10 Questions To Consider When You Think You're Ready To Date Again After A Breakup
Ending a marriage or a long-term relationship is very emotional and taxing on a person. It’s one of the hardest things people will go through and sadly, almost everyone experiences a hard break up.
It’s common to battle back and forth between feeling like you’re ready to conquer the world as a newly single person, and feeling lonely and craving a comforting hug. Both are totally normal emotions to feel.
Getting over an ex takes a different amount of time for everyone and you shouldn’t start to feel pressured to start dating again before you’re ready. Even when you hear the infamous question, “so, when are you going to start dating again?” That can often be an extremely difficult question to answer.
Getting back in the dating game takes a different amount of time for everyone. Some people jump right back in, while others are more cautious and take their time. No matter your dating pace after a breakup here are some important questions to spend some time reflecting on when you’re thinking about dating again.
Have you stopped the random bursts of tears? Being emotionally fragile is a hard place to be and if you’re still surrounded by a pile of used tissues I wouldn’t recommend jumping back into the dating game. When you’re heartbroken anything could cause you to burst into tears -- an old song, a name, a memory, anything that brings back memories. You might think it will help you move on but ultimately, you will only wish the person in front of you is the person you’re still trying to get over. Take some more time to heal, and remember, it’s not a race.
Has it been a significant amount of time since they last crossed your mind? When you’re fresh off a break up they are typically the first person you think about in the morning and the last thing you think about at night. And you probably don’t stop thinking about them throughout the day, either, which is normal. At a certain point, you might find your thoughts drifting away from them and more towards other things or people. A significant amount of time also has a different meaning for everyone. Maybe it took you until your morning commute to think of them. Maybe you went a day or two, or a whole weekend. The longer you go without thinking about them the more you’ll feel ready to move on.
Are you focused more on yourself than your ex? The best time to start dating again is when you feel like you are confident and happy in your own skin most of the time. You do not have to be confident and happy all the time but you are not seeking the affirmation of someone else. You are putting yourself first and you feel like you don’t need another person to make you feel ok. You are focusing on making yourself happy again, on your own.
Have you stopped checking their social media? It’s a very common thing to do right after a breakup. You want to keep tabs on what they’re doing, who they’re with, what their posting, see if there are signs they’re missing you, too. Slowly this habit fades and you stop looking but if they’re still popping up first on your search bar you’re probably not completely ready to start dating someone else.
Do you feel excited about dating again? Dating is supposed to be fun! You should be excited to go out and meet someone new for the first time. You should be excited to learn your date and explore if this could lead to something more. It shouldn’t be stressful and dreaded. You shouldn’t be comparing your new date to your ex. If you don’t feel excited or ready, maybe it’s not the time to start dating someone new, which is fine! Remember, there is no rush.
Do you feel clarity with what you’re looking for? You’ve gained clarity since your last relationship and you’ve reflected on what you like and what you don’t like about your last relationship/partner. You don’t feel like you regret it but instead, you’ve learned from it and you want to make positive changes for your next relationship.
Do you feel you can make time for someone new? We hear this all the time -- no one is too busy for someone they really like, and it’s true.
Have you stopped talking about your ex regularly? When you’re healing it’s common to talk about your ex but after a certain point you have to stop, especially when it comes to dating new people. No one on a first or second date wants to hear, “my ex…” unless specifically asked a question. It’s not fair to the new person you’re going out with.
Are you emotionally available? You have to be willing to make yourself emotionally available again. If you’re not, that’s ok, but it’s probably too soon to start dating and involve someone else’s emotions.
Can you see the things you were at fault for in your relationship, too? It’s easy to blame your previous partner on why things ended but being able to hold yourself accountable for your actions is also important.
Moving on from a tough breakup or divorce is challenging, to say the least. Figuring out how to be on your own again after a period depending on someone else takes time and strength. There is no rush to start dating again and you shouldn’t pressure yourself (or let others pressure you) to start dating again before you’re ready.