Starting all over again

Posted on: 08 July 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

Dating agony aunt Hillie Marshall reveals the ways to help you get back in the dating game.

You’re older, wiser and possibly wealthier so theoretically life should be a lot easier, but whether through divorce, separation, bereavement or re-location you find yourself on your own and needing to build a new social life.

Well don’t imagine you are too rusty to start the cogs spinning smoothly again: all you need is a plan of action to start that phone ringing.

Plan Of Action

  • Build Your Confidence
  • Get To Know Yourself
  • Change Your Attitudes
  • Get Into Shape
  • Throw Yourself Into Life ASAP

Confidence Building

A person’s appeal to another comes from within and an optimistic, youthful enquiring mind and a happy, carefree disposition will be strong competition for just youthful looks. You deserve to be loved and treated well because you are you and should never settle for anything less.

Recognise your achievements and plus points by writing them all down. If you give yourself enough time to think of everything you will be surprised how impressive that list looks. Always try to think and say positive things about yourself, and always talk positively about others.

We all have insecurities but some of us are more adept at hiding them than others. Put on a brave face, look happy and act out a confident role. You will find in no time at all that your act soon becomes a reality.

Getting To Know Yourself

Chances are that you have been so wrapped up in thinking about other people’s needs that you have forgotten your own. Learn to be your own person again - this is an exciting time for you - a voyage of re-discovery!

Make a list of everything you have ever enjoyed - hobbies, activities, places. Then make your wish of all you’d like to do and to visit.

Changing Your Attitudes

You can change yourself and your attitudes. If circumstances have not gone the way you would have wished, now is the time for change. Don’t be world weary and think I can’t go through all this again. You can! Life is an adventure to be embraced, setbacks and all.

Have the courage to do or say what you like and don’t be afraid of what others may think of you. Love and respect yourself and others will mirror your opinion. Forget mental checklists about a dream mate and be more open minded.

Getting Yourself Into Shape

It’s important to achieve is a healthy active body that you feel comfortable with. Ideally exercise three times a week and train yourself to eat a healthy diet of fresh foods, cut down on the alcohol, stop smoking and get enough sleep.

Consider changing your image to perk your spirits up. A new hairstyle or wardrobe will do wonders for your self-image and confidence.

Throw Yourself Into Life ASAP

Now you’re ready to embark on a new social life, go to places where single people frequent. However, clubs, pubs and wine bars are usually frequented by people wanting a fun night out, not looking for a relationship.

Most people participate in some leisure activity - physical or mental. A local leisure centre is a good place to meet other single people, and you will get trim, fit and healthy in the process. Many sports and health clubs arrange social activities, such as parties, walks, tournaments, games or holidays for their members.

Visit a Health Farm, which also provides social and sports activities as well as licking you into shape.

Classes & Societies

Learning a new skill, subject or language at an evening class is another way of meeting like-minded people. Societies, such as amateur dramatic societies, can be a great source of fun and a good place to make new friends. You are united in the common cause of putting on the production, and will be spending a lot of time together especially in the final stages.

If you are interested in stamp collecting, bee keeping, or anything else, I suggest you enquire at your local library or look in the local paper. Men might do well joining a cooking class, and women - a car maintenance class. Dance classes are particularly popular for all ages and great for meeting other singles in a fun, informal environment – and surprisingly cheap.


People on holiday are much more at ease, carefree, and open to suggestions than they might be in a normal social circumstance.

You can look in the newspaper or ask your local travel agent for singles package holidays or resorts that mainly cater for single people both at home and abroad.


Consider enlisting the help of a Dating Agency or Dining Club provided they are well established and reputable. You could also place a newspaper or magazine advert in personal columns using a box number. But do be careful. 

We can all be taken in if we feel at a low ebb. No-one will have vetted your Date so always meet in a public place and listen to your inner instincts.


There are many plus sides to starting all over again. You may well have been locked into an unhappy relationship but as a free agent you have a chance to find real happiness. Make your wish list - if you only achieve half of it you will be 100% better off than before.

About Hillie Marshall

Hillie MarshalHillie Marshall founded Dinner Dates in 1989 which provides singles with the opportunity to have a brand new social life without having to work for it.  Unlike most conventional dating agencies Dinner Dates is unique in that it does not attempt to match people but rather to provide a fun, reliable and safe way for single people to widen their circle of friends.

Within this new circle of friends connections can be made personally between members without the need of a third person.   Dinner Dates started by organising dinner parties at London’s top restaurants for their members but now organises trips to the theatre, races, polo, tennis, art exhibitions and cultural as well as sporting holidays abroad. Dinner Dates has over 17,000 members.

Hillie was launched as the first global agony Aunt on the internet in the early 90s and was also agony aunt for various magazines including 2 years with Home & Life.  Hillie has worked as Dr Date with LBC for a year and has appeared many times as an agony aunt on TV and Radio.

She has written three books on relationships and is now writing her fourth. Dinner Dates is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with a Black Tie Ball at One Whitehall Place in London on the 25th of July. For more information on how you can get involved with Dinner Dates please visit their website

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