I think the first and most important thing to remember is: just because it didn't work out with someone before, doesn't mean you won't find someone who adores you in the future! I like to think of it like wiping the slate completely clean in order to start all over again. So after you've had a weep, ate your bodyweight in chocolate/ice-cream/whatever food that makes happy, a mope around, convincing yourself that you'll never be happy again... THEN you can move into the I'M FREE stage and planning your exciting reinvention. When I broke up with the person I was with before Craig, who didn't make me feel that good about myself, my confidence was at rock bottom, so I completely overhauled my life. I cut him off, changed my job which I also wasn't happy with, I changed my hair colour, I went out to different places and met different people, I changed pretty much everything I had in my power to, and wanted to, change, and two months later I met Craig. Coincidence? Possibly, but I definitely think mentally erasing the negativity and starting over gave me the confidence to move on a lot quicker than I might have had I not done those things. As I said, just because one person didn't like you, doesn't mean that the next person that comes along isn't going to either! You never know what or who is around the corner. I had actually just vowed to everyone that I was going to be single and have a brilliant time for a year, just before I met Craig. Exactly one year later I was living with him and had a ring on my finger. I could never have predicted that would happen, and you can't predict that the same won't happen to you either!
I touched on confidence just there, and I would like to point out that it's a very good thing to have, but tread the fine line between being happy with yourself and arrogant. You know how you're immediately put off by someone who is really vain or love themselves a bit too much? It works the other way around as well! Be yourself: dress in a way that makes you feel you accentuate your best features (as opposed to blindly following trends), do your make-up in the way you feel makes you look your best, do anything that makes you feel good, and your confidence will probably come pretty naturally from there. Just be your lovely, happy self, and you'll be fine!
A lot of girls wonder how they know if someone likes you. Basically, if he's talking to you, even if he knows you might have a crush on him, you're probably on the right lines. I think you always know when someone really likes you, and if you're being nice to him, he'll be less afraid to put himself out there and go for it. For example, I wasn't the easiest person to get in contact with when Craig and I first met (I'm pretty bad at remembering to text or ring back). Whenever he did manage to contact me though, I was always nice and always showed up to the date positive and interested in getting to know him, which in turn encouraged him to ask me out more. Remember how I said just be your lovely, happy self? If you're mean, then he's probably not going to be willing to risk being knocked back in some humiliating fashion, and so won't make a move. Keep negativity to a minimum. I always hated it when boys put themselves down in front of me because it's so awkward, and I'm sure it works the other way around. Even worse than talking mean about yourself is talking about other people. If you're publicly saying horrible things about your ex, especially on the internet - newsflash: the new boy that likes you will check you out on Facebook and Twitter, he will see what you've said about your ex and then he will run a million miles in the opposite direction, because he knows that one day, he's probably going to be the target of some brutal Facebook rant, and who wants that? Even if you did have the worst ex boyfriend in the entire world, he doesn't need to know about it, at least in the early stages. You wiped the slate clean remember, therefore it doesn't matter anymore. It can actually feel more liberating to let things go rather than plotting your revenge!
To summarise: having confidence and just being happy with yourself and with your own company is half the battle. The worst thing you can do is depend on someone else for your own happiness or to stick with someone who treats you badly just because you don't like the thought of being single. Not only is this a huge responsibility for your partner, it's a very sufficating situation for both of you. He shouldn't tell you that you can't do something or go somewhere, as you shouldn't do with him. If he wants a boys night out, let him do it. It's a brilliant excuse to invite a friend over, even if it's just for a quick cup of tea, to have a good chat, just the two of you. I look forward to those nights! It's healthy for your relationship to have your own ambitions, dreams and life outside of him. There are two people in the relationship and your needs and happiness are equally as important as his. I think a lot of people forget that, I certainly have done in the past. Relationships are rarely perfect, mine isn't - we wind each other up something rotten. The difference is that we always end up laughing because the argument becomes so petty and I'm really sarcastic anyway and I'll make some sort of stupid sarcastic insult which makes him laugh and then I'll laugh and hey presto we're friends again. No relationship is without arguments and you will have bumps in the road. In short: don't have unrealistic expectations and think that just because it isn't like it is in the movies and you wind each other up and you've discovered that he has some not very nice bad habits, doesn't mean your relationship is doomed - this is called real life, and it is normal! Don't worry!
I hope you enjoyed this feature, I think this is the first advice-y post I've made so it's something a little different, do let me know if you would like to see more of these kind of features on my blog! Cheerio!