Ask five of your girlfriends how soon you can start dating after a breakup, and you’ll probably get five different answers. Here are some common ones to expect:
- When you’re ready…
- 3 – 6 months…
- Right away!
- See, there’s this formula…
- What’s your sign again?
Wondering which one is right? #1 is always right, #2-4 are sometimes right, and #5 isn’t what’s covered here. If you’re into astrology and believe it, then an astrology friend can help you figure out if you’re an emotional rubber band that snaps back fast or a slow burner-learner that needs time.
There have been formulas people have used in the past based on how long the previous relationship lasted, but people, like their relationships, aren’t cookie cutter. Three months is usually pretty good advice, but six months might be too long.
Rather than a calendar deadline, you should be more aware of when it’s too early to get back into dating as compared to when you are ready. Find your own happy medium, because unfortunately, no one else can do it for you.
There are many signs that you’ve tried moving on after a breakup too soon. Here are 10 of them to be aware of:
1. You bring your ex up
Past relationships are going to come up. In fact, they should. However, if your ex’s nasty bathroom habits are taking up half an hour of conversation time on a first or second date, you shouldn’t be on that date.
2. It’s all about sex
Sex is good. Sex is fun. Sex is healthy. It shouldn’t be all you do.
3. You spend each night with someone
When you first start dating anyone, spending all your time together is not a good idea. Honor your need for space.
4. Too many photos getting posted
Wanting to show off your new fling or lover on Facebook and other social media is great. Flooding your feed with them isn’t.
5. You text them all the time
Finding new chemistry after a breakup has an allure all its own. Still, don’t use it to fill a void. Doing it might engender familiarity but not actual intimacy.
6. You love for someone being nothing like your last lover
Did your last romance stay up all night gaming when your new partner doesn’t even own a console? Heading the opposite direction of what you don’t like is a good starting point to finding happiness, but staying at a direct 180 and running that way leaves you no room to find anything else.
7. You didn’t learn a thing
Even if your ex is the Antichrist, there are still a few things you can learn about yourself along the way, like how did you let it get that far?
8. Your state of self-worth isn’t good
No matter how bad or clean, a breakup is a ding to the soul on a good day. The longer the relationship, the harder it hits. You have to find your center again first.
9. Your motives aren’t right
Most people want to be with someone, so wanting to date feels natural. However, if you’re doing it quickly after a breakup, you might be after more than just love and romance. If it’s a boost to your self-esteem, validation, or just distraction, then you’re dating for the wrong reasons.
10. You’re afraid of losing someone
If you meet someone great once you start dating again, do you get afraid you might lose them? Or is that you might lose them too? It’s perfectly possible for the perfect partner to walk into your life the day after a breakup, and sometimes even the day of, but as a general rule of thumb, this just doesn’t happen.
Besides, if they’re really the ‘one’, the connection between the two of you would be so preordained and resoundingly strong that there wouldn’t be any room for fear of any kind.
When You Are Ready
Okay, enough with the discouraging warning signs about when you’re not ready. These are signs of the opposite end of the spectrum, which is where you want to be. These are indications it’s time to start dating again:
1. You learned quite a bit about yourself
You don’t have to be perfect, but you should be more grown-up than you once were.
2. You can bring your best into a new relationship
Partnerships need to be equal and balanced. If you want someone’s best, know that you’re ready to do so too.
3. You don’t want your ex back
Love them or hate them, you might still crave their presence in your life. Once you don’t, you’re free.
4. You’re okay being by yourself
The world screams at you that being single isn’t right, whereas being in a relationship is where you should be. That’s simply not true. It’s okay to breathe, and not just in yoga class.
5. You can see a new future
The real divorce of any relationship isn’t a breakup or divorce papers, but when you can envision your future without them.
Tips For Getting Going Again
If you get to the point where you can be on a date with a new person and your ex walks in without tears, volume, or drama, then you’re probably ready to start dating again seriously.
Follow these pointers to find your way when back in the dating pool:
Learn from the pain, even if you couldn’t control any of it.
Take a break from breakups. If you have several in a row, then you need to get a true hold over the rest of your life.
Take it slow. Don’t commit to something just because it’s there and can fill the void. Even after a breakup stops being acutely painful, there’s still a hole that’s chronically painful.
If you want acceptance, look in the mirror.
Be picky about who you date, but be casual about things too. Now is not the time for intensity.
Above all else, don’t go through life waiting for someone else to love you.
Here is my guide about what ‘babe’ means when a guy calls you that but you’re not dating.