One of the most common questions people ask me is how long they should wait to start dating again after a break up. I have to warn you: you might not like my answer!
It depends. I don’t know important information about your situation, like:
- Were you in a marriage, long-term relationship or a new relationship that was just getting off the ground?
- How long were you together?
- Why did you breakup?
- How long ago did you break up?
Your answers to these questions determine your availability. I’m not just talking about whether you have time to date. I’m talking about if you have room in your heart and soul for a new relationship. You should start dating again after a breakup ONLY when you are emotionally available for someone new.
In other words, you can date again when you’re over it.
How do you know if you’re over it?
- You wouldn’t want to get back together with your ex, even if he bought a ring, hired Eric Benet to serenade you, and he surprised you with a proposal in front of all your friends and family
- You can talk about your ex to another man without telling all the details of what he did to you
- You don’t cry (or cuss) when you think of your ex
- You’re clear about the role you did or did not play in the relationship issues and/or breakup
- You can see the positive lessons from the relationship and you’re willing to grow from them
Now this isn’t a complete list of signs you’re over your ex. There are a ton of other factors that can affect how relationship-ready you are and whether you should get back on the dating scene. Things like:
How long were there problems in the relationship?
Did you have kids together?
Do you still talk to your ex? How often?
What was the reason for the breakup?
Who initiated it?
You really have to do an honest self-check here. Your mind could say “I’m ready,” and your heart might say, “Not now.” If your heart is not ready, you won’t have the emotional resources to give to anyone else. Dating would be a waste of time for you and unfair to the people you meet who may be looking for someone who is ready for love.
I dated a guy who wasn’t over his ex. How did I know? Because he told me. On the drive to meet his family for the first time, he told me, “By the way, everybody loved my ex-girlfriend and they were more upset about the breakup than I was. If they’re acting funny toward you, it’s probably because they’re hoping I get back together with her.”
I felt some kind of way about his “warning.” Why would you even say something like that to a girl you’re taking home to meet your mama? When his family fell in love with me (and no one treated me funny) I realized this was his way of telling me he still loved his ex.
My suspicions were confirmed when he later told me, “If my ex called me today and wanted to get back together, I don’t know if I’d choose you.”
Maybe you’re in a better place than my ex was and you’re ready to date. Or maybe you’re stuck in your pain and the thought of dating again scares you. No matter what, you need to do the work on yourself so you can date with joy and confidence again.
BMWK, what do you think? When do you feel ready to date again after a breakup?
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