Q: I am a man in my 40s and recently separated. After being in a relationship for 20 years I'm finding the dating world quite different!
Do you have any advice for me because I'm quite shy and feel socially inept but I'm also very lonely.
I'd love to meet someone special but I have no clue as to how to go about it. Can you give me some tips?
A: Dating is about confidence. You've got to play to your strengths.
So above all else, find what makes you feel good about yourself and focus on that.
Stop focussing on your dating obstacles.
You're new to the dating market again so embrace this as an opportunity to reinvent your life and reinvigorate yourself with energy and joy for living.
Knowing you're socially inept is a strength.
Better to be aware of what might impact your dating life than not, but don't let that shatter your confidence.
For every negative thought you have about yourself (I'm inept, I'm shy, I'm lonely etc) tell yourself 10, yes 10, positively fantastic things about yourself that you like, love and respect, and can make you a good partner to someone.
Most people listen to - and believe - their negative voice more than 10 times more often and with far greater intensity than anything remotely great we tell ourselves or others tell us.
You may not be able to turn off your inner critic, but you can certainly give it your best shot to drown it out!
This will help give you some confidence when it comes to dating.
You don't want to take it too far and get cocky, thinking you're the greatest gift to women on the planet, that's certainly not attractive, but if you're happy with yourself and think you're a good person and a good catch, others will see that too … and they'll want to get to know you better.
Be clear about what you want: not everyone who dates is looking for a special, serious relationship.
Make sure that you look for people who are not only compatible with you but also at the same stage in their love life.
Dating isn't just about your heart, you've got to use your head too.
Since you've been off the dating market for so long, chances are that you've not tried internet dating.
You may even still be one of the minority who think internet dating is for "the desperate".
That's not the case these days.
If you're a bit rusty at dating, sharing yourself, getting to know women, flirting and finding out whether someone is a good match for you, then internet dating might just be a great way to get your feet wet.
You can practise talking to women without much commitment and work your way up slowly to meeting someone face to face.
If you're shy, worried about your social interactions, and yes, lonely, internet dating is right there, waiting for you to get started. Be confident and take a risk.
Life is exciting, and you can love and be loved no matter who you are, where you are, or how long it's been since you last had a date.
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