This Year Commit to Meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right
Whether you've been single and dateless for a while, or you find yourself "suddenly single" due to a divorce or death of a spouse, you're not alone. In fact, there were more than 1.6 million divorces in the U.S. in 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Companionship is healthy and if finding, and keeping, a meaningful relationship this year is one your resolutions, read these helpful tips before going on that first date:

1. Start a new relationship with yourself. Even people who normally have a healthy level of self-esteem can feel low after a divorce. Make a list of your qualities, interests, goals and accomplishments. Realize what's special and loveable about you, love yourself, be proud of your accomplishments and embrace your future.

2. Develop a support group. Stick with friends, old and new, who support you unconditionally, without bringing baggage from your former marriage into play. You may need to release established friendships with couples and individuals who knew your ex and might take sides or give advice that's not in your best interest, even inadvertently. Ditto for spiritual advisors.

3. Project confidence. Wallowing in self-pity is a turnoff to healthy prospective partners--and a turn-on for unscrupulous people who prey on the weak. So turn off the tears, let the past go and immerse yourself in activities that get your happy juices flowing: for instance sports, the arts or volunteering. Join a club to meet people who share your interests. You'll feel wonderful and attract people who are attractive to you.

4. Deal positively with setbacks. Holidays, birthdays, anything that brings back memories--good or bad--can ignite hurtful feelings. Acknowledge these feelings and their legitimacy, and quickly shake them off by calling someone from your support group or immersing yourself in a joyful activity.

5. Know what you want. Make a list of the qualities you want in a partner so you'll know whether or not a new dating relationship is worth pursuing.

6. Sharpen your image. Exercise regularly, lose the extra pounds, get a makeover, freshen-up your hairstyle. Looking great helps you feel great, and feeling great makes you more attractive inside and out.

7. Be your healthiest. Your physical health affects your mental health, so get regular medical and dental checkups, stay on top of any medical conditions you might have (such as high blood pressure or diabetes) and eat healthy foods. Watch your alcohol intake too.

8. Go for it! You're now at your psychological and physical best. So date and enjoy!