How Long Should You Wait To Date After A Breakup?
It may feel like the end of the world as you know it, but chin up! Those of us who have gone through break-ups can testify that the doom and gloom will end at some point, and you might even get a shot at something bigger and better after.
A common pitfall while recovering from a nasty break-up is immediately plunging into pointless rebounds that often do more damage than good. They also prolong your healing process and the amount of time you need to really ‘get over it’.
Finding yourself unsure whether you’re ready to date after a breakup? The following questions will help to direct your thoughts and reflections so you don’t inadvertently make some thoughtless mistakes.
1. Would you seek out your new love interest when you feel like you need distraction?
Often, the appeal of rebounds is that they give us something else to focus on when we feel ourselves being sucked back into the seemingly endless pit of grief over the recently ended relationship.
If you feel that your thoughts are so overwhelming that you would inadvertently compare any new girl you meet to your ex, it’s probably time to hold off dating for a while.
2. Are you only dating in order to patch up a damaged self-confidence?
There’s no running away from it: break-ups can be very damaging to one’s self-confidence, whether or not you had initiated it.
Casual dating can seem to be the fastest and most gratifying way to remind yourself of your ‘market value’, and to rebuild whatever self-confidence you lost during your break-up.
However, more often than not, they also lead to fatigue and jadedness with the dating scene, especially if you’re simply not in the right frame of mind to enter into a new relationship just yet.
3. Would you be able to see someone new for who they are, and not as a comparison to your ex?
Human beings generally like to find patterns in things, and relationships are no exception. The sooner you start to date after a break-up, before you’ve completely decided to let go of those memories, the more you will find yourself comparing your new partner with your previous one.
It’s natural enough, but it’s not a great foundation to start a new relationship on. It’s certainly not fair to your new partner, who doesn’t get a tabula rasa from the beginning just because you decided to start dating before you were ready for it.
4. Do you have a lot of self-control? If not, do you have any hard limits to help you stay on track?
If you happen to be someone with a lot of discipline and self-control, then you might find it easier to stop yourself from committing to a mistake before you are actually ready for it.
For the rest of us who don’t have that kind of discipline, especially not during a period where we are especially vulnerable and are undergoing enough mental turmoil as it is, setting up some zero-tolerance parameters for yourself might help you stay within your track.
Make pacts with yourself, such as vowing not to date anyone until at least three months has passed from the date of your break-up, no matter how tempting it might be. Another example is counting how many (non-dating) social engagements you had a good time at in a week.
It’s not possible to measure something so intangible and abstract as how ready you are for a new relationship. A fixed timeline, however, helps to concretize an aspect of that, since the passing of time is already a natural healing factor post-break-up.
Of course, these pacts will differ for everyone. You would know best what behaviour is the most helpful in telling when you have well and truly moved past your old relationship and are ready for a new one. The goal here is to find something in your behaviour or lifestyle that is concrete and measurable, and which can then signal to you when you might be ready to move on.