I Don’t Think You Need To Be Totally Over Someone Before Dating Again—I’m Doing It

I don’t think you have to be totally over your ex to date again—maybe just mostly over them. It can sometimes help the process to introduce a new person into your life, and as long as you’re being mindful of your feelings and whether or not you’re hurting someone else, I say get out there.

  1. Obviously you shouldn’t do it while totally heartbroken. There are different levels of not over someone. When you’re in the stage where your entire world is crumbling, it’s best not to even think about dating yet. When your heart is still throbbing and desperately aching for your ex, it’s best to roll solo and process those feelings. Let yourself be heartbroken for as long as you need to be without exacerbating the pain.
  2. Some time to heal is good. I try to take weeks or months in between relationships to do some healing. My last one was a short relationship for me so I only took about two weeks off. In that time, I shut the dating part of my brain down and I focused on just healing myself.
  3. It’s natural to have some residual feelings even months later. Despite needing some time to heal, you don’t have to have the person completely washed out of your system in order to move on. I don’t know about you, but I take a really long time to completely get over someone. Like, far longer than when we were even together. You can go back out there when you feel they’re mostly out of your system. Dating can help move the process along.
  4. It’s important to be honest with the new person. If you are still hurting a bit and you’ve started to date someone new, it’s super important to just let them know where you’re at. Then they can make an informed decision about whether they want to stick around or not. Most people are cool with you having a bit of heartache. Honesty is the key, otherwise, it isn’t fair to the other person.
  5. Rebounds can help. Sometimes rebounding isn’t such a bad idea. If you’re the type of person who can hook up with no strings attached, I say go for it. Rebounding can help remind you that you’re still attractive and lovable, which you don’t always feel right after a breakup. If it’s something super casual, you don’t even have to be honest with the other person about how you’re feeling.
  6. If it gets too challenging, you can always stop. I know that I’ve had times where I’ve had to pump the breaks and slow down in my dating pursuits. We’re only human—sometimes we think that we’re ready only to find out that we’re certainly not. The good news is that you have the reins in dating. You can control when to press the start and stop buttons. If and when things get too tough, you can always take a step back.
  7. We’re only human—we have desires. You’re likely going to have romantic and sexual desires—that’s just part of being a human being. It’s really difficult to suppress these feelings or pretend they don’t exist. It’s OK to act on them if the acting isn’t going to hurt you or another person.
  8. It’s important to be honest with yourself. Whether or not you’re capable of dating in a healthy way after a breakup is entirely up to you to determine. No one else can tell you if you’re ready or not (though your friends can make helpful suggestions). It’s really important to be honest with yourself when you’re assessing the situation. I know that I started using dating apps too soon and had to take a break because I knew that I just missed my ex too much.
  9. You just have to be careful not to compare. If your ex is on your mind all the time, it may be a bad idea to be dating new people. You’d only compare those new folks to your ex in your mind over and over again. Instead, date when you’re only kind of thinking about your ex. You’ll be less likely to use them as a reference point.
  10. A relationship isn’t doomed because it started off this way. There’s a misconception that a rebound or dating someone soon after a breakup is utterly doomed. This is just that, though—a misconception. Happy (and lasting) relationships have come from people who started dating while their heart was still broken. Don’t worry about it messing up your chances of a happy future.
Ginelle has been writing professionally for more than six years and has a bachelor’s degree in digital marketing & design. Her writing has appeared on Birdie, Thought Catalog, Tiny Buddha and more. You can follow her on Instagram @ginelletesta, via her Facebook page, or through her website at ginelletesta.com.