Love, Heartbreak

When Is It OK To Date Again?

Dating after a breakup is difficult. There is confusion, emotions are high, you have your up days and your down days—days of hope and days of despair. It can be confusing! But when is it okay to date after a break up?  

There are three individuals you have to consider: yourself, your ex, and the brand-new person you're considering dating.

First of all, you need to make sure that you prepare to reenter the dating world. If not, you will certainly wind up crying on the first date and won't leave a good impression. Worse, you'll end up talking about your ex-boyfriend! Dating prematurely will simply make you feel even worse: trying to fill a void is impossible when you are on empty. You also have to remember to be sympathetic with new men. They are clearly trying to find someone stable, so if you are not ready to date again yet, you are simply leading them on and wasting their time. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself honestly, "Would I want to meet me right now?"

The fact is, there is no exact time frame that is perfect to wait to start dating again. It's about mindset and how you are feeling internally! I know someone who broke off a three-year long engagement and waited only two weeks to start dating. They are now married and have two kids! For others it takes months, even years. It all boils down to you! All we can tell you is that to TRULY be ready to start dating again, you need to take time out to heal to ensure that you make healthy dating choices and reduce the risk of a rebound relationship. 

The first date you go on after a breakup is going to be odd, no matter what. If you feel like you're cheating, that's normal. Once you understand this, your first step is to get out there! It's good to get the very first date out of the way. Attempt to do it with somebody you consider not-so-promising, so that you don't destroy a possibly-great romance that could have come later down the line. And be honest! Let them understand—without oversharing!—your situation. This could mean anything from telling them that you are choosing to take it slowly to letting them know that the break-up is still "fresh" in your mind. Once again, it's not simply you in the picture; you need to be considerate of the other person and their feelings.

Once you do find a new partner, there is your ex to consider. You don't want to hurt them and look like you've moved on too quickly. Put yourself in their shoes. Don't not flaunt it, but keep it to yourself. After all, the best retribution is living well! If you are truly broken up, it is best to keep distance.

All this said, it can take while to find a great match. There is no crystal ball! Just because you are now dating again does not necessarily mean that you will discover somebody with whom you will click immediately. You don't need to rush into a relationship! Being single is very satisfying if you let it be—it's time to do all the things you have always wanted to do! You need to learn to be comfortable in your own skin before you should meet somoene new. It's your time to think about what you really want!

It's so important to have a good time! Don't put pressure on yourself. When you feel like you're ready to date again, you will. You'll know you're ready when you start to feel like yourself again, when you start to smile more, have a new sense of hope and find yourself being playful again. At the end of the day, everything boils down to doing what is best for yourself and everybody else involved.

Sign up for YourTango's free newsletter!