What To Do After A Breakup To Move On? Try This 9 Step Expert-Backed Strategy

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Dating after a breakup

“Pain makes you stronger, fear makes you braver, and heartbreak makes you wiser” – Anonymous. Whoever said this has left us with eternally sound advice that can get one through their worst days after a major heartbreak. Yes, the realization that it’s all over between you and the person you loved with all your heart hurts badly. So badly, that it may feel like the end of the world. But know that, not all is lost. So stop scrolling through their social media profile and feeling sorry for yourself. Today, you can learn what to do after a breakup.

Implement this advice to kickstart your post-heartbreak journey, and move onwards and upwards. We get it. When the person whom you have loved and trusted wholeheartedly breaks your heart, nothing makes sense anymore. You spend your days trying to fill the emotional void with food, crying your eyes out, watching movies you used to watch together, and doing anything except trying to move forward with your life.

Truly, dating after a breakup can seem like the last thing you want to do. Painstakingly initiating another relationship, opening up to another person, only to have your heart stomped on again? No thank you, sir. But, be honest with yourself. That guy/girl you just met does seem kinda cute, right? If you’re on the fence and completely unsure of what to do next, worry not. Shazia Saleem (Masters in Psychology), who specializes in separation and divorce counseling, is here to help you find a way forward.

How To Get Over A Breakup?

Some develop a heart of stone after a bad breakup and most don’t want to go through the rigmarole of finding someone new and falling in love all over again. You might even start thinking the whole relationship game isn’t for you and lose hope. While others are so used to being in a relationship that they may jump into dating a month after breaking up without considering the consequences. Yes, the rebound relationships. The ones that truly never end well.

So what can you do to make sure you’re not swinging to either extreme when nursing a broken heart? Shazia explains, “To get over a breakup and start dating again, you need to first introspect. Some people take longer to heal, for others it is very easy. But if you feel ready, you can certainly move on and open yourself to the possibility that you can find love again. As long as you are sure of the new person, everything will be fine. But first, focus on your healing.”

Bad relationships are a necessary part of life that teach you a lot about what you want in the future. You just need a few tips to help set you on your way. That’s exactly why you’re here. Let’s get right into how you should go about your post-breakup phase. What are some things not to do after a breakup, and what you should absolutely do.

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What To Do After A Breakup To Move On? 9 Steps To Follow

So, what are the next steps to break away from painful thoughts and put yourself on a journey of self-love and healing? First of all, understand that it is far too easy to feel sorry for yourself after a breakup. Getting back to dating after a breakup can be daunting. It’s completely normal if you don’t feel like dating a month after breakup. In fact, many people shelve the idea of putting themselves out there for a while and focus on themselves or their careers. That’s a great way to aid your post-breakup recovery.

The process of moving on stage will be slow. But you will make a little progress every day provided you’re making the effort to figure out how to get over a breakup. It will eventually go from a pain that hits you every morning to a little numbing sensation that might come your way every now and then. Sounds pretty grim, but it does get better.

When you find yourself being excited by the idea of a new relationship or the first date after a breakup instead of constantly thinking about your ex, you might be ready. Sooner or later, you’re bound to meet somebody who won’t seem half bad, be it through a dating app, a social gathering, or through a friend who plays matchmaker in their free time. What those things have in common is that you need to put yourself out there. To be able to do that, you need to understand what to do after a breakup to move on. Here are 9 expert-backed strategies that can help:

1. Fix yourself!

No, real life isn’t a Coldplay song. Nobody’s going to come around to “fix you”. Don’t let social media fool you. For some, it might be tempting to start dating someone right after initiating a breakup but that’s just a way to run away from the pain. And when you do that, things come crashing down eventually. Dating immediately after a breakup is never a good idea.

Use the time after a breakup to introspect and learn a few things about yourself. It’s best to take your time in moving on (doesn’t matter how much time you take, it isn’t a race you need to win). Once you’ve tackled your feelings, a lot more than just your dating life is going to get considerably better. Let us now move on to the next steps.

how long after a long term relationship should you wait to date
Dating apps can come to your aid after a breakup

2. Learn from the past

Your ex is your ex for a reason. No matter how many post-breakup pangs make you feel like they were your whole world, instead of letting nostalgia wash you over, focus on what caused you and your partner to drift apart and if the same issues have affected your other relationships in the past. You might just end up finding a pattern in your behavior in relationships or the kind of people you’re attracted to.

Once you realize why your past relationships didn’t work, dating after a breakup will get easier because you’ll know what you need to steer clear of. Make sure you do these things before you put yourself out there again, especially if you are thinking of dating after a long-term relationship. So yes, analyzing your past for any patterns is actually one of the best things to do after a breakup.

Marie, a clinical psychologist from Houston, had a hard time separating from her long-term boyfriend Ray. No matter what, after the breakup, she just could not set boundaries with him and the two of them were always swinging in and out of each other’s lives. This is until Marie sat herself down one day, and tried to figure out why things were so difficult with Ray. “I don’t think Ray is a bad guy. He is just a bad guy for me. I tend to fall for men who are the complete opposite of me, and that always comes back and bites me,” she told us.

Related Reading: Why ‘I Need Closure’ Weighs On Our Mind After A Breakup

3. Analyze what you want next

We swear this is the last thinking step you have to take. It’s also the answer to: how long after a long-term relationship should you wait to date? Wait till you have figured out what it is that you might want next for yourself. If you let your impulses decide, you may be reading this article again after 3 months. Dating too soon after a breakup may seem enticing but you have to tread really carefully.

It’s completely okay to not want to date after a breakup. It’s completely okay if you throw yourself into your work. It is more than okay if you just want to be surrounded by friends and family for a while, with no dating prospects. Take some time off from your ex. Believe in the power of silence after a breakup, and see how it will make you better. Distancing yourself and staying busy will prevent you from going into a spiral of negativity and stop you from doing something extreme after a breakup.

4. Don’t be afraid to try something new to feel better

Relationships can make people predictable, maybe even monotonous. The same routine feels good but leaves you struggling to function when the relationship ends. How to move on after a breakup when you are still in love, you ask? Well, occupy yourself with new things and activities as much as you can.

It is okay if you still love and miss your ex, it is completely natural. But don’t let it stop you from exploring new things and trying to get your life together. Socialize a little more. Go to those parties you never used to, join a book club, catch up with your cousins or family members you used to always avoid. Going on that first date after a breakup may seem daunting so start small and just socialize. When you broaden your horizon, more opportunities will come your way. Maybe a new lover too! Or maybe not, that is also fine.

5. Get back out there to move forward

Dating after a breakup can be really fun. We know it’s still just as hard to meet a new guy or girl after a breakup and strike up a conversation with them but that’s where dating apps come in. It’s never been easier to find new partners online, especially when you are trying to get back on the horse and start dating after a long-term relationship. Going on a dating site after a breakup will stir up all kinds of emotions. As long as you’re using dating apps correctly, you will get past the hurdles, both emotional and practical.

Through dating apps, you’ll find so many interesting people you’ll have fun chatting with. You’ll get to experience the excitement of finding a new prospect, the nervousness, and the payoff after your risky text gets a favorable reply. It’ll do wonders for your self-esteem too, which might have taken a hit after the breakup. And if not dating apps, just ask your close friends to set you up with somebody cool. Just make sure you don’t start believing you’re in love right after a breakup because the chances of that happening are slim.

Related Reading: 13 Tips To Date Online Successfully And Find Your Ideal Partner

6. How to start dating again in a healthy manner? Do not compare!

If there were any dating after breakup rules, this would definitely be right at the top of the list. So do not take this one lightly. It’s only natural to start comparing new people to your ex when dating someone right after a breakup. Especially if you’ve had a sudden breakup after a long-term relationship, it can be hard to get your ex off your mind and not reminisce about the good times with them. You have to keep reminding yourself that that will not serve any purpose.

“Once you let go of the hurt and anger inside you, this step will become easy. Forgive yourself and forgive them if you want to be healthy after a breakup. When there is no resentment, you will not even feel like comparing your ex and the person you’re with now. Keep reminding yourself that no two people are the same. You will only land up in a bigger emotional mess otherwise,” says Shazia.

Dating after a long-term relationship is already hard, but by comparing, you’ll only make it harder for yourself to find a new partner, all the while putting your ex on a pedestal in your own mind. Learn to keep an open mind, don’t judge people too soon, and always stay positive when you are trying to move forward.

7. Don’t ignore the red flags

What to do after a breakup to make sure you don’t find yourself nursing a broken heart all over again? Do not ignore the red flags in your romantic prospects. Even if there is just one, do not ignore it. Do not settle because you are lonely and sad. Now that you know what your relationship deal-breakers are, you may have an idea of the kind of people you don’t get along with. Dating again after a breakup will keep you excited about the next possible partner, but make sure you don’t turn a blind eye to things that don’t sit right in your eagerness to find a new beginning.

You want to move forward and find someone who matches your vibe more, not move backward and find yourself in a soup. Common red flags include anything from calling the waiter by whistling to casual sexism, immaturity, a sense of entitlement, emotional unavailability, manipulative tendencies, playing hot and cold, or sending mixed signals. These are just a few, but there are many other longer lists you might want to take a look at.

8. Don’t trust too quickly, but don’t bottle up either

why do i feel guilty dating after a breakup
Don’t be afraid to open yourself up again to another person.

While you’re out there trying to right-swipe your way to glory, make sure you don’t let infatuation take over and trust the first person who comes your way. Dating someone else after a breakup leaves you eager for a fruitful relationship. In your eagerness, don’t forget to take things slow. Remember what they say – only fools rush in.

On the other hand, the tendency to bottle up completely out of fear of getting hurt again is also counterproductive. You know how much clinical psychologists stress the issue of repressing your emotions, right? Scared of the next heartbreak, people may find it incredibly difficult to trust anyone again. Dating after a breakup can be scary, but it’s a risk you’ll have to take if you really do start to like someone new. Share your feelings with your partner and make sure they don’t think you’re bottling up because you don’t like them. Communicate your feelings.

Shazia explains, “We are all only human. Trust issues crop up after breakups and you don’t always have to ignore your feelings of being hurt or resentful. Let them pass through you. But once you have allowed yourself to experience these emotions, then slowly try to trust another person. Give yourself time and space to do it, though. It cannot happen overnight. Go slow, but be honest.”

9.  Things not to do after a breakup: Talking about the ex

Finally, we have reached arguably the most important point in our advice on what to do after a breakup. Well, more precisely, what not to do, in this case. There is nothing worse than talking about your ex on the first date with someone else. Getting stood up might be worse but you get the point – don’t talk about your ex.

It will only creep your date out, make them think you haven’t moved on and that you’re not ready for anything yet, ensuring that you don’t get the call for a second date. This is definitely one dating after a breakup rule you cannot afford to break. If you feel like you can’t help yourself, perhaps you haven’t moved on yet and need some more time to grieve, heal and recover before you can begin to date again.

Related Reading: 22 Bad Habits That Ruin A Relationship

So, what to do after a breakup? Before you start dating again, first focus on how you feel. Take time to grieve and get over the relationship that you have lost. Make sure that you have healed before joining a dating app or meeting new people. As we said at the beginning of this article, “…and heartbreak makes you wiser”. You are not starting over from scratch. It’s not your first rodeo. You are experienced now, equipped with post-breakup wisdom. Use it well.

Key Pointers

  • Healing emotionally is always the first step of moving on. Make sure you do everything to aid your healing 
  • Don’t hide in a shell for too long and try to get back out there to meet new people 
  • Stop comparing your ex with the current person you’re seeing, it will only make you feel worse 
  • Once you’re finally ready to start seeing new people, try not to discuss your ex too much with them 

Who knows you may find someone who will take care of your heart, even better than you had imagined. And most importantly, forgive yourself for your part in the breakup. And when you’re ready? Well…get up, dress up, show up. Your significant other is waiting for you!

This article was updated in November 2022.


1. How soon is too soon to date after a breakup?

The timeline varies from person to person, but it’s too soon if you’re still comparing people to your ex. If you haven’t moved on yet, not accepted the breakup, and if you’re still angry at your ex, it’s definitely too soon to start dating after a breakup.

2. Is a relationship ever the same after a breakup?

Once a relationship suffers a fate as grim as a breakup, it’s unlikely that it can ever be restored to its former days of glory. After a breakup, relationships tend to be weaker, and more often than not, the reason for the initial breakup rears its ugly head, driving the partners apart sooner or later.

3. Is it bad to rush into a relationship after a breakup?

If you think you’ve found someone with whom you might be able to build a healthy relationship, it might be worth a try. You have to make sure that you’re not still sore about your breakup and that you have moved on. Once you find peace with your breakup and don’t miss your ex, it’s perfectly normal to start getting back out there.

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