If you’re worried about what it’s going to be like dating after a breakup, that’s a normal feeling. But dating should be a fun and happy experience.
Finding true love after a breakup might seem intimidating or even impossible, and when you’re truly ready to start seeing people again, you’ll have no need to worry.
When it comes to finding true love, timing is everything. And that doesn’t simply mean being at the right place at the right time to meet the right person. It also means being the right person, so that you’ll be ready to attract and meet the right person for you at this time in your life.
In that regard, timing is more about discernment and knowing yourself than it is about luck. And that’s especially true after a breakup.
But one of the worst times to get back into dating — especially if you are marriage-minded or want a serious relationship — is right after a breakup or divorce. Rarely will you ever feel more vulnerable, confused, and disoriented, and rarely will you ever feel more needing of love and the assurance of your worth.
Obviously, you don’t want to get hurt or make the same mistakes again. And hopefully, you care about not hurting another person who’s ready for love when you’re not.
So, how are you supposed to know when it’s safe to get back out there?
While there’s no formula or timeline for getting over a breakup or back into dating, the ideal waiting time before you start dating again may be related to the length of the relationship or how long your past relationship has been dead.
Yes, there are plenty of people who activate their online dating profiles before they are even out of their current relationships. They never want to be alone. They can’t be alone.
Hopefully, you aren’t one of those people.
Here are some signs that your life is giving you a green light to start dating again after a breakup. Notice that they all have to do with you — not your ex, not the cute guy or gal standing in front of you at Starbucks.
The signs rely upon you knowing yourself and being honest with yourself about where your heart and mind are.
Here are 9 signs you’re ready to start dating again after a breakup or divorce.
1. You’ve learned from your past relationship.
This is so important. If you don’t take the time to examine your past relationship — the good and the bad — for lessons about yourself, you’re missing the point of relationships.
Learning from your past experiences is about taking personal accountability. And personal accountability leads to emotional maturity.
It will also keep you from repeating past mistakes and help you make wiser decisions for the next relationship.
2. You aren’t thinking or talking about your ex all the time.
If you’ve ever had a first date with someone who was fresh out of a relationship, you know how icky the dinner conversation can be.
You feel like a third wheel or marriage counselor because all your date can talk about is their ex. “She always,” “he never,” “her coldness,” “his avoidance.”
Simply put, don’t be that person. If you’re still in that stage, don’t drag a new person’s hopes and dreams through your old business.
3. You’ve cleared your ex out of your social media life.
When you lose interest in whether or not your ex is happy, dating, or getting a promotion, you’re on the right track.
Whatever energy you stop devoting to your ex is the energy you can devote to yourself — and a potentially awesome new person.
“Delete” can be a very empowering word.
4. You realize that you’re not reminiscing very much.
That moment of sudden awareness that it’s been several days or weeks since you’ve actually thought about your past relationship is golden! And if that awareness makes you smile instead of cry, you’re ready to open yourself to dating again.
5. You start revisiting your favorite interests and hobbies.
It can be easy to lose yourself in a relationship, especially if the relationship isn’t healthy. And breakups can leave you with the stark awareness of all that was missing while you were busy trying to make things work.
When you start wanting to connect with your creativity and personal interests again, you know your spirit is coming alive. You’re healing and opening space for your best self to shine through.
And that makes you a very attractive person to another creative, interesting, emotionally ready person.
6. You like the idea of having someone new in your life.
Be careful with this one. There can be a fine line between needing someone in your life (remember the person searching online while still in a relationship?) and loving life in a relationship.
When you start envisioning your best life and best self, and you see someone else along for the journey, that’s a good sign.
7. The butterflies return.
Breakups have a way of dulling the senses — at least the ones that connect to your happiness. You have so many negative emotions floating around, and hormones can play a big role.
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When you start feeling that tingly, floaty sensation when someone flirts or pays attention to you, you may be onto something.
8. You’re saying “yes” more than “no.”
When you start opening up your life in all its areas, you’re showing signs of healing. You demonstrate a willingness to put yourself out there, to be social, and to try new things. And the idea of “feeling” again doesn’t scare you.
9. You don’t need to date — you want to.
In the long run, doesn’t it really come down to this? This is such a huge statement about where you are in your healing process.
Choosing a life of relationship versus needing one says everything about your self-esteem and emotional readiness. It also speaks to your ability to confidently be alone, even if you enjoy and prefer being in a relationship.
When it comes to dating again after a breakup, it’s important to remember that no two relationships are alike. No two breakups and no two people are alike.
So, look for the signs of your personal growth and readiness without comparing yourself to others or a formula you found in a magazine. Get to know yourself better before seeking to know someone else.
And if you feel unsure about the signs that you’re ready to start dating again after a breakup, reach out for some confidence-building, clarifying guidance. The sooner you truly feel that you’re worth it, the sooner someone else will, too.
Amy Schoen is a national expert in dating and relationships, as well as life coaching.