Well, I'm just sticking my toes back in the dating waters now, but it's been almost 5 years. I really think the mentality that most people have that they're lacking something if they're single is really unhealthy. If you're not in a healthy place, or lacking something on your own....combining your life with someone in the same circumstance is NOT going to help. And it's very important to allow yourself a kind of emotional reset and recovery after coming out of any relationship. Just like it's important to give your muscles a rest after heavy exertion. If you just keep going and going, something's going to cramp up or sprain or even tare.
How to keep from feeling lonely, though. A creative outlet helps a lot. A lot of women are very crafty, and making sure you give yourself time for that kind of thing can help a lot. I'm not crafty, but I write...and I put my creativity into things for the kids. They had the most awesome bday parties and bedrooms when they were younger. We homeschooled, and I put a lot of thought and energy into planning field trips, leading in the homeschool group, lesson plans that felt like playing, etc.
Also, making sure to find some time for yourself. When they were little and I had no support, that just meant arranging our schedules so I was up later or earlier than the kids from time to time...and spend that time doing something NOT kid friendly. Watching a rented movie, tivo'd show, playing a video game, something I could never do with them around.
As they got older, they wanted less of my attention (no more cool bday parties, decorate their own rooms, take control of their own education)...but they are also old enough that they do things on their own some. If you have access to babysitting, this part applies too. I was able to have a bit of an actual social life at that point. Honestly, I still usually just do things on my own. I'm comfortable with me, and after the constant chatter of kids all day I really enjoy going out to dinner or a movie or what not without anyone else.
I think the fact that I'm at that point kind of shows me I'm ready to start dating again....now I just have to figure out if I WANT to be.