The end of a long-term relationship can be extraordinarily painful. Thus it’s common to want to distract yourself from the pain by jumping right back into the dating scene. But rebounding can result in bad future relationships, prevent you from learning from your beakup, and may even sabotage the process of getting over your ex. Here’s how to tell if you’re ready to date again:
Are You Looking For a Copy of Your Ex?
Make a mental or physical list of the things you’d like to have in your next partner. If you find yourself creating a carbon copy of your ex, or an idealized version of your ex, you’re probably dating to fill the void that person left rather than because you actually want to date.
Can You Deal With Rejection?
One of the most painful parts of a breakup is the often shocking sense of rejection it leaves us with. Whether you or your ex did the breaking up doesn’t matter, because when the relationship is over it’s still easy to feel rejected. Dating comes with its own rejections as well- phone calls that aren’t returned, people uninterested in second dates, etc. How do you think you might react to this rejection? If you find yourself in a panic over it, or if you have already started dating and find yourself sobbing over the rejection of someone you’ve only known for a few hours, odds are good that you’re not ready to date. If you’re not prepared to deal with rejection then you’re not really over your last relationship, and certainly are not in the right state of mind to make healthy dating choices.
Why Are You Dating?
Asking yourself why you are dating can seem a bit silly. After all, everyone dates to meet people, to find someone they like, and maybe to fall in love, right? This is true, but people who are not over their past relationships date primarily out of loneliness and neediness. Ask yourself this question: if I don’t find anyone I like in the next year, will I be devastated, or will I have enjoyed the experience of getting to meet new people? If your answer is the former and not the latter, you’re looking to fill a lonely void, not to meet new people.
Are You Rushing Things?
If you find yourself “falling in love” with every new person you meet within a day or two, this is a sure sign that you’re not ready to date. Real feelings take time to develop, and if you find yourself feeling overwhelming feelings right away, odds are good that you’re just transferring your feelings for your ex onto this new person.
Are You Prepared To Date Intelligently?
If you’ve been in a long-term relationship for a while, odds are good that you’ve forgotten some of what the dating scene is like, so before diving back in, you need to prepare yourself. Safety precautions are paramount in dating, particularly if you’re meeting people online. If you find yourself ignoring standard safety precautions, it’s time to put the brakes on dating.
Some other things to keep in mind include:
-Treat dating like shopping. Rather than wanting to make each person you date like you, focus on deciding whether you like them. Plan in advance so you know whether or not someone meets what you need in a relationship.
-Focus on learning something from each person you date and enjoying the experience of just getting out and meeting new people, rather than fixating on finding “the one”.
-Don’t forget the lessons you learned from your last relationship. Every breakup, no matter how mundane, can teach us something about ourselves, about the partners we choose, and about how we can have better relationships. Don’t ignore the lessons your last breakup taught you, and carry them with you into your new dating life.
Going back to the dating life after being single from a breakup can be challenging, but if you approach the challenge with curiosity, a willingness to learn, and without a fear of rejection, dating can be the final step in moving past your breakup.