You're newly single, maybe feeling lonely, and perhaps feeling disconnected from all your "couples" friends. This may be an excellent time to re-enter the dating game, but you're understandably hesitant because it seems so intimidating. Before you hop back into the game, it's essential for you to make certain considerations. Follow these six tips to ensure your dive back into the dating pool is successful.

1. It's important to start slowly, advises Simon A. Rego, Psy. D., ABPP, ACT, a board-certified cognitive and behavioral psychology fellow at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "Give yourself enough time to make sure that your previous relationship and the issues around it are resolved," he advises. While it's tempting to fill the void in your life with dates, don't fill up every waking hour just to distract yourself.

2. Think it through. You may crave a lot of affection, or you may want a lot of space. Some individuals want to know what's going on all the time with the guy they're dating, yet others can relax and go with the flow.  "Whatever your style is, it's okay, but you need to know it and be able to communicate it," says Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., LMFT.  "You and the person you are dating can train each other if you both know what you need."

3. Know what you want. Decide if you're interested in just having a good time with someone, or if you really want to build a lasting relationship as soon as possible. You may not want to be tied down right now, or you may be looking for a long-term partner. If you're dating just for fun, you may not have to scrutinize the other person as closely as if you were trying to zero in on a potential life partner. "But before you bring someone into your life, or share money or living space, remember they're bringing baggage,"  Tessina says. And the person's baggage can become your problem. "Whoever you're dating is on best behavior," Tessina says. "It gets worse later, not better." So be careful about committing until you really know the person.

4. Avoid the topic of previous relationships with your date, at least in the beginning. "It's just not great first date fodder," says Rego.

5. Establish benchmarks. Plan ahead of time where the two of you will be meeting and how long the date should be, Rego says. It helps avoid awkwardness later on.

6. If you have kids, proceed with caution before deciding to bring your date home for sleepovers. Talk with your children about the importance of keeping open the lines of communication while dating. "Your daughter is keenly watching and observing, and if you're secretive, she may start sneaking around with her boyfriend," says Susan Shapiro Barash, author of Toxic Friends: The Antidote for Women Stuck in Complicated Friendships. As any divorcee who starts dating can attest, it can be hard to juggle mothering duties with dating. "It's a real balancing act," Barash says. But ultimately, it's worth every minute.