Despite the pain of heartbreak, those who have had a previous long-term relationship were at an advantage in the dating world, Dr Gian Gonzaga says.
"Think about all of the things that you do in life where you get better with practice, and a lot of times people don't believe that about relationships," Dr Gonzaga told AAP on Thursday.
"They feel like once they've been in a relationship that's unsuccessful, they have failed.
"They feel like they're not worthy of love, so they may treat people in a different way that makes it harder to have a better long term-relationship the second time around."
But instead of acting out, the broken-hearted should take a big-picture view of their former long term relationship and learn from it, said Dr Gonzaga, who has written a book on the subject of second-time love.
People should think about what factors contributed to the earlier relationship, both positive and negative, and what they should change for next time.
"Also take a look at your former partner and think about what was it that they were missing, or you needed to have in a partner that you didn't know."
Dr Gonzaga also advised looking at the relationship in context and considering all the external factors that contributed to the breakdown.
"It really is about using the knowledge that you have be better, smarter at picking out the right partner and doing the right things in relationships," he said.
"It's not that people don't realise this - a lot of people take a lot of individual lessons, but very few people put all of them together."
He said while many people find looking for new love a daunting task, they shouldn't lose heart.
Dr Gonzaga, who is based in California, is visiting Australia this week. His book, Dating the Second Time Around: Finding Love That Lasts, is available now.