Choosing when you’re ready to date again after a breakup can be a hard decision. It takes time to heal after getting out of a relationship.
While many love to say that the best way to get over someone is to find someone new, I would strongly disagree. Dating too soon after a serious breakup can have negative effects on both you and the person you end up going out with.
So, what’s the deal with dating immediately after a breakup? When, if ever, is it a good idea? And how do you know you’re ready to start dating again?
We’re going to look at some clues that may help you decide if you’re ready to get back out there again.
How do you feel?
Dating immediately after a breakup and deciding if that’s a good idea or not starts with knowing and understanding how you’re feeling.
When you know how you feel about the breakup, it makes the next dating steps easier to handle. So, how do you feel after your breakup?
This is the worst-case scenario of post-breakup feelings. Unfortunately, it’s not an unusual feeling to have after getting out of a relationship, especially if you were broken up with or caught off guard by the breakup.
Even if you weren’t, ending a relationship is usually never easy. The feeling is similar to suffering a loss. You’ve had someone in your life for so long and then they’re just gone. It’s a hard thing to adjust to.
If you’re feeling completely shattered and devastated because your relationship has just ended, then it is not the time to start dating other people. Take the time to be sad and get back in touch with yourself outside of that relationship.
Don’t try to numb the pain by distracting yourself with someone new. It most likely won’t work and will probably make you feel even worse.
Totally fine—you ended it
Maybe for you, the relationship had ended a long time ago, and you were just trying to find a way to formally finish it. You were the one who decided it was time to call it quits. You’d thought it out thoroughly and knew that it was the best decision for you.
By the time you actually end the relationship, you’re ready to move on.
If this is the case, then it’s probably fine to start dating immediately after a breakup. While it may not feel great for your ex-partner to see you moving on so quickly, if you feel emotionally ready to start seeing people again, then it probably won’t do you any harm.
Heartbroken but accepting
You may not have wanted the relationship to end, but you knew there was no other way. You’re not completely shattered, but you are heartbroken over the situation.
Sometimes we know that certain relationships just aren’t meant to be. However, that doesn’t always make it easier to end them. Even though logically we know it should end, emotionally we may not want it to.
You’ve accepted the breakup, but you’re still fragile. Give yourself time to heal so that you don’t end up in a rebound situation. If you feel like you really want to start dating again, stick to casual dating scenarios.
Clues you’re ready to date again
Your feelings about the breakup should be a good place to start when deciding if you’re ready to start dating again. But here are some specific clues to look out for to know that you’re ready to get back out in the dating world—in a healthy way.
You’re not crying in public (about the breakup, at least)
Tell me I’m not the only one who finds it liberating to publicly cry when feeling especially devastated. I’ve been known to cry on buses, on metros, and just walking down the street after getting heartbroken.
If you’re still in the publicly crying phase, it’s not time to start dating yet. Imagine risking bursting into tears on a date with someone new! That’s not great for anyone.
If you’re long past this stage, however, it may be time to get back out there.
To be clear, I recommend staying as far away as possible from your ex’s social media accounts after a breakup. Nothing puts salt in the wound like seeing your ex move on, with pictures and cute captions, before you’re even out of the public crying phase.
However, if you’ve hit a natural point after the breakup where you don’t even think to check their account, then you’re definitely ready to start dating again. You don’t care what your ex is up to and that’s a great feeling!
You aren’t comparing every new potential date to your ex
Ahhh, yes. In this terrible phase of thinking, you’ll never find anyone else with whom you’ll be able to connect again.
If you’re comparing each new potential date to your ex, then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
You’ve got to let go of your old relationship to be open to a new one. No one is going to be the same as your ex, and since the relationship didn’t work out, that’s probably a good thing.
If you’ve reached a point where you consider potential dates as new opportunities for new connections, then you’re ready to start dating again.
You’re feeling optimistic about a future without your ex
You have started to imagine life again without them. It no longer stings to have to erase them out of your future fantasies; it just comes naturally now.
In fact, you’re excited about what the future brings. And you’re open to sharing your future with other people.
You feel different—in a good way
Whether you’re feeling like yourself again, or you’ve upgraded to a 2.0 version of yourself, you feel different. And it feels good.
It’s easy to lose ourselves when we’re in a relationship. Part of the healing process after the end of a relationship may involve getting back in touch with things you left behind when giving time and attention to your partner.
It feels great to get back to yourself. Maybe you’ve picked up some new hobbies, quit your job, or got that puppy you’ve always wanted. Either way, you feel better than ever.
Tips for dating immediately after a breakup
You’ve assessed the situation and decided you are ready to start dating again. Congratulations! Keep these tips in mind to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Take it slow
Take your time with getting back out there. Don’t force it. If you feel like you connect with someone, or are maybe just super attracted to them, then get back out there and go on a date together.
However, if you’re having to talk yourself into something, it’s probably not meant to be.
Be kind to yourself and ease back into the dating world. There’s no need to download every dating app, sign up for every online site, and hound every friend to help set you up. Chill out and date with ease.
Keep it casual
Don’t dive right into another relationship after having just gotten out of one. Keep things casual when you get back into the dating world.
You don’t want to risk rebounding with someone only to later find out you hadn’t processed the last breakup. Keep things casual as you navigate your feelings in the dating world.
If you decide you aren’t ready after a couple of dates, there’s no shame in taking some more time.
Don’t look for opportunities to bring ex-talk into your conversations with your date. However, if the topic comes up naturally, be honest about the fact that you are just coming out of a relationship. This helps your date to understand where you are emotionally.
I tend to keep things casual when dating someone if I know the person is just getting out of a relationship. I prefer to take things slow and let them take their time in deciding how they feel rather than ending up being their rebound.
Is it too soon?
My general rule with dating after a breakup is that if you think it’s too soon, then it probably is.
You’ll know when you’re ready to get back out there again after having a breakup. Listen to your emotions.
If they happen to fail you, and you venture into the dating world too soon, there’s no harm in putting the brakes on. Take a little longer if dating doesn’t feel right yet.
Remember, it may feel strange to start dating again after a breakup.
It’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to dating immediately after a breakup. It’s a sensitive time. Give yourself time to heal on your own before dating again.