we’re used to. This time around don’t be afraid to try something new and let him open your mind to different experiences. That just might make you fall in love.

5. No Rush! Of course it feels secure when your committed, but you want to stray away from rushing into a relationship because it feels right, right now. Build a bond, friendship, and a connection past intimacy before giving yourself completely to that person. There is no time limit or expiration date on being single so enjoy this time and don’t complicate things by rushing into a commitment. This time, let him ask you about the next step, and don’t take it just because he is ready! The ball is in your court.

6. Last but not least, look good doing it! As a woman, this should stick with you –

If you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.

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By Tia Long (@Bytialong)