Breakups are tough. They make you wonder if you’ll ever find the right person. And bad breakups are even worse as they’ll cause you to question dating altogether.
But a bad breakup does not have to be the end of your love story! Although it might be heart wrenching and painful, you’re going to have to get back on the dating scene if you want to be in a relationship.
The question is when? WHEN is the appropriate time to ensure personal healing has occurred? And how DO you get back in the dating game after it feels like your heart has been torn to shreds? I’m here to help you reflect on these questions and more as you get back into dating.
Okay, so there really isn’t going to be one answer to the question of when to start dating. It all depends on you. After a breakup, take some time to be by yourself. Enjoy your hobbies, spend time with family and friends, and love yourself. Take good care of yourself by exercising, eating healthy (avoid the Ben & Jerry ice cream binges), and getting out. If you need to wallow, that’s okay too. Just be sure that you do not allow yourself to think negatively about who you are.
Use this single time to figure out more about yourself. Ponder questions such as “who am I? What is important to me? What are my goals?” When you discover who you are and love yourself, you can truly love others better. You will also be more likely to find someone who appreciates you and respects you.
If you are still feeling anger, resentment, guilt, or dwelling on the past relationship, you are probably not ready to date yet. If you are still emotionally wounded, feeling like you cannot trust anyone, or unsure if it is time yet, you are still probably not ready yet. The time will come, and when it does, you will know for sure.
If and when you are ready to date, the following commands will be useful to keep in mind.
Know What You’re Looking For
Dating is all about finding someone you are compatible with. And since you have experienced a bad breakup, you will probably know characteristics you are not compatible with. Sometimes it helps singles to create a list of qualities they would like to see in a potential spouse. If you do not want to make a list, you can at least think of some qualities that are very important to you. This will help you not to waste your time and emotions on someone who wouldn’t work out in the long run.
A bad breakup can leave you with timid feelings. But if you have spent enough time healing after the breakup, you should feel more confident in who you are as a person. You are unique and have something amazing to offer in a relationship. Do not be afraid to approach someone you are interested in. If you get turned down, try again to someone else another day. You will never find who you are looking for if you allow yourself to be afraid.
Put Yourself Out There
You have to get out of your house and your comfort zone to meet someone new. You could sign up for dating websites, download a dating app, or be old fashioned and ask someone out that you already know. Any place you go to is an opportunity to meet a future dating partner.
Give New People A Chance
Once a breakup has hurt you, it is hard not to assume that you will get hurt again or that you will be treated in a similar way. But not everyone is the same, and it is important to allow each person to make their own impression. So, when you are meeting someone new, focus on that person and the moment only. Avoid creating expectations, whether good or bad. Just enjoy your time and remember they are probably nervous too.
Stay True To Who You Are
Just because you are dating after a bad breakup does not mean that you have to compromise yourself or your beliefs. Stay true to who you are; if you met the right person, he/she will accept you for you are. Do not feel pressured to tell personal things, hug, kiss, or do anything you do not feel comfortable with.
Allow It To Progress Naturally
You must remember to allow the relationship to move through the stages of dating naturally. If you have gone on several dates with one person and are hoping for more, try to avoid jumping ahead. Enjoy each stage of dating and try not to rush things. On the other hand, if you are enjoying the dating relationship but are trying to stop it from moving forward for fear of rejection, stop. Allow the relationship to progress. If you truly do not feel ready to date, then discontinue seeing the person. But if you are afraid it will just end in another breakup, talk with this new person in your life. Sharing your feelings with this new dating partner may be exactly what you need to move forward.
There is no sense in getting stuck in a relationship you do not want to be in just to avoid another breakup. If you are not interested in continuing to see someone, be honest and break it off. It is better for yourself and more respectful to the other person to end things early if you are uninterested.
Remember not all relationships will end the way your last one did. Breakups seriously stink, and you do need time to heal. Give yourself that time, learn more about yourself, and appreciate yourself. Then get back out there in the dating world (if you want to)!