Where to Go from Here

You can read this book from front to back or treat it like a reference and hop around, reading only those sections that apply to you. If you don't want to read through the entire book, here is a brief guide on where you can find information specific to your situation (you can also use the Table of Contents or the Index to find specific topics):

If You Are Read

Young (13 to 17)

Whole book, but ignore Chapter 22 about sex.

Inexperienced (that

Whole book, but go slow. Almost everybody feels

is, have never dated,

like a dummy to start.

have done no serious

dating, have dated

fewer than three

people, or have had

fewer than three dates)

Divorced During the year you are waiting to resume dating (and no dating until one full year has passed), read Part I carefully, especially Chapter 4 about figuring out who you are, what you want, what went wrong, and waiting. Also read Chapter 24 on rebound. (It's also not a terrible idea to do some work on self, with or without a therapist.)

Separated Don't even think about dating. Follow the same advice for divorced (see the preceding), only more so, and memorize Chapter 24 on rebound.

Unhappily married Chapter 22, Chapter 23 on breaking up, and Chapter 24

or involved on rebound. And don't even think about thinking about dating yet. Work on your relationship; if it doesn't work out, you still have to wait a year after the divorce or final breakup becomes final.

Widowed If you're widowed at least a year, follow the advice for divorced (see earlier item). If you're widowed less than a year, put the book aside, hang out with friends in groups, and look at the cover once a month, but no reading until the first year anniversary.

Senior If all you are is older and aren't widowed or divorced or separated, start from the beginning and just read faster. When it comes to dating, everyone is in the same boat, regardless of age, so enjoy and be willing to feel inept and young and inexperienced all over again. Is that such a bad thing? Maybe not.

Remember, this is a reference book, not a bible. Write in the margins, underline passages, dog-ear pages, and put that cool contact paper on the front if you want.

No panicking, no whining, and no comparing. Okay. Let's go!

Continue reading here: In this part

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