Moving on after a relationship ends can be really tough, and at times, can drain you of all your energy. But at some point, you have to move on and get back on the dating scene to find love and an intimate partnership again. If you’re lucky, you may even find yourself a soulmate. Coming to when to start dating after a breakup, know that the timeline can be different for different people because all of us have different coping mechanisms.
Besides, the length of the relationship and the depth of the connection you shared also determine how soon or late you’ll be ready to date again. Some people can get into a new relationship within 24 hours of a breakup, while some struggle to forget and move on after years.
Is dating immediately after a breakup ever a good idea? How long should you wait after a breakup to date again? Are there any dating after breakup rules that you must follow? Let’s explore the topic in greater detail to understand what would be the right time for someone to embark on a new relationship after a breakup with insights from counselor Ridhi Golechha (Masters in Psychology), who is a food psychologist and specializes in counseling for loveless marriages, breakups and other relationship issues
How Soon Can You Start Dating Again After a Breakup?
Amid all the satisfied stories of being in love, dreamy metaphors of completing each other and happily-ever-afters, nobody wants to go through a painful breakup. But when reality hits you badly, it scars your soul and crumbles your whole world. This is the nasty reality of a gloomy split that wounds confidence and pushes you inside a shell.
As you wallow in this excruciating pain, dating again could well be the last thing on your mind. Little by little, the pain begins to recede and you realize that giving your love life another chance could bring you some much-needed relief and solace. But what is the surety that the person you are dating post-breakup is going to be the perfect partner for you?
Will this new person be your soulmate? What are the chances? In a rapidly changing society, relationship dynamics are changing and so are the rules of a breakup. More and more people want no-strings-attached love. There are more flings than committed relationships.
In such scenarios, it is no longer expected for anyone to have one partner for an entire lifetime. Thus, dating after a breakup is a natural rite of passage for moving on. But the question remains: how soon is too soon to start dating after a breakup?
Well, the answer is tucked away in yet another question: are you ready for it? With a bad breakup, chances are you will be skeptical to initiate a budding romance with a new partner. Will dating again after a bad breakup be tagged as a rebound after a relationship? Will this lead to a series of failed relationships, scarring you repeatedly? Or do you still feel it is too soon to get into a relationship? Clarity on these matters can give you a concrete timeline for dating after a breakup.
Related Reading: 8 Signs You Are In A Rebound Relationship
How long should you wait before dating after a breakup?
How long should you wait before dating after a breakup? This question must have been on your mind if you’re going through this rough patch. Chances of you being scared to date after a breakup again are also at an all-time high after a disappointing relationship.
You might not want to go through the pain and agony of heartbreak again. Well, we don’t blame you. That self-doubt of not being worthy of love, respect, and fulfillment in the aftermath of a breakup is only natural. Although the time to heal from a breakup depends on an individual, getting back at dating again quickly is not the best bet; rebound relationships rarely work. Yes, dating immediately after a breakup is almost always a bad idea.
If you are struggling with mixed emotions and indecisiveness over dating after a breakup, giving yourself the time to recover from heartbreak is recommended. Use this time as an opportunity to understand your inner motivations and admit to yourself what you want in a relationship. This will give you clarity on your expectations from a romantic relationship.
Ridhi says, “The time you need to be ready to date again could be anywhere from 3 months to 6 months to a year. The ideal time frame for starting a new relationship after a breakup also depends on the length of your relationship. If you’re not sure how long you should wait before dating after a breakup, perhaps consider applying the 3 months rule.
“This rule states that for every year of your relationship, you take 3 months to heal. So if you’ve been together for 5 years, you could consider dating again 15 months after the breakup. However, there is no one-size-fits-all rule here. Different timelines may work for different people, depending on the nature and intensity of the relationship.
“Another rule of thumb could be to begin dating someone after a breakup when you’re at least 75% over your ex and have accepted the finality of the breakup. In some cases, it’s not possible to get over an ex fully but if you’ve come to terms with the end of the relationship and see your ex as your past with no hopes of getting back together, you can begin dating after a breakup.”
Can you date yourself first?
Speaking of dating after breakup rules, this one is the Holy Grail – use the post-breakup time to focus on yourself and your growth as an individual. Fix what’s broken within, heal yourself and become whole before you open your heart to someone new. Believe in your own abilities and acknowledge your potential. You deserve the love of the universe; all you need is to wait for the right time. If there is one dating after a breakup rule to follow, it is this, it is this, it is this.
Breaking up should not break you, but build you from within. This is what our relationship experts suggest to anyone surviving a split. This is a constructive approach that acknowledges your due worth and inspires you to use this time for your individual pursuits. Why not head out of the house instead of sobbing in your bed?
Use this ‘me-only’ time to focus on your talents and skills. Take your dream course you so wanted to join before. Head on to a salon and have that makeover you’ve always wanted. Studies suggest that feeling good and diverting your energies to some positive change can help you heal the breakup woes.
Another reason why you should give yourself time to heal after a breakup is to avoid rebound relationships. These relationships tend to lack depth and don’t last long. Some people cannot deal with staying single and settle for the first person who comes around after a breakup. This is never a good idea because your judgment is not at its most sound after an emotional upheaval.
Staying happy and positive is a prerequisite to starting dating again after a bad breakup. Jumping into the dating pool with the mindset that you may be signing up for another heartbreak will only make things tougher – not just for you but for anyone who comes in contact with you. Having a positive mindset will make you behave positively, and your positive behavior will surely give you positive results.
Saying no to dating immediately after a breakup can also save you from the vicious cycle of toxic relationships that end badly, leave you emotionally scarred, and drive you down the path of worse relationship choices and patterns.
Related Reading: Single vs. Dating – How life changes
Am I Ready To Date Again After A Breakup?
When you’re wondering how long after a long-term relationship should you wait to date or oscillating between moving on and not wanting to let go of the past, doubts about your readiness to date again are only natural. So, how do you know you’re ready for dating after a breakup? Ridhi shares a few tell-tale indicators with us:
1. You don’t compare every date to your ex
You know you’re ready for dating someone after a breakup when you no longer compare every new person you date to your ex. “If on a date, you find yourself constantly comparing the person with your ex, it’s a sign you’re not ready for starting a new relationship after a breakup.
“So, take the time to heal and move on before you dip your toes in the dating pool. A clear indicator that you’re ready to start dating after a breakup is that you can appreciate a new person for who they are without using your ex as a yardstick to assess them,” says Ridhi.
2. You can imagine a future without your ex
“If you’re wondering how long after a long-term relationship should you wait to date again, introspect and assess whether you’re ready to see a different future than the one you had envisioned with your former partner. In relationships where you had hoped to be with a partner for the long haul, it’s only natural to make plans for the future.
“From taking a holiday together to seeing a future where you have children with them, get married, and grow old together, there are so many things you plan on when you’re with someone. If you’ve reached a point where you can see your future without your ex in it, it’s a good indicator that you’re ready for dating again and starting a new relationship after a breakup,” says Ridhi.
3. Your ex is in your past
Likewise, to figure out if you’re dating someone too soon after a breakup, you need to reflect on how you view your ex-partner. Ridhi says, “If you’re no longer looking for ways to get back together with your ex or don’t find yourself pining for them, it’s safe to say you’re ready to open your heart and life to someone new.”
Related Reading: 5 Ways To Stop Stalking Your Ex On Social Media
How to prepare yourself for dating after a breakup?
After such an emotional upheaval, how to find out if you are ready to date again after a breakup? Try a ‘breakup detox’. Stay away from any memory, place or links associated with your old romance. If you are too emotionally invested in a relationship, you tend to recall the good times with your boyfriend/girlfriend after the breakup.
Also, stop stalking your ex on social media, and unfriend them if you want to move on with life. Did you know, according to shocking breakup statistics, 59% of people remain Facebook ‘friends’ with an ex after they’ve broken up? In this interconnected world, this harmless link could make you cling to your ex, limiting your possibilities to date again or move on after separation.
Once you snap all contact and connections with your ex, you can save yourselves from the pain of reconnecting with a ruthless ex. After a while, you will feel like dating again – the desire to meet new people and mingle with them will arise in you. The power of silence after a breakup can really set you free and open your heart and mind to new experiences.
Once your priorities are set straight, these steps will make you stronger against any toxic relationship. You will feel happier, fulfilled and a positive individual ready for a better romantic connection. When you feel you have reclaimed your identity sans any anger or regret against your ex-partner is the right time to date again.
It begins when you start enjoying your singlehood and never find a dull moment in your own company. The feeling of being alone doesn’t gnaw you from within. Instead, you really look forward to ‘me-time’. That’s the best signal to ascertain you are ready to date again after a bad breakup.
How to start dating again after a long-term relationship?
When in a long-term relationship, you invest all your energies in molding yourself as per your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s expectations. You look at yourself from their perspective. Their acceptance matters the most and you feel good about their compliments. This soon becomes a pattern and when you become too invested in a relationship, you forget to understand yourself. That’s not a good sign.
When such a relationship ends, all your energies can go into figuring out why your ex doesn’t love you anymore. Making a fresh beginning can be harder in such circumstances. First of all, you may find yourself at a complete loss when it comes to deciphering how to start dating again after a long-term relationship. You may have been off the dating scene for so long that your game may feel rusty.
Besides, the idea of investing so much emotion and effort in a new relationship can seem exhausting. Then there is the matter of how long after a long-term relationship should you wait to date. Well, taking baby steps is the key here. Start dating again after a breakup slowly.
It’s okay to meet someone new a couple of weeks after breaking up. But it’s best to keep these dates friendly. Unless your breakup has not affected you emotionally, you might find it better to not get too intense right away. Take your time, but don’t remain single all your life just because one relationship did not work out. Keep your mind and heart open. Who knows, the perfect partner might just be one date away!
Related Reading: Why Do Some People Take Breakups Harder Than Others?
How soon is too soon to start dating after a breakup?
Another important question that you must address before turning over a new leaf in your love life is this: how soon is too soon to start dating after a breakup? Dating right after a breakup is never a good idea. You know that just as well as we do. It is definitely advisable to wait for a few weeks at least. You need to give your thoughts and emotions some time to calm themselves and gather afresh.
But then, how do you know when the time is right to start dating after a breakup?
Ridhi says, “One way to know that it’s too soon to be starting a new relationship after a breakup or even dating casually is to see if you’re rebounding. If you’re going on a date 2 weeks after a breakup when the pain and the hurt are still raw and you’re doing it just to feel better momentarily, then, in all likelihood, you’re putting yourself out there too soon.
“So, slow down, take the time to heal, and perhaps go on a few casual dates at first to see how you respond to the possibility of a new romantic connection – are you comparing them to your ex? Do you wish you were sharing this moment with your ex instead? Or are you able to be in the moment and enjoy the other person’s company? Taking stock of whether there’s still something left for you to learn from the experience of the breakup is also important in understanding where you stand in the moving on process.
“Another tell-tale sign that you may be dating someone too soon after a breakup is that you’re looking for someone new as a replacement for what you’ve lost while holding on to the hope that your ex will come back to you – checking your phone to see if they’ve messaged, staring at their pictures, stalking them on social media, the whole nine yards of being hung up.”
Until you get there, focus on yourself. Why not spend this time with your friends? They might have felt neglected when you were wrapped up with your partner, and will surely welcome your reappearance! Dating immediately after a breakup is generally not a good idea. Chances are that you have still not gotten over your ex. Dating someone new when you are in this emotional and mental state is quite unfair to that person. They might realize from your words or actions that you are treating them as just a medium to keep the sadness of a breakup at bay.
If there is no gap in dating after the breakup, you might end up comparing everything about the new person with your ex. Instead, you should take time to refresh your perspective and see a potential new companion with a new, clear point of view. That is why it’s good to be single after a breakup, at least for a while.
If you are dating your ex again after a breakup, make sure you set your expectations straight in front of your partner. Talk about the point of differences in your previous stint and commit to the takeaways before dating again. This is to prevent you from a pattern of hurt and pain again.
Tips For Dating Again After A Breakup
We cannot control the pain inflicted by a breakup, but we can definitely learn a lot from it. Remember, your first breakup can shape you into a better individual, making you more aware of your needs and expectations from a relationship. All you need is not to fall into the alluring trap of consequent relationships and attractive dates before you’ve gone through the wringer of hurt and healing.
If you get asked out, you can definitely take a rain check and ask for some time to clear your mind. Don’t commit if your heart is not agreeing to it. Give a break to a series of bad breakups and get a hold of life.
Life has lots to offer us in terms of positive relationships and experiences. Use them to better yourself and expand your potential. If you have broken up and are currently unattached, it’s natural that you would want to start dating again at some point. There are some tentative dating after breakup rules that can be useful in helping you navigate this transition:
- Take it slow: Go slow when dating after a breakup. Wait for the right time before you commit
- Focus on yourself: Don’t seek validation from a date, instead accept yourself
- Time is of the essence: Wait for the right time. When it is right, you will feel contented and fulfilled from within
- Practice self-love: Love yourself, pamper yourself. When you value your worth, the partner will surely value your talents and abilities
- Self-forgiveness: Work on forgiving yourself, for choosing a partner who you had to break up with. Self-forgiveness is crucial
- Deal with the emotional baggage: Heal from the baggage of your past relationship and forgive your ex-partner partner for the hurt they’ve caused you
- Keep it casual: Don’t go all in and form yet another intense connection when you start dating again after a breakup. Take it easy and keep it light-hearted to see where it goes
- Know what you want: Be selective about who you date. Let the breakup experience be a takeaway of what you want and what you don’t want in a relationship
In addition to these tips on dating again after a breakup, Ridhi also advises, “When you have let go of the old pain, hurt, anger and resentment and start making peace with the past is when you’re ready for dating after a breakup.
“Also, see if you’re okay with spending time with yourself. So, try to take up a new activity such as joining the gym, signing up for a hobby class or pursuing an old passion or finding a new one. It’s also equally important that you’re able to spend time alone without needing an activity to keep you occupied.
“When you reach that stage, you can say with certainty that you’re ready for starting a new relationship after a breakup. When you begin dating after a breakup after doing the work to heal and give yourself the breathing space to take stock of what went wrong in the past relationship and why, you connect with a prospective new partner because you want to and not to fill a void.
Following these tips will definitely empower you to date again and find the partner of your dreams. If you find you’re stuck in limbo and unable to begin dating after a breakup, seeking professional help from a counselor can help you heal from the breakup woes. If you’re looking for help, skilled and experienced counselors on Bonobology’s panel of experts, including Ridhi Golecha, are here for you.