Dating is not like riding a bicycle. You can’t simply start dating again after years of inactivity and instantly get the hang of it after only few tries.

Oftentimes, a guy who has just experienced divorce or the break-up of a serious relationship will go through a dearth of dates for months or even years.

That’s normal, according to psychologists. It simply means that the man is still genuinely mourning his lost love instead of trying to numb the pain by dating a series of sometimes inappropriate partners.

But what if you truly want to move forward yet still have great difficulty getting dates? How do you get out of that lonely rut?

The first step is to determine why you’re not getting even a nibble of romance. Once you’ve done that, then you can figure out what to do to climb out of your dateless hole.

After a break-up, there are usually two main reasons why men experience a dating drought. First, they may not yet be ready to date again. And second, their dating style and strategies may be wrong.

You may be lonely, fed up with being dateless and eager to start dating again, but it does not necessarily mean you are ready to do so. Just because your ex-spouse has signed the final divorce papers, it does not mean you are prepared to meet new people.

Anger, bitterness and the pain of betrayal can sometimes linger after a bad break-up. These are feeling you have to first come to terms with. If left unresolved, they will rear their ugly head even during the most casual dating scenarios and severely affect your chances of moving on.

You might be thinking, that couldn’t possibly happen to me. Try asking yourself a few things. Do you project negative or defensive vibes to the opposite sex? Do you find yourself talking about your ex-partner or ex-wife too much? Do you try too hard to be liked (a subconscious attempt to get over rejection)? Do you feel shy and uncomfortable talking to women you find attractive?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, then take a good hard look at your situation. Perhaps you need more time to heal or regroup. Perhaps you need to re-assess what you really want. Remember that what you wanted in your twenties may not be the same as what you want now that you are in your thirties or forties.

Now, if you’ve finished healing and reassessment but still can’t get a date, maybe your problem is logistical rather than emotional. It may be time to update your dating strategies. For instance, when trying to meet people, do you still head to the same places you used to visit when you were single? Do you try to find romance in clubs and bars? Do you only go out when you’re with your posse of single friends?

Try a different approach like online dating or dating events and mixers. Immerse yourself in new activities and make them a regular part of the schedule. Try looking in non-intimidating venues such as bookstores instead of bars.

When you do date someone, look for a woman who shares your interests and not only as a romantic pursuit. Find common ground first and perhaps romance will follow. And most of all, be patient. Don’t expect sparks to fly right away.

At the end of the day, remember that it will take time to heal your wounds, but trust in the process – it IS supposed to hurt (otherwise you would be a cold hearted robot and very few women love guys like that) and it WILL get better.

Just give it time, be mindful of your self-talk, and get back out there and just LIVE life again, and when the time is right, you will meet someone special again and connect with her.

Just have faith…