Take a Personal Inventory
The question isn't so much whether to start dating again, but when. You're the only one who can decide when you're ready. Further, when you do begin dating again, make sure you're doing so for the right reasons. You may need to do a bit of courageously honest soul-searching before you're willing to admit to yourself why you want to date. If the reason is simply the loneliness that inevitably follows the loss of a partner who's been by your side for a long time, consider waiting. Meanwhile, develop some hobbies, make new friends and allow your self-confidence to fully recover before you start dating again. The advice, "Never go shopping when you're hungry" becomes never more apt than when applied to post-divorce dating.
Decide What You Want
Different women date for different reasons. If you've just exited a painful marriage, you may not be interested in a deep emotional attachment with anyone. Then again, you may have already decided to give love a second chance. If you're not sure what you want, you will confuse the men you date and ensure that whatever relationship you enter into will be more trouble than it's worth. Only when you know exactly what you want will you be able to find a man who's on the same page.
Make It Happen
How you meet men will depend on what kind of man and relationship you're looking for. Conventional wisdom holds that bars are lousy places to meet men, but this derives at least partially from stereotypes. Joining groups organized around shared hobbies or causes, including churches, is rarely a bad idea. Perhaps the best option for women with small children at home, however, is online dating. Online dating offers you the chance to spend more time at home instead of attending an endless succession of fruitless coffee dates with candidate after candidate. It also allows you to get to know your potential partners before you actually meet.
Nevertheless, online dating can become an addiction for those who lack the confidence to meet in person. If you feel that your dating skills have deteriorated after long years of marriage with someone who was a little too familiar with you, you need to regain the skill of putting your best foot forward for someone who doesn't know you. You won't be able to do that unless you abandon the virtual world at some point and insert yourself into the actual dating world. Then you can relearn your social skills through trial and error.