How can I be sure that I'm ready to re-date?

Trust your instincts. Well meaning friends and relatives may hint that you need to meet someone but you should not feel pressured to date before you are ready. Make sure that you are over your ex as you could end up hurting others and yourself further if you assume that a new partner will help you get over it.

If you are bereaved you may feel that it is too soon or a betrayal of your partner. Consider what your partner wanted, it is unlikely that they would have wanted or expected you to be sad and lonely forever, and you do have the rest of your life to live.

How can I be sure that I don't get hurt again?

You can't - unfortunately relationships don't come with a guarantee, however, ask yourself if you really want to spend the rest of your life alone? You will not find the deep and meaningful relationship that you want unless you are prepared to take risks.

Don't dwell on the past, but consider what you could learn from your last relationship. Do you need to change anything about yourself to make a relationship work? If your ex treated you badly, consider the type of person you are attracted to or you could be reading this again in three months time.

I've been trying to date unsuccessfully for sixth months. There doesn't seem to be any single women around and when I do meet them I'm afraid that I scare them off? What can I do?

Stop. You are so intent on meeting someone that your desperation will chase even the keenest of women away. Instead, set yourself the goal of meeting as many new people as possible over the next six months and aim for friendship, not relationships.

Do not frequent the same places. Try and find different places to go, especially ones where you wouldn't usually think of pulling. Go out to have fun and not with the intention of trying to pull the opposite sex. You will be more relaxed and in time your real personality will naturally attract someone who likes you for who you are.

I'm going on a first date and I'm on a tight budget. What can I do?

Your date will want to get to know you and have fun, this is much more important than where you go or how much you spend.

Consider activities that involve a one off entrance fee as this will be far cheaper than a visit to an expensive restaurant or club, for example bowling, ice-skating, a visit to the zoo or an art gallery. Look in your local paper for forthcoming events such as open-air concerts and exhibitions.

If it is summer plan a picnic. Take a walk in the park or local countryside, this can be particularly romantic in autumn when the leaves are falling but check the weather forecast in advance.

Alternatively entertain at home. Set the scene with soft music and candles, a dozen red roses and a home cooked meal (if you can't cook - cheat, get a take away and a bottle of wine in).

How Can I Tell if they are Married?

  • They have a white band around their finger where their wedding ring normally is 
  • You do not get a direct home telephone number and are not invited back to their house 
  • You do not meet their family members and work colleagues and are only introduced to a few close friends 
  • They pay by cash for restaurants and hotels as their partner may see and question any credit card bills 
  • They drive a family car and there are often sweet wrappers and toys in the back 
  • They insist on taking you to country pubs and weekends away rather than to their local for a few drinks 
  • They make excuses to cancel dates at the last minute and are unreliable when they make promises to spend your birthday with you or take you somewhere special 
  • Christmas day is definitely out and they won't be around to celebrate the New Year