7 signs you are ready to date after a breakup
If you recently left a long-term relationship, you might be gunning to get back out there and experience all those things you could never do with your ex. Or, you might be just as eager to crawl under a blanket with a never-ending supply of Ben and Jerry’s.
But how do you know what’s really right for you?
Sure there are rules like divide the length of your relationship in half and use that as a guide. But, what if you’ve been in a relationship for 10 years? Are you really going to wait five years just because someone said that was a good number?
The truth is often you don’t know if you are ready to date again until you actually go on a date and see what happens. That said, if all of the following seven statements are true, you are likely in a good place to start meeting new people.
1. You no longer live with your ex
This would seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many people try to date while still sharing a roof with their ex.
To many potential dates this is a red flag. If this is you, let it be a red flag that you need to disentangle yourself from the past, and any financial ties to your ex, before you get back out there.
“But this city is too expensive!” you say. To you I say, “So is not moving on!” Ask your partner to buy you out, move somewhere cheaper, or find another roommate. Take the loss if you need to.
To fully recover from a relationship, you need to be physically removed from that person.
2. You no longer stalk your ex’s social media on a regular basis
Nothing says not ready to move on like being on a date with a new person and excusing yourself to the bathroom so you can check your ex’s Instagram feed.
If you’ve unfollowed or defriended an ex on Facebook or the like, and deleted or archived your message threads, you are likely ready to move on.
If you’re still checking for updates or reading and rereading all of those romantic texts they sent, you might want to wait.
3. You have clear boundaries around your interactions with your ex in real life
It’s over and you’ve accepted it.
If they dumped you, you’ve abandoned any hopes of getting back together. If they cheated or lied, you’ve let go of your revenge fantasies. You no longer desperately or passive-aggressively message them during the day or drunk dial them in the middle of the night.
Similarly, you’ve changed their name to someone else’s as your emergency contact and no longer hang out together or engage in booty calls on a regular basis.
Your interactions are based on utility (you need to pick up some clothes you left at his place) and that is it.
4. You no longer feel compelled to negatively compare every prospective date to your ex
If you’ve turned your ex into such a God or Goddess in your eyes that no mere mortal could ever compare, you’re setting every future you date up for failure.
If you are doing this, it is a very likely a subconscious defense against being hurt again. Make a potential match not good enough and you avoid the potential for another heartbreak.
If, on the other hand, you’ve opened your heart to the possibility that being with others, although different, could be just as good, you are in a good place to get back out there.
5. You are in the process of letting go of blame
Forgiveness – whether of yourself, your ex or both – takes time and looks different for different people. But whether it was your fault, their fault or someone else’s fault, you are starting to see that multiple factors played a role and this break up is not as black and white as you once thought.
Although you don’t need to have entirely forgiven to move on, you do need to accept what happened and get some perspective. No one wants to hear you rant about what a bitch or asshole your ex was on a first date unless they too are someone who needs to move on.
6. You’ve felt the intensity of what you need to feel
Grief, rage, sadness, disappointment, even profound relief – breaking up with someone can bring on a range of emotions. Sometimes a person feels these things before a relationship ends. Other times, they don’t hit until months after.
What’s important is that you don’t avoid those emotions. If it was a serious relationship, you may need to release a tsunami of tears, an avalanche of anger or an earthquake of grief.
You may still feel aftershocks and mild tremors while you are dating; but, because you’ve already been through the worst of it, you are better equipped to handle them.
If you are still numb with shock, you are not ready to date. Similarly, if you are using dating as a way to avoid dealing with your emotions, you aren’t ready to date.
7. You want to meet new people and see what happens
Well-meaning friends and family may try to push you back out there before you are ready. Sometimes the pressure can send you out prematurely, but this isn’t good for you (you won’t be engaged on your date) and it sets up false expectations for your date.
There is no shame in taking the time you need to feel, heal, and get your shit together. If you don’t want to date, don’t do it. Wait until you feel ready.
If, on the other hand, the thought of dating terrifies you but all of the above are true, the time is perfect for you to get out there and have some fun.