April 11, 2018 04:00 PM

Brad Pitt is “more like the old happy and charming Brad” a year and a half after separating from Angelina Jolie, an insider tells PEOPLE in the latest issue.

The 54-year-old actor has been in high spirits recently as he’s slowly made his way back into the spotlight — and started dating again, according to multiple sources — after taking time to focus on himself.

“Separating was very sad and shocking to him, but he started taking care of himself again,” adds the insider. “He seems much, much happier.”

Jolie filed for divorce in September 2016, and she and Pitt are still negotiating the terms of their divorce and custody of their six children—Maddox, 16, Pax, 14, Zahara, 13, Shiloh, 11, and 9-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne.

Brad Pitt at a pre-Oscar party on March 1, 2018.
Lester Cohen/Getty

Brad Pitt at a pre-Oscar party on March 1, 2018.

Pitt has made a series of low-key appearances recently. He stepped out to Sean Penn’s Haiti Rising benefit in January, where he was outbid on the chance to watch a Game of Thrones episode with star Emilia Clarke. In March, he made a surprise appearance at a pre-Oscars bash, where he mingled with celebrities like Tiffany Haddish. And on April 10, he was spotted at an L.A. Dodgers game.

As Pitt moves on, that he’s starting to date again.

“It took him a long time to date, but he is now,” says the insider. “There hasn’t been any talk about a special someone, though.”

RELATED VIDEO: Brad Pitt Is ‘in a Better Place’ Amid Divorce Proceedings with Angelina Jolie: Source

Still, he may have already found someone he connects with. The actor has been spending time with renowned architect Neri Oxman, 42, after getting to know each other through an architecture project at MIT, where she works as a professor of media arts and sciences at the school’s Media Lab.

While a Pitt source has maintained they’re “just friends,” they’ve met up a few times since the fall and the insider notes Pitt has been flying frequently to the East Coast. He dropped by one of Oxman’s classes last fall and was spotted at MIT again a few weeks ago.

“She’s genius and gorgeous,” an architect who has seen Oxman lecture told PEOPLE.

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