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Breakups are rarely easy, and there's often a lot to think about and process once you find yourself single again. Perhaps hardest of all, though, is figuring out the best time to date after a breakup. If you ask one friend, they'll urge you to get back out there immediately. If you ask someone else, they'll claim it's best to wait six months minimum. Everyone will say something different — and it can get confusing. That's why the best place to start is by shutting out all the outside advice, and focusing on how you feel post-breakup.
If the relationship was long, and it meant a lot to you, chances are you'll need a ificant amount of time to heal before ing up for a dating app. And that's OK. You'll want to spend time focusing on yourself, going to therapy, and rebuilding your schedule, before you even think about adding someone new to your life. The process can take months, if not years, but it's often well worth it to wait. Not all breakups are this devastating, though. Sometimes, they actually come as a huge relief.
And when that's the case, you may be ready to date within a week. Josh Klapow, PhD , a clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. You should focus on yourself and your unique situation, first and foremost. But there are other s to look out for that may mean you're ready, especially if you really want to be emotionally prepared for your next relationship. Here, 13 experts weigh in on the s you're ready to date again after a breakup.
There's no specific timeline when it comes to grieving a breakup, moving on, and starting to date again, so feel free to take "however long you need to work through the anger or sadness," Janet Zinn, LCSW , a New York City—based couples therapist, tells Bustle. Take a month, take six months, take a year — whatever feels right. And make it more about focusing yourself and what you've learned from the breakup, than about counting the days. Once you've figured out a lesson or two — what you want in your next relationship, what you don't, etc. You won't be able to bring your best self to a new relationship if you're still focused on the past, so wait until it feels like you can actually be a good partner before getting back out there, Rosalind Sedacca , a certified relationship coach, tells Bustle.
And on forgiving your partner for the disappointment and hurt related to your relationship. Your future relationships will be so much better if you let go of old pain, resentments, doubts, and anger, Sedacca says, or at the very least start the process of doing so. Meeting with a therapist can help you assess all these areas, so you can give to a new relationship the same type of energy you hope to get back. We're often told that being single is "bad," and being in a relationship is "good. Try giving yourself a chance to breathe, first.
Give yourself time to process the breakup and to create a life that feels whole. Hang out with friends, take classes, pick up hobbies, and then see about adding a partner, as a sort of bonus. Tammer Malaty, MS, LPC , a d professional counselor, echoes the sentiment that there isn't a definitive amount of time to wait before you start dating again. You can, however, take it as a good if you've begun to feel better about yourself as a person — especially if the breakup left you with a few insecurities.
My advice is to work on those insecurities while single because they are likely to pop up in your next relationship. Being aware of those insecurities can help a person cope with them when they arise. This might mean having long talks with friends, or even going to therapy.
It's common to miss an ex after a breakup. But if you'd happily get back together with them tomorrow — even if you know that wouldn't be a good idea, Bennett says — don't try to date anyone else just yet. Give yourself time to officially move past this stage, which you'll know has happened when you're able to think about the relationship in a nostalgic way, instead of soul-crushingly sad way. In a similar vein, if you can think about the future without feeling like a giant piece of you will be missing, that's a great !
The future will no longer seem like a blurry mess, where you struggle to accept things will be different. Instead, Lissy says you'll be able to think things like, "We're broken up, and that's OK. Many times, people are ready to start seriously dating anywhere from six months to a year after a major breakup, but it still largely depends on the length of time they spent in the relationship, Alexis Nicole White , an author and relationship expert, tells Bustle.
That's why, if you still aren't sure where you fall on this spectrum, and are looking for a little outside guidance, you may want to do some quick math. In other words, you need solo time to be ready for the next. While this math isn't based in any actual data, Klapow says, it's a great way to check in with yourself as you go about the process of moving on. If you were together for five years, for example, give yourself 15 months to focus on yourself, then take the time to reassess. At that point, you may realize you're ready to date.
You'll want to ignore the voice, however, if it's stemming from loneliness, or the notion that you're "running out of time" to find a partner. If you were to start dating again under these circumstances, Cole says, you may start to get to know someone and then back away as old fears begin popping back up, which is a you aren't ready. It doesn't matter why your relationship ended, or whose fault it was.
All that matters is that you take the time to think about any bad habits you brought to the table, so you can work on them before dating someone new. Once you've taken adequate time to heal and work all that stuff out, feel free to give it a spin. Experts agree there is no one way to know how long you may need to wait after a breakup. How over them are you, really? If you're not over them — not even half way over them — do not date. It's all about fairness, and if you're still hung up in the past, there's nothing fair about that.
It's not fair to you, and it's certainly not fair to your potential partners. It's amazing how long you can hold onto the idea of getting back together or thinking the breakup was a fluke. So if you're still staring at your phone waiting for your ex to call, turn your attention to some of the aforementioned recovery skills, like going to therapy and focusing on yourself.
If you've truly accepted it's over, though, go ahead and date. It means you're fine with the idea of never hearing from your ex again, because you know it's time to start over fresh and continue on with your life. If you want to experiment with casual dating after a breakup , or are craving a quick hookup, go for it. But if you're still hurting, try to wait until those initial pangs of separation lessen, or else you might end up doing more harm than good. If you go on a date and can't even hear what the other person is saying because you're too busy mentally comparing them to your ex , and it feels like they aren't measuring up, please delete your dating app and wait a bit longer.
Because if you can't, it means you're still too hung up on the past to appreciate the present. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of when to date again after a breakup , hopefully these tips will help guide you towards figuring it out. Don't be afraid to take time to yourself, and wait until you know what it is you truly want. Jonathan Bennett , relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating. Josh Klapow, PhD , clinical psychologist.
Rosalind Sedacca , certified relationship coach. Alexis Nicole White , author and relationship expert. Nikki Martinez , psychologist and author of The Reality of Relationships. Kali Rogers , certified life coach. April Masini , relationship expert and author. Anita Chlipala , relationship coach and therapist. This article was originally published on Aug. Updated: July 10, Originally Published: Aug.
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9 Tips For Dating Again After A Bad Breakup, According To Experts