There’s a myth: “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.” In other words, if you want to get over your ex, you need to date someone else.
But really, can dating help you move on? One of the many things people say when someone is experiencing heartbreak is, “You need to move on,” which is code for “find someone else.” Most people believe that you’ve officially moved on if you’re dating someone new.
But just because you’re going through a terrible breakup, does it mean that you should use someone else emotionally or physically to get over your past?
Moving on isn’t easy, but it is very, very possible. In this article, we’ll see if dating does help with moving on.
What does “moving on” mean?
Moving on means not having to think about your ex constantly. It means not blaming yourself for the end of the relationship or thinking about the maybes and what-ifs or what the relationship could have been.
It means not feeling like your entire life has come to a standstill.
Moving on means not thinking about your ex with anger or hatred. It means not checking their social media or trying to find out who they’re dating. It means giving up calling or texting and asking them to get back together.
It is a process that can take a long time to complete. It means accepting the end of the relationship and turning your attention to your life. Moving on is knowing that even though the relationship may not have worked out, you lived and you learned.
Does dating help you get over your ex?
Sometimes it does, but sometimes it doesn’t.
While some people believe it’s important to get over an ex before dating fully, others believe that they don’t need to pause on their love life just because they’re working on healing.
People use dating as a way to help them move on for various reasons:
- It can be an ego boost.
- It can distract them from dealing with the pain of a breakup.
- It can help them make ex-lovers jealous.
- It can make them forget about their ex.
All of the above are wrong reasons for dating and can result in self-sabotage because you interrupt the healing process.
When recovering from heartbreak, you feel a range of emotions that you need to deal with before moving forward.
Dating someone new can mainly help you avoid feeling the pain of being alone. Perhaps both. But it’s not a healthy way to move on. Before assuming that you should date someone new, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I dating to fill a void? Am I trying to avoid something?
- Do I genuinely care about this new person, and am I willing to give them 100% of myself?
Why does dating not help you move on?
Society has taught us to deal with heartbreak by “getting back out there.” For instance, you can get in touch with someone new instantly by swiping right or left in today’s world.
It’s a sad reality of the world we’re living in.
Also, human beings are social species; we expect to have others around us since we love to connect. That’s why most people feel the need to get back on the dating scene to help them move on.
However, moving on can be very difficult, but the process can teach you important lessons before moving on to your next relationship. Here are some reasons why dating doesn’t, in fact, help you move on.
- You block yourself from dealing with what you’re feeling.
- You interrupt the healing process.
- You have unresolved emotions of pain and sadness.
- You can’t run away from your feelings and emotions. Every time you try to run or push them down, they eventually pop up when you least expect them.
- Dating doesn’t make you forget about your ex, no matter how many new people you date. It can make you feel better for a while, but memories will eventually pop up and haunt you.
You can’t avoid pain because pain is coming, whether you like it or not.
How long should you wait before moving on after a breakup?
You loved, and you lost. Maybe you’re wondering how long you should take before getting back into the dating game to find what you once had or hopefully better.
There are two main philosophies when it comes to dating after a breakup. One is the whole idea of dating right after a breakup, commonly referred to as rebounding. This method is unhealthy and self-destructive.
The other one is hard, and it’s the most important one: taking baby steps until you’re fully recovered. Moving on is a process that doesn’t always follow a clear timeline because the recovery process depends on a lot of factors. One of the important factors is how long the relationship lasted.
If you have been in a long-term relationship (a couple of years), a great rule of thumb is to wait between six months to a year. Depending on your feelings, you might even need more time. On the other hand, you might take less time to move on if the relationship didn’t last long.
There’s no specific number or formula for figuring out a timeline. However, you’ll eventually need to get back on the dating scene. But before moving on, try to take a few months to process, mourn the death of your last relationship, and fully recover.
Do you feel like you’re ready to date? Ask yourself these questions.
- Are you trying to fill a void?
- Do you want somebody to lick your wounds?
- Are you trying to avoid feeling lonely?
If your answer to these questions is yes, you aren’t ready to get back into the dating pool.
Here is how you know you’re ready to be with someone new:
- You can sleep well at night without worrying about what went wrong.
- You stopped blaming your ex for the breakup. Even if they were responsible for the breakup, you must have contributed to it somehow. Maybe by ignoring the red flags.
- You are happy with yourself.
- You enjoy being alone. You can be alone without feeling lonely.
- You can see your ex without having a meltdown.
- You’re ready to be with someone else without making comparisons.
There’s—obviously—nothing wrong with having a one-night stand. But if you’re looking to date someone seriously, you need to wait until you’re over the last one.
When can dating help you move on?
Dating doesn’t usually help people move on. However, there are a few exceptions when dating can help you.
If the relationship was short-lived
If you were in a short-term relationship, dating could help you move on. You might have dated the other person for not too long.
Therefore, you didn’t explore the partner or know them completely. Hence, you might not have been too attached or invested in the relationship.
If you fell out of love with a partner
Falling out of love is not uncommon. Long-term partners especially experience it after going through some major life changes together. These events can either bring them back together or push them away from each other. Some common signs that you are no longer in love include:
- Butterflies are gone.
- Sex life sucks.
- You no longer feel like you can lean on your partner for support.
- You feel like something is missing in the relationship.
- You are not motivated to put in the effort to save the relationship.
- You’re no longer attracted to them.
- You wouldn’t mind not seeing them again.
If you’ve fallen out of love with a partner, dating could help you move on quickly because you’re ready to open up to someone else.
If you’re moving on to something better
You might have found someone better suited for you, which supersedes your last relationship. Someone you’re more aligned with can make the process of moving on easy.
What can help you move on?
The hard truth of life: you are responsible for your physical and emotional well-being.
Here are some steps to help you move on from a breakup.
Allow yourself to feel
When dealing with heartbreak, it’s easy just to shove the sad feelings away and pretend they don’t exist. But it’s important to acknowledge all your feelings.
Don’t try to suppress them.
Give yourself time and space to cry and feel sad. If need be, spend a few days or weeks listening to a collection of breakup songs, or stay in bed all day if you have to.
All this is needed to help you process what happened.
Do things you enjoy alone
If you were in a long-term commitment with your ex, you might have had to sacrifice your happiness to do things they loved doing.
Take this time to rediscover yourself and do things that bring you joy and happiness.
Cook your favorite meals, exercise, binge-watch your favorite TV shows, or anything else that makes you happy. This can help you boost your confidence and make you appreciate yourself.
Connect with friends and family
While you might not feel like socializing, spending time with close friends and family can help you move on from an ex. Take time to call or text with them.
Additionally, get out of the house and do fun things together, like hiking. Connecting with your loved ones can help keep your mind occupied.
Get rid of items that remind you of your ex
Having items that remind you of them can trigger negative emotions. Therefore, get rid of anything that makes you think of them.
It could be pictures, videos, text messages, gifts, or their clothes.
If you have to, unfollow or block their social media platforms. Donate, give away, or delete any reminders of him.
Reflect on the lessons learned
No relationship is a waste of time. No matter the length of the relationship, don’t view it as a failure. The fact that it didn’t work out doesn’t mean that you wasted your time.
A breakup can teach us a lot about ourselves and others. You can learn a lot about love, self-esteem, insecurities, worth, and value.
Avoid over-analyzing what went wrong or what could have been. Instead, use this chance to improve your life.
Is it okay to date someone when you’re not over your ex?
Okay? Not necessarily. Advisable? It might not be.
If you’re not over your ex, you still have unresolved issues and feelings for them. The thing is, you can’t say or know for sure that you’re completely over them until you start dating again. However, this doesn’t mean you start seeing new people two or three weeks post-breakup. Chances are, you’re not healed in such a short time.
Take all the time you need to avoid dating for the wrong reasons. If you meet someone you’re attracted to, and you’re not fully healed, be honest with them about having residual feelings for your ex. Rebound relationships can haunt your new love.
Dating someone new can not help you move on if you’re still holding on to the pain of the past. At the end of the day, making sure you’ve worked on recovering from a breakup is all you can do before moving on.
The truth about relationships is that they can change our lives. Our exes are always a part of us. Most importantly, we should learn from past experiences, and use the positives to improve ourselves.
Ultimately, if you feel like you want to date again in the future, spend some time alone first. Think about what you’d want in your next relationship and what you can do to make it happen. It’s a process, but it can help you move on.