Let’s face it – breaking up is hard to do. A lot us tend to strongly take on the identity of being a “couple” when we’re in a relationship. Not only do others see you in this role (friends, family, co-workers etc.), but we often start to see ourselves as part of a unit and less of an individual. This can make the breaking up process doubly hard; not only do you feel like you’re losing your mate, but you also feel like they’re taking a part of you with them. Whether you’re the instigator or the recipient of a break-up, a common reaction to the ending of a relationship is to try to find a new one to replace that sense of loss. We’ve all learned however, (or we should have by now), that’s it’s important to take time for ourselves and reflect on the things that went wrong within that relationship in order to make the next one healthier. So is there an appropriate length of time to wait before we start dating again? This of course varies with the individual, but here are some important things to consider before getting back into the dating world.
How do you know when you are ready to start dating again?
1. Do you still feel the need to talk about your ex and your relationship? This is a pretty clear marker that you still have some things to work out before moving on and letting go. If you were on a date and felt the need to talk about your ex and what went wrong in your past relationship (especially on a first date), your date would instantly know you were not ready to be dating again.
2. Are you still bitter and hurt by the breakup? This can mean you have not yet dealt with the past and are still living in it to some degree. You probably have some walls up, which is not conducive to dating. If you can’t come up with a quick explanation of why the relationship ended without sounding upset and hurt, chances are it’s too soon to be dating.
3. What would your reaction be if your ex approached you to get back together? If you’re still entertaining the idea, you’re not ready to start dating again.
4. What emotions does seeing a picture of your ex evoke? Are you able to look back fondly and be happy to have had the experience and grown from it, or does it make you feel uncomfortable, sad, lonely or hurt?
5. What are your reasons for getting back into the dating world? If you’re coming from a place of loneliness or desperation, people will be able to sense it a mile away. If you honestly feel you’re strong enough to offer something positive to someone else, without needing anything from them to make you feel better about yourself, then you’re ready.
Sometimes going on a few dates can jump-start the process, and choosing a low-stress situation to help get back into the dating world will help. Going out with a group of friends, singles dances and speed dating are some great ways to ease back into the process.