With every breakup, there’s always this point when you’ve stopped crying and you start to think about dating again. Now here’s the thing: we live in a culture where we’re encouraged to pull up our bootstraps and ‘get back on the horse,’ so to speak – even when it comes to matters of the heart. However, there’s nothing more futile than getting back into dating or a relationship before you’re emotionally ready.
Not sure if you’re ready to get out there and meet someone new? Here’s a few things you need to be able to say “yes” to before you’re ready to date again.
You’re totally cool with being single. My mom has this saying, “The only time you should be dating is when you know you don’t need to be dating.” She’s a wise lady because it’s true. The only time you should be dating is when you’re already comfortable being single and hanging out solo. One of the hardest things to do after you break up with someone is re-adapt to being single. Have you spent some quality time with yourself? Whether that’s binge watching the Gilmore Girls, hanging out with your friends, soul-searching at a yoga retreat or checking in with your therapist – you need time to just do you before you can be with someone else.
You’re no longer angry. You’re perfectly entitled to feel angry as hell after a breakup. Allow yourself to feel all the feelings – even the ugly ones that make you want to throw stuff against the wall. You need to process all the crappy emotional stuff or you’re going to carry all these negative feelings into your next relationship.
You can own up to the role you played in the breakup. If you’re still blaming your ex for everything that went wrong in your relationship, you’re not ready to date yet. Part of moving on is being able to own up to your own personal BS and mistakes – even if that mistake was dating your ex in the first place.
You’ve got your stuff back (or decided to let it go). I learned the hard way that sometimes getting your stuff back from an ex (cough. cough. that autographed Erykah Badu album. cough. cough.) is sometimes more trouble than it’s worth. However, if getting back your treasured, perfectly worn hoodie or epic snow-globe collection is crucial to your sense of well-being, you need to get that crap back as soon as possible and before you move on to dating again. You don’t want that, “Um, can you please return my snowglobes already?” conversation spilling over into your new dating life.
You’ve reached the point where you’re no longer constantly talking or thinking about your ex. This is a big one. It’s totally normal to think about your ex and want to talk about the break up after it happens. The healing process after a breakup isn’t complete until you’ve had a chance to air all of your grievances and vent until you’re blue in the face. No one wants to date the person who is still obsessed with their ex. Take time to process the breakup. When you’re ready to date again you’ll be able to leave your past relationship where it belongs: in the past.
You’re not in a rush. When you’ve been hurt, often there’s the impulse to try and fill that void left by your ex with someone else. That’s how those things called rebound relationships and hook-ups happen! When you’re ready to date you won’t be looking to rush into anything new. Instead, you’ll be OK taking your time to meet new people without the expectation of immediately getting into another relationship.
You’ve done something really nice for yourself. Your heart was broken, you deserve some self-love and to indulge a little. Whether that involves treating yourself to a massage, that tattoo you’ve been saving for or just taking some time out to chill, you need to give this gift to yourself before you start dating again – if only to remind yourself that you’re 100% worth it.
You want to date for the “right reasons.” You’re not trying to make your ex jealous. You’re not trying to fill a void left behind by the breakup. Instead, you’re dating because you’re ready to move on and meet new people.
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